USG hosts immigration resources information session


Courtesy of Richard Reyes

Ayse Kelce, Managing Editor

Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government hosted an immigration resources information session on March 18, featuring speeches and advice from students and immigration attorney Rebecca Sosa.

The session was an introduction to different types of immigration and naturalization processes. However, people who seek detailed immigration advice should seek out specialized help from an attorney, according to Sosa.

Sosa works as an immigration attorney at Sosa Law and she has helped many students with their immigration status through free 30-minute immigration consultations offered by Baruch through a sponsorship between USG, the Graduate Student Assembly and the Office of Student Life.

Sosa explained that receiving immigration advice from people who went through similar routes can do more harm than good because everyone’s case is different.

“That can hurt your case and your family’s case,” she said.

Even people from one’s family can be eligible for different programs or subject to different immigration laws based on the year they were born.

The concept of immigration becomes even more challenging for individuals in the United States, as every administration implements different initiatives and strategies.

“Every day, there’s a new announcement,” Sosa said. “Every day, there’s any law or part of a law that needs to be implemented. It’s really confusing, but that’s okay, because we’re here to help you navigate some of that.”

Sosa identified and explained three ways of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen: family-based immigration, business immigration and humanitarian immigration.

She also mentioned that there are different ways to go about validating status, like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the Special Immigrant Juvenile status. Sosa advised students to get screened based on their own backgrounds and status in order to apply to the program that best suits their conditions and needs.

Students can get screened for different immigration reliefs through the online immigration consultations provided by Baruch.

Students also shared their experiences during the session.

One student in particular mentioned that they were able to apply for the Special Immigrant Juvenile classification with Sosa’s consultation days before he turned 21, which is the age limit for eligibility. SIJ also differs from DACA in a way that people with SIJ status get on track to be
green card holders.

Other students mentioned that they were able to seek financial help to deal with legal fees through the Baruch College Emergency Fund while applying for DACA for the first time or renewing their DACA status.

CUNY also has resources available through CUNY Citizenship Now to help people on their path to U.S. citizenship.

“It is better to speak with an attorney to make sure that if you think you might be qualified, even if the answer is no, at least you know where you stand. And I think that’s kind of also if I could wrap up with that point, even if you don’t think you have any options, there is a benefit in knowing where you stand,” Socca said to students who were unsure if they are eligible for existing immigration programs. “As Biden is proposing all these new laws, hopefully things will change.”

Former USG Vice President of Legislative Affairs Richard Reyes said that he was happy to use USG’s platform to give students more information, giving extra thanks to Erika Cumbe, a USG rep. sen.

“I was excited to contribute in creating this event and we both hope to continue creating meaningful events that are beneficial to the student body,” Reyes said.

Students can book 30-minute free immigration consultations through this website to get personalized immigration advice and assistance from attorneys specializing on immigration issues.