Salesforce Legal Helps Youth Find the American Dream through Pro Bono Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Clinic
By: Megan McCollum and Shreya Vora
“You are the size of your dreams,” said a panelist to a group of 13 clients and their families who were visiting Salesforce’s Rincon Center campus to participate in a half-day DACA legal clinic on March 13. Approximately twenty members of the legal departments of Salesforce and Salesforce.org, four members of Latinoforce, an internal Salesforce affinity group, and members of Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) helped 13 clients complete both initial and renewal DACA applications. Each of the clients left our clinic with an application prepared for submission. CLSEPA trained the volunteers prior to the clinic and CLSEPA lawyers as well as an attorney from Legal Services for Children (LSC) were on hand to help out during the clinic.
DACA, a benefit created by a 2012 presidential executive order, allows undocumented immigrant youth to legally stay and work in the United States. The volunteers provided free advice in filling out the DACA paperwork, with the hopes that the clients who were helped could soon apply for a state ID card and driver’s licenses, something otherwise out of reach for these clients. David Simon (SVP, Intellectual Property), who poured through extensive records to help complete an initial DACA application, commented that “you have to work with the client to recall specific events in her life such as visits to hospitals or the birth of children to piece together all of the documentary evidence that is required.”
Clients and their families enjoyed a lunch provided by Latinoforce while listening (in English with simultaneous translation to Spanish) to a panel skillfully moderated by Pablo Quintanilla, Senior Manager, Government Affairs. Panelists included Douglas de Figueiredo, a Contracts Negotiator in the legal department, Luis Liang, a Sales Representative, and Shannon Hale, a Senior Product Manager of Applications. Luis Liang had even been a DACA applicant just a few years prior and spoke personally about the challenges he faced prior to getting his paperwork approved. When panelists were asked if they ever felt like giving up, the resounding answer was “Yes, but do not blame yourself for not having resources…it’s okay to ask questions. Never give up.”
Joyce Song, CLSEPA’s Pro Bono Director, had this to say of the Salesforce volunteers after the clinic: “I can’t thank you enough. I think the term ‘corporate social responsibility’ is thrown around a lot but it was clear to me that you really know what it’s all about. We were so impressed and so grateful.”
The Salesforce legal teams are excited to partner with others within Salesforce in these special ways and to see their pro bono efforts making a difference in the communities where we all live and work. Ashley Tobin, Corporate Counsel, said, “The look of gratitude in this father’s eyes when we finally got through the paperwork made me feel that, in a few short hours, I may have truly been able to significantly