FREE Legal Aid

Higher Education Legal Services (HELS) of Jewish Family Services San Diego has partnered with San Diego Miramar College to offer FREE immigration legal consultations.

HELS provides FREE immigration legal services to students, staff, and faculty at San Diego and Imperial Valley Counties community and state colleges. Highly qualified legal practitioners provide culturally competent, trauma-informed, reliable expertise to the campus community. Virtual and in-person appointments are available; however, on-site appointments are only at the following college campuses: CSU San Marcos and San Diego State University, Mira Costa College, Cuyamaca College,  Southwestern College, and San Diego City and Mesa Colleges. For access to HELS staff at Miramar College, navigate to the Dreamers Events page to find upcoming workshops.

Services:

  • Consultations (ask us anything!)
  • DACA applications
  • Citizenship
  • Family-based immigration
  • Know Your Rights
  • Emergency Planning & Safety Preparedness
  • Advance Parole
  • Removal defense (going to court)
  • And more!

Accessing Immigration Legal Services

Legal Aid

Jewish Family Service of San Diego, through their Higher Education Legal Services program (JFS-HELS), and your campus have partnered to provide you *FREE Immigration Legal Services. *USCIS fees not covered. See below for more info.

The Higher Education Legal Services (HELS) initiative is a unique opportunity for current students, staff, and faculty at local colleges to access personalized immigration legal services from immigration attorneys and Department of Justice representatives.

Attorney fees can be expensive, even for only a consultation. Services with the Higher Education Legal Services program are FREE of CHARGE meaning that a client or potential client will NOT have to pay out of pocket to obtain a consultation, legal assessment, or application completion. However, any processing fees required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are the responsibility of the applicant. USCIS fees can vary depending on the type of case. NOTE: The Higher Education Legal Services may be able to assist eligible students cover the costs associated with DACA renewal fees while funds are available. For more information navigate to the Miramar Dreamers DACA Information page. Visit the USCIS website for a complete list of current fees.

Appointments

The Miramar College Dreamers Support Office strongly encourages all undocumented students schedule a consultation with the Higher Education Legal Services. It is a FREE services you are entitled to as a Miramar College Dreamer Student. If you are unsure of whether you should consult with an attorney, you can schedule an appointment with a Miramar Dreamers staff member here first; however, you do not need a formal referral from our office.

If you are ready to schedule an appointment with the Higher Education Legal Services, you can do so by phone at (858) 637-3345, by email using helsimmigration@jfssd.org, or online at www.jfssd.org/HELS.

Higher Education Legal Services

Higher Education Legal Services (HELS) provides FREE immigration legal services to students, staff, and faculty at community and state colleges in San Diego and Imperial Valley Counties.

For more information about the HELS program, call (858) 637-3345 or email helsimmigration@jfssd.org and follow on Instagram @hels_sd.

Schedule an Appointment

 

I'm NOT Jewish - Can I Participate?

Yes; you definitely can! You do not need to be Jewish or affiliated with the Jewish religion or the State of Israel to access services. Jewish Family Service of San Diego was founded in 1918 when it began serving Jewish refugees. As time passed, the list of services expanded and now, at JFS and the Higher Education Legal Services, we offer services to the community in general.

I'm NOT Affiliated with Miramar College - Can I Access the Program?

Possibly; keep reading. The Higher Education Legal Services (HELS) program provides services to eight CA Community Colleges in the San Diego and Imperial Valley region. HELS also provides services to two California State University campuses: San Diego State University and California State University at San Marcos. At the CSU level, HELS is able to provide services to current students, staff, faculty and their immediate relatives such as spouse, parents, children, and siblings.

I'm NOT Affiliated with Any CA College or University - What Services are Available to me?

Anyone not currently affiliated to a CA Community College or California State University campus may receive services with JFS’ General Immigration Services Department. To schedule an appointment, please email immigration@jfssd.org or call (858) 637-3365. If there is no answer, make sure to leave a message with your name, number, and reason for calling as missed calls are not returned.

Stop! If you are not sure if or how you qualify, schedule an appointment with a Miramar Dreamers Support staff member first and we will explain your options.

