Harvard University Hires Attorney to Deal With Immigration Issues

A plan to rescind protections for nearly a million undocumented immigrants who grew up in the United States has caused confusion and concern on college campuses, including in Massachusetts.

The decision on the Deferred Action by Childhood Arrivals (DACA) came from the Trump administration on Tuesday. By the following morning, immigration attorneys around the Bay State had already received an influx of new clients.

"The workload has been pretty frantic in the last couple of weeks," said Jason Corral of the Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Harvard University.

Corral was hired by Harvard in response to the President's rhetoric on immigration during the campaign. In recent weeks, they have been preparing for Tuesday's announcement, anticipating that several students would be impacted.

"People that are not US citizens are concerned," Corral said, "In addition to this being a slap in the face to DACA students, I think it's symbolic of the tone the administration has taken in general."

As a result of the move, new applications for legal status dated after Tuesday will not be allowed. However, DACA recipients with a permit that expires before March 5, 2018, can apply for a two-year renewal by Oct. 5. Because recipients hold different expiration dates, the program will ultimately run out at different times for everyone. The last permit would expire in 2020.

While the Trump administration has ordered Congress to come up with a new plan, Corral is trying to find other options for residency. That could include anything from an application for asylum to a family petition.

"We are brainstorming creative ideas here at Harvard and within legal services on what we can do with these kids," he explained.

But the hope for many is that a long term solution comes from Washington.

"I really hope people realize how important these people are to theirs communities," Corral said, "And that we get more bipartisan support to come up with a permanent status."

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