Legal Clinic Increases Hours to Address Student Questions on Immigration and Deportation

The Skyline College Legal Clinic, located in the SparkPoint Center, aspires to meet the unmet demand for access to legal information by our community and to provide a hands-on classroom where students learn to engage, to listen, to help people help themselves, and to self-reflect, analyze, and be aware of their role in addressing inequity.

Since 2014, under the direction of supervising attorney Maria Segarra, the Clinic has served over 100 individuals, about two-thirds of whom have been Skyline College students, faculty, or staff.  Maria and the students who work with her as paralegals-in-training have fielded questions about tenant’s rights, immigration, and family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and domestic violence.

The legal clinic was “amazing,” said Tatiana Canas, a Skyline College student. “It gave me the opportunity to help real people with real life situations with the help of my classmates and my professor.”  Roy Miles, 2015 graduate agrees: “The experience has not only been beneficial to me in helping me learn about the law, but I have seen how many people have gotten the information they needed to begin resolving their legal matter.”

Since late in Fall 2016, the clinic has seen a noticeable increase in the number of students who come to the Clinic to ask questions about their immigration status and to voice fears of deportation.  In response, Skyline College directed the resources needed to increase Clinic hours by up to 200%.  This investment in our community allows the Clinic to increase its capacity to serve right now: our focus is on helping students stay safe and on track to meet their educational goals.

As clinic supervisor Maria Segarra stated, “As an immigrant, I know what it feels like to be afraid, to be uncertain, and to worry about what the future holds.  I hope that together with the Dream Center, Sparkpoint, and Skyline College, we can provide a safe and caring place for undocumented students, families, and community members. We are here to serve.”

The clinic is open to students, staff, and the public. For appointments, go to www.tinyurl.com/skylegalclinic.  All consultations are free and confidential.  For questions or information, please contact SparkPoint at 650.738.7035.

For more information on the clinic and the many invaluable people who made this work possible, please see this article.

Article by Jesse W. Raskin