I'm Concerned About Privacy - Will Miramar College Know What I Talk to HELS About?

No; never! JFS and HELS abide by the HIPAA Act of 1996. Services are confidential from the moment an appointment is scheduled. This means that HELS will not be sharing client/potential client’s information with anyone outside of their office unless written consent has been provided by the client/potential client via our Consent to Release of Information form.

For example, in instances where a student is being referred or assisted by a faculty/staff in scheduling an appointment, HELS cannot confirm or deny to the faculty/staff if the student attended the appointment or not. Also, HELS will not communicate any details of the case to anyone other than the client/potential client and anyone included in the Consent to Release of Information.

Furthermore, in instances where a student is being referred or assisted by a faculty/staff in scheduling an appointment, college employees are bound by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students."

Workshops

JFS-HELS also provides presentations on various immigration topics such as Know Your Rights, Family Preparedness, Naturalization: How to Become a US Citizen, DACA, Immigration 101: Possible Forms of Relief, and Public Charge. The goal is to educate and empower the community to know how to react in case of any encounters with Immigration Authorities, learn how to exercise their rights and stay up to date with the rapid changing immigration policies to avoid fraud.

Higher Education Legal Services workshops for Fall 2022. Subtítulos en español disponibles para cada presentatión. Click, tap, or scan the QR code to navigate to the Higher Education Legal Services website to view upcoming workshops.

Presentations are completely free and open to students, staff, faculty, their immediate families, and the public in general. Registration is required for HELS reporting purposes only. The Personal Identifying Information of the participants is not shared externally.

Miramar Dreamers Support Office educational workshops are also open to anyone regardless of campus affiliation with limited exceptions. For more information on upcoming events, navigate to the Dreamers Events page.

Other Resources

San Diego Miramar College does NOT have formal partnerships with the following organizations; however, many of the these institutions, non-profits, and companies do offer immigration-related services and other resources for free or reduced cost. We encourage you to explore all options available to you as every person's situation is different. NOTE: Always ask whether services are free or require payment before speaking with an immigration attorney. If you are ever asked to pay for services, be sure you are provided with a written document of services provided.

We strongly encourage you to speak with our legal aid partners at the Higher Education Legal Services before contacting these other organizations.

  • Alliance for African Assistance - Provides low-cost immigration and naturalization services including adjustment of status, application for naturalization, asylum and refugees, consular processing, relative petitions, and replacement of lost/damages USCIS documents.
  • Alliance San Diego - Non-profit providing one-on-one consultations and application assistance for citizenship, Green Card renewals, DACA, TPS, work authorization renewals, and FOIA requests.
  • Casa Cornelia - Provides free (known as pro-bono) counsel and representation to eligible unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, and immigrant victims of crimes such as domestic violence, forced employment, and/or forced or coerced sex work.
  • Catholic Charities - Provides low-cost immigration services to eligible persons with an emphasis on family reunification, empowerment, and social integration.
  • Consulado General de México en San Diego (Mexican Consulate, San Diego) - Government website.
  • Legal Aid Society of San Diego - Naturalization & citizenship, removal defense, VAWA, U-Visa, T-Visa, Green Card renewal, waivers
  • Immi - Online resource screening tool for legal information and referrals to nonprofit legal services organizations.
  • Immigrants Rising - Immigration Legal Intake Service: an online survey to help undocumented young people learn about possible immigration options.
  • International Rescue Committee - Opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants including resettlement, employment development, citizenship services, and more.
  • Public Law Center - Assistance for low-income immigrants in filing for various forms of immigration relief with a focus on victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, victims of serious crimes, unaccompanied minors, and immigrants who wish to apply for citizenship.
  • The State Bar 🚨Caution🚨 You may be asked to pay expensive legal fees if you contact independent legal counsel for a consultation or services. Always ask whether services are free or require payment before speaking with an immigration attorney. Legal Services Resources for Immigrants: San Diego County.
  • Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education (UURISE) - Provides low-cost and no-cost immigration legal services to help clients access the protections and benefits available under current immigration laws.

San Diego Miramar College does not endorse the views or beliefs held by any outside organization, including those views and beliefs held by individuals who work for such organizations, either religious or secular in nature.