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The purpose of the Community College Immigration Legal Services program is to provide free immigration legal services, including education and outreach services, to students, staff, and faculty on California community college campuses statewide. The State of California’s 2018-19 Budget provided an initial $10 million investment for the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to administer and implement immigration legal services at California community colleges. The initial investment allowed CDSS to fund nine legal service providers to serve 65 colleges. The 2020-21 provided $10 million to expand the program over the next year. CDSS is partnering with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges to ensure students, staff, and faculty at these colleges are able to access free immigration legal services.

  • ILRC Know Your Rights/ Red Cards – All people in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have certain rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution. The ILRC’s Red Cards help people assert their rights and defend themselves in many situations, such as when ICE agents go to a home.

Being a student can be stressful at times and there are programs and resources to support all students regardless of immigration status. In collaboration with the Latinx Immigrant Health Alliance (LIHA), United We Dream launched a new mental health report surveying over 600 undocumented youth and adults over the span of 10 months to best understand how our community’s health and wellbeing were impacted during COVID-19, in addition to the continued attacks from the Trump administration, the constant threat of detention and deportation, and a lack of action by the Biden administration. It was reported that over 52 percent of respondents were in the clinical range for depression. Roughly 50 percent were in the clinical range anxiety. Undocumented people, including those with DACA, reported significantly higher distress related to immigration status than those with permanent residency or U.S citizenship. Nearly 30% of respondents reported that a loved one has been deported or is currently facing deportation proceedings and over 62 percent of respondents reported that their emotional health and wellbeing had been personally affected by COVID. This is why mental health resources are essential for undocumented comunities. Please refer your students to the resources available to them. In this section we are highlighting some general resources and some specific to undocumented students. 

Counselors and Undocu Liaisons: Please know it is okay to refer undocumented students to mental health professionals. Most counselors at CCC graduated with career counseling degrees and are not licensed professional counselors that can assess and diagnose mental health conditions. Create a referral list for your students to a professional mental health therapist in your college or region. Please, be aware that not all mental health professionals are familiar with and able to adequately address the needs of undocumented students so it might be helpful for you to do some prescreening before referring students. 

A Mental Health chapter around undocumented students will be published in the upcoming months as part of this E-Handbook.

Basic Needs (General, Food, Health): A recent study found, two-thirds of community colleges experienced food insecurity, one-half experienced housing insecurity, and one in seven experienced homelessness (Wisconsin HOPE Lab). More and more colleges are recognizing the impact of unmet basic needs on student wellness and success. As practitioners we have an opportunity to connect students with important resources and support that could meet their every day need, so the student could truly focus on learning. 

General Assistance Resources:

  • Call 2-1-1, a social services hotline for information about finding food, housing, mental health resources, healthcare, or help paying bills. 
  • www.FindHelp.org is a free search tool to connect people to the local resources and programs. 
  • Food Resources Find a local food bank in your area. 

Would my immigration status affect my CalFresh eligibility? 

Some noncitizens may be eligible for CalFresh. Even if you are not eligible for CalFresh, other members of your family may be eligible. Getting CalFresh won’t count as a public charge if you are working toward citizenship. Please consult with a trusted legal service provider about starting or discontinuing services. 

If you have further questions about basic needs for undocumented students in our system, please email Sally Fifield at sfifield@foundationccc.org.