California State University announced Aug. 28 a plan to provide free immigration legal services to students and employees. As part of this plan, attorneys, paralegals and accredited representatives will visit campuses on a regular basis and provide direct legal counsel. CSU allocated $7 million in this year’s budget to fund the services. The office of the chancellor has been working with the California Department of Social Services to implement the plan for legal services since 2018. 

“I am delighted that we will be able to increase the availability of immigration legal services to the California State University community,” CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said in an Aug. 28 press release. “We remain committed to ensuring that all CSU students have the opportunity to pursue their higher education goals regardless of their country of origin. This inclusive foundation extends to our employees, who demonstrate their dedication to student achievement and success on a daily basis.”

Four providers will service CSU campuses throughout the state. Immigrant Legal Defense, a nonprofit based in the Bay Area, will provide direct legal services to eight campuses in Northern California and the Central Valley including SF State. Immigrant Legal Defense will gradually roll out its services based on the needs of students on campus, according to managing attorney Barbara Pinto.

“Having an attorney can really make a difference and have a positive impact on somebody’s case,” Pinto said. “Immigration law is very complex and unfortunately we’ve seen too many instances where somebody gets the wrong help, then it’s harder to do damage control.”

The Dream Resource Center (DRC), which provides resources to undocumented students and staff on campus for academic growth and personal success, will partner with Immigrant Legal Defense to coordinate the legal services.

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