Egan Law, a Santa Maria firm, recently announced it will open the Family Law and Immigration Clinic to help immigrants.
The clinic will assist community members who may not be able to afford full-service legal assistance, Jude Egan, the clinic’s executive director, said in a statement.
He said the clinic
will offer “full-service legal assistance at a minimum cost without retainer fees … regardless of immigration status.”
According to the 2010 U.S. census, approximately 65% of family law parties in Santa Maria are representing themselves in family court and 62% of households subsist within 125% of the poverty level.
“The need for this center stemmed from the lack of lower-cost legal resources in the areas of family and immigration law,” Dr. Egan said in a statement. “Existing legal aid clinics are often limited by their mandates to only serve people under a certain income threshold or with defined immigration status and are, in any event, limited by available staffing resources.”
The 2010 U.S. census also states 64% of households in Santa Maria speak a language other than English.
According to data from the American Immigration Council, only 37% of immigrants in removal cases had counsel nationwide, with the number far lower for Central American immigrants.
Dr. Egan stated because the clinic “operates on a clinic or doctor’s office model, it is not subject to government limitations on whom it can serve. All are welcome without regard to income or immigration status. An attorney counsels the client, sets forth strategy and advises the client and assigns staff members to draft and submit documents to the courts or the consulate.”