CPIL hosts second public interest legal skills series on U-Visas

The Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) held the first session of the five-part immigration skills series on Jan. 27. The series is taught by Olivia Villegas (JD '10), immigration attorney at Life Span’s Center for Legal Services. Villegas provides civil legal services to victims of domestic violence who do not have legal status in the United States. The series is designed to give students an overview of the U-Visa process and to learn from Villegas’ expertise in assisting immigrant women who have been victims of abuse or crimes in obtaining orders of protection and in self-petitioning to remain in the United States.

Villegas’ first session focused on an overview of the legal framework and the process of obtaining a U-Visa, including the legal basis for U-Visas, along with the evidentiary standard and the burden of proof. Later sessions will build on this knowledge to give students skills in: obtaining the U-Visa certification from the appropriate law enforcement agency; gathering the documents necessary to prove each of the requirements; drafting a sufficiently detailed but succinct statement from the applicant; identifying inadmissibility issues and properly preparing a waiver; and drafting a cover letter and responding to potential Requests for Evidence.

The skills series takes place on five consecutive Mondays (through February 24). Students who attend all sessions receive a certificate of completion. The Center for Public Interest Law offers three public interest legal skills series during the academic year.