Fran Muse, one of SLS’s attorneys, said because SLS has no immigration attorneys, they do not help undocumented students with immigration-related concerns.
“If they are full-time students at UNC paying student fees, they are absolutely able to come to our office about other matters — traffic tickets, landlords, any other legal matter,” Muse said. “We would not give them advice on their legal status in this country or advise them on any kind of immigration issue. We would refer them to an immigration attorney.”
Muse said Carolina Student Legal Services will be hosting an informational event on immigration laws for undocumented students sometime in the near future due to students’ concerns about what President-elect Donald Trump might do in office.
Ricardo Velásquez, an immigration attorney with offices in Durham and Raleigh, said Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protects, among other groups, undocumented people who arrived in the U.S. before turning 16.
“Most of the people that are going to be at UNC are well-educated young folks that try to do all the right things and follow laws. I feel like they would probably be low priorities for immigration enforcement,” Velásquez said.
“However, most of the people that get caught up in being deported are deported for very minor things like driving without a license, or not going to a court date for a speeding ticket, or maybe drunk driving.”
Professors at UNC, such as Spanish professor Julia Mack, have been vocal about their support for undocumented students’ rights.