The Paralegal Program is involved with an initiative based on a collaboration with the Pima Paralegal Club and The Immigrant and Refugee Student Resource Center (IRSRC) in partnership with the Pima ColLEGAL Program. The initiative helps DACA students with legal issues through a referral program with volunteer attorneys. The Referral Program is an opportunity for paralegal students to participate in a service-learning program in collaboration with external participating attorneys.
The founder of the Pima ColLegal Program is a recent paralegal student graduate, Shenice Mitchell, along with Yolanda Gonzales, who is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program Coordinator for the IRSRC Department. Professor Lynnae Thandiwe created an open resource access to justice assignment in her Legal Writing Course, designed to bring awareness to the refugee crisis. The assignment was funded from an United Nations grant to help reduce inequities. The initiative outcomes, beside providing specific assistance to DACA students, are to provide the paralegal interns with the following skills:
The ability to perform intakes and to understand the operations of the Immigrant and Refugee Student Resource Center and the Pima ColLEGAL;
The ability to organize and manage an immigration case files;
The ability to distinguish the different support systems available to undocumented and refugee students;
The ability to demonstrate an understanding of the social justice and equity issues undocumented and refugee students face;
The opportunity to develop cultural knowledge of others through cultural humility and empathy;
The ability to identify best practices needed to support the undocumented student experience;
The ability to identify university policies and procedures that directly relate to student safety, privacy, and confidentiality;
The ability to recognize critical facilitation skills for a variety of settings and audiences; and the ability to work under the direction and supervision of an attorney; and the opportunity to gain paralegal experience.