With numbers exceeding 2.5 million, California is home to the largest population of undocumented immigrants in the nation. Many of these residents arrived as children, became dreamers and many are now working toward a higher education.
In today’s environment of unstable and erratic immigration policies, UCR recognizes the multifarious challenges faced by these young people. In response, the university has hired its first ever, full-time immigration attorney, Karina Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is not only recognized as a champion for human rights in the face of exploitation but also for her focus in human trafficking and other social issues. Before serving at UCR, Gutierrez was the interim lead attorney for the Public Law Center’s Immigration unit, a nonprofit providing free legal services to low-income residents and other nonprofits in Orange County.
California established its UC Immigrant Legal Services Center (UCILS) in 2014, in response to the increased number of immigrant students in the country. UCILS operates out of the UC Davis School of Law. The center provides free, high-quality legal assistance to undocumented students and their immediate family members across the system at all UC campuses without law schools, rather than on a single campus.
Due to increased demand, UCR asked the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center for more assistance, in response, Gutierrez arrived and began providing leading services to immigrant UCR students and their families since February. To help immigrant students around achieve their academic goals and full potential, UCILS is seeking to employ a full-time attorney at each of its campuses.
“I am so thrilled and blessed to be in a position to offer quality services to students without them having to worry about the accuracy of the information they receive, nor the cost involved for the services we provide,” Gutierrez told UCRToday, “The UC Immigrant Legal Services Center cares about quality service. That’s why I wanted to be part of this team.”
Gutierrez can be on campus at 3148 Hinderaker Hall, by phone at (530) 574-9134 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header photo: UCR’s first-ever, full-time immigration attorney, Karina Gutierrez.