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Free Legal Services for Students

April 27, 2018

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) services over 26,000 enrolled students per year. The largest segment of this population identifies as Latinx/o/a, at 39.9 percent. Since a large percentage of BMCC students also has limited financial means, the need for pro-bono or low-cost services continues to be urgent. Legal services in particular, are quite costly and out of reach for the majority of the student body. Among the initiatives which BMCC has undertaken to assist its students, free legal services, with a focus on immigration, were found to be a high priority. 

BMCC continually strives to meet the needs of its students. As such, the college has developed strategic partnerships with external organizations to enhance the services provided to the Latinx/o/a student population. One such partnership is with the City Bar Justice Center/Fragomen Worldwide. 

Throughout the month of February 2018, BMCC’s Single Stop Office offered free immigration services to Latinx/o/a students seeking a pathway to U.S. citizenship. An immigration attorney from the City Bar Justice Center/Fragomen Worldwide donated a half-day per week to do individual legal consultations with students. Forty students took advantage of these services to consult with this immigration professional. These initial consultations in February were followed by individual appointments with 20 immigration attorneys at a legal clinic, where students received help in completing their applications.

The enthusiastic reception for this service resulted in student requests for further opportunities to receive individual consultations on immigration issues. BMCC has therefore planned a once-per- semester offering of immigration clinic services for its students.