Last week, Proskauer’s Chicago office, in partnership with HSBC Bank (HSBC), hosted a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) clinic to assist 12 pro bono clients with preparing their DACA renewal applications.
The DACA program provides eligible, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before the age of 16 with a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation, along with work authorization and the ability to apply for a social security number. While the United States government is not currently accepting DACA applications from new enrollees, individuals who are currently on deferred action status can re-apply to maintain their status.
The clinic was organized by the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), which is a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization that seeks to protect human rights and provide access to justice for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The clinic began with representatives of NIJC providing a one hour training on the DACA program, including an overview of the eligibility requirements and the renewal application process. The Proskauer attorney team then worked jointly with in-house counsel from HSBC to interview and assist clients with preparing their DACA renewal forms.
The clients, who shared stories about their fearful journeys to the United States as young children and their significant concern about whether they would be allowed to remain in the country they have known as home for most of their life, were very appreciative for the pro bono counsel they received. They also told us about their impressive accomplishments in the United States, including pursuing college degrees in nursing, sociology and accounting, training at Chicago’s famed Second City comedy club, and working to support their family members.
Proskauer looks forward to partnering with HSBC and other clients in the future to deliver similar pro bono clinics, as well as continuing its relationship with the NIJC.