Weber State Community Education Center Offers Free Legal Immigration Services

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University’s Community Education Center (CEC) and nonprofit No More A Stranger (NOMAS) are providing the Ogden Community with free legal immigration services the first Saturday morning of each month until the end of 2022. 

“The CEC works closely with the immigrant community,”' said Luis Lopez, Community Education and Outreach executive director. “We provide educational services for them, and immigration support is fundamental to their wellbeing. The partnership with NOMAS allows the CEC to help further the basic needs of the immigrant community so they can pursue educational programs and other career advancement opportunities.”

When individuals visit the clinic, they meet with a volunteer legal representative who discusses their case with a local lawyer. Services provided include intake consultations, full-scale representation for green cards, humanitarian protections and citizenship, and referrals to lawyers for complex cases. NOMAS also provides a Fundamentals of Immigration Law course, which teaches volunteers about the law and gives them opportunities to build professional experience. Appointments for the clinic can be made online but walk-ins are also accepted. 

Katie Rane, NOMAS executive director, says there are many benefits to legal immigration status, such as economic and personal stability.

“People get free legal representation on immigration cases from start to finish,” said Rane. “They get legal immigration status that allows them to fully participate in society. With legal immigration status, they get better employment. They get scholarships. They get education. They get the security and peace that comes from living without fear. They get stable relationships and successful families.”

To become a NOMAS volunteer, participants are trained in an eight-week course through a partnership with Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. After the six months of volunteer work ends, volunteers can apply with the U.S. Department of Justice for certification and to practice immigration law while volunteering with NOMAS. 

Silvana Pardo, an immigrant from Chile and paralegal with NOMAS, first participated in the CEC’s English classes before fostering the partnership between NOMAS and Weber State.  

“When I realized that NOMAS was helping many people in different cities, I remembered the Ogden CEC, where NOMAS also had a virtual clinic, and I was the clinic coordinator at the time,” Pardo said. “That is how I contacted Luis Lopez, whom I met when I finished my English course. He kindly hosted me and the executive director of NOMAS in a meeting where we presented the proposal that was finally accepted.”

Since its beginning, the collaboration between the CEC and NOMAS has impacted the Ogden community, Rane said. People receive free legal representation and lawyers have the ability to use their specialized skills to give back to the community. Other volunteers have the opportunity to learn about immigration law and connect with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds. 

“For our community to thrive, each person who lives in our community should have the chance to thrive,” Rane said. “Knowledge allows people to thrive. Having a secure legal immigration status allows people to thrive. By providing services to those who simply cannot afford to attend law school or to pay for a lawyer, the clinic helps individual people and the community at large to thrive.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment visit nomaslegal.org.

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.

Contact:

Community Education Center
801-626-7911 • cec@weber.edu

Author:

Jordan Wise, Marketing & Communications
801-626-7948 • jordanwise@weber.edu