San Diego County CA— Continuing a 101-year tradition of supporting immigrants of all ages, faiths and backgrounds, Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) will provide free immigration-related legal support for students, faculty and staff at eight community colleges in the San Diego region. The services will be provided through a statewide pilot program involving the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the California Department of Social Services.
Known as “Higher Education Legal Services,” the program will support San Diego and Imperial County community colleges, including Cuyamaca College, Grossmont College, Imperial Valley College, MiraCosta College, Palomar College, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College and Southwestern College.
“We applaud the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the California Department of Social Services for creating this important and forward-thinking pilot program,” said Jairo Castañeda, JFS’s lead attorney with the Higher Education Legal Services program. “JFS is proud to be a partner in this vital effort – everyone on each campus should know they have this immigration support, whenever they may need it.”
The program, which is being rolled out in 2020, will include confidential consultations, help applying for various benefits, and workshops and outreach events covering immigration-related topics. The initiative is aimed at addressing a critical need identified through a recent California Community Colleges Dreamers Project Report that found one of the top three pressing concerns for undocumented students was the need for free or low-cost legal services.
“The immigration legal resources JFS will provide to students, faculty and staff includes initial consultations, DACA renewals, green card renewals, naturalization, ‘Know Your Rights’ sessions and more,” said Veronica Ayesta, JFS’s immigration specialist. “This partnership continues JFS’s over 100-year-old tradition of ‘welcoming the stranger’ and supporting immigrants in our region.”
Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo, who also serves as president of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association, said, “Because of Jewish Family Service’s partnership, we are able to offer critical services that help protect immigrants, documented and undocumented, by providing them with much-needed legal representation and outreach services.”
The Community College Immigration Legal Services Project is funded through Assembly Bill 1809, which provided $10 million in the 2018-19 budget for the California Department of Social Services contract with nonprofits to provide immigration legal services to community colleges across the state.
Additional campuses in JFS’s Higher Education Legal Services program include San Diego State University and CSU San Marcos. To learn more or get help, visit www.jfssd.org/hels.
About Jewish Family Service of San Diego – Moving Forward Together
Founded in 1918, Jewish Family Service (JFS) is one of San Diego’s most impactful nonprofit agencies – providing resources and support to more than 39,500 San Diegans every year. Through integrated services, the organization empowers people of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to overcome challenges, set goals, and build more stable, secure, and connected lives. JFS is committed to helping individuals and families in crisis move forward, while developing innovative strategies to break cycles of poverty and strengthen our San Diego community. To get help, volunteer, or learn how you can join us in Moving Forward Together, visit www.jfssd.org or call 858-637-3000.