Matthew Chang (2017)
The Student Immigration Relief Clinic
Matthews project, the Student Immigration Relief Clinic, addresses the need for pro-bono legal immigration documentation assistance as well as the shortage of volunteers to provide this service. The Student Immigration Relief Clinic is a student run, free legal clinic to be held regularly throughout the academic year. This clinic is supported by various UC Berkeley student organizations along with a public interest law firm in San Jose, the Asian Law Alliance. The Student Immigration Relief Clinic provides vital legal support for immigration cases focusing on naturalization and DACA. This project serves three purposes: (1) this clinic project addresses the shortage of trained staff for immigration needs, (2) the student volunteers for this clinic are able to help change the lives of low-income undocumented youth, refugees, and green card holders seeking citizenship within the United States, and (3) this is an opportunity for students to gain exposure and hands-on experience in immigration law while networking with public interest attorneys. During the first year of implementation (2016), the Student Immigration Relief Clinic trained over one hundred volunteers and helped over fifty clients complete their legal immigration documentation. During these clinics, clients ranged from participants in the Bracero Program to immigrants escaping genocide. During the 2017-2018 year, the clinic seeks to expand by taking on interns, providing legal services for more clients, and hosting a Know Your Immigration Rights training workshop for UC Berkeley students.
Matthew graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 with a bachelors degree in Political Science. As an undergraduate student, Matthew developed a strong interest in the law while working in the Santa Clara Superior Courts, the ASUC Student Legal Clinic, and at Asian Law Alliance. During his internships, he experienced how the law could help immigrants find and pursue their version of the American Dream, similar to how his immigrant parents found theirs. Aside from the law, Matthew also has a passion for education. He will be teaching a special education classroom at the high school level. In his free time, Matthew enjoys weightlifting, traveling, knitting, and spending time with his family and significant other.