Free immigration reform clinics set up in Madison

Free immigration reform clinics set up in MadisonA number of non-profit organizations in Madison have joined together to create free legal clinics aimed at undocumented immigrants who are eligible for the new programs announced back in November by President Obama as part of his executive action on immigration reform.

Temporary legal residence is to be granted to around four million undocumented immigrants across the United States under the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Madison organizations such as Centro Hispano, RISE Law Center, Jewish Social Services and the Catholic Multicultural Center have joined together to develop free legal clinics to help undocumented immigrants with the application process.

$30,000 has been made available to the effort by Madison City Council, with the funding allocated to hiring a half-time Centro Hispano staff member to coordinate information about volunteer training, the opening hours of the clinic, and getting responses from interested potential clients. “We do a lot of initiatives in support of immigration reform, but this is actually applying our money behind our many resolutions,” says alder Shiva Bidar-Sielaff.

Applications for DAPA will be accepted by US Citizenship and Immigration Services from sometime in mid- to late-May, with the expanded DACA program accepting applications from February 18th. The clinics will offer simple advice for those with straightforward applications and more intensive one-on-one services for clients with more complicated cases.