Alternative Break Projects - March 2011
UCI Law students were involved in the following during Spring Break 2011:
- Justice Bus to Coachella and Calexico: Students were trained at the California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) office in Coachella, in the Inland Empire, on legal issues involving migrant farm workers near the U.S.-Mexico border. Students toured the local community, including a visit to two trailer parks that are the subject of CRLA litigation due to habitability issues, and later visited with a federal magistrate judge in El Centro.
At 2 a.m., students traveled to Calexico, near the international border, for "dawn patrol." Students provided legal outreach to migrant farm workers crossing the border to work in the nearby fields. Following the work in Calexico, students visited a lettuce field to have a better understanding of worker conditions. In addition to dawn patrol, students received short-term research assignments that were completed during the week.
- Permanency Applications for Victims of Crime: Students and librarians assisted crime victims who are clients of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), requesting legal permanency. These clients were previously granted legal status in the United States through VAWA or U-Visas, due to their victimization through domestic violence or child abuse, and were now eligible for permanent legal residency.
- Environmental Research:
- Coastkeeper of Orange County: Coastkeeper is a local organization dedicated to the protection of Orange Counties water bodies. Students are needed to provide legal research in areas of environmental permitting, and possibly drafting comment letters in response to permitting requests or local, environmental regulations.
- Surfrider: Surfrider is a national organization, based in Orange County, dedicated to the protection of the oceans and beaches. A student volunteer was needed to conduct legal research on sea wall permitting and/or environmental regulations, working at the Surfrider headquarters in San Clemente as well as research out in the field.
- Declarations for Domestic Violence Victims: Students prepared declarations for victims of domestic violence, working at the DV clinic at the Lamoreaux Justice Center in the City of Orange.
- General Relief Assistance Project (GRAP): The project, run by Public Counsel in Los Angeles, works at the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) offices in Los Angeles County. Students assist clients with emergency benefits advocacy, particularly relating to shelter, food, health, transportation, and other social service needs. GRAP advocates routinely arrange for homeless individuals to receive shelter they would not otherwise have received, and assist indigent individuals in obtaining food and nutrition. Students must view a 2.5-hour training video, and then go to DPSS offices in Los Angeles County in groups of 4-10 for supervised advocacy from 1:45 p.m. until the last client is served, usually no later than 6:30 p.m.
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Spring Break 2011 in Coachella: UCI Law students toured two trailer parks where migrant farm workers live in conditions that are the subject of litigation by California Rural Legal Assistance.
Students went out to the lettuce fields to get a better understanding of farm workers' conditions.
UCI Law 1L Richard Nguyen (at left) and Pre-Law student Blanca Anselmo (center) inform farm workers in Calexico of their rights.
UCI Law student Suzanne Lawson (at right) and an attorney supervisor (center) talk with farm workers in Calexico to inform them of their rights.