On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain undocumented young people who were brought to the U.S. through no fault of their own may qualify for deportation relief. Baylor established a Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Immigration Clinic to assist qualified individuals with the application process. This effort began on August 29, 2012, by hosting Catholic Charities as it provided information about the DACA application process and performed free screenings for potential applicants.
Over 150 members of the Central Texas community were counseled by lawyers and/or BIA certified advisors on the DACA application process. Those who met the initial screening requirements for the DACA application process were scheduled for further assistance at the clinic in September and October. Approximately 120 applications were completed with the assistance of thirty-five law students and twenty-two undergraduate students who volunteered their time for the clinic.
Due to the resounding success of the August 2012 clinic, Baylor Law School held additional DACA Immigration Clinics in March and April 2013. Approximately 40 applications were completed with the assistance of twenty-eight law students and seventeen undergraduate students.
In the Fall of 2014, the Immigration Clinic helped with 11 initial applications and 35 renewals with the assistance of 24 law students, 5 graduate students, and 7 undergraduate students who volunteered to help with this clinic. To date, the Baylor Law School DACA Immigration Clinic has served over 190 low-income Waco-area residents with their immigration needs.
These clinics serves as the foundation of an ongoing immigration clinic that will assist local members of the central Texas community with other immigration-related matters. Further, the clinic will also expand its activities to include any new programs that are created by current immigration reform efforts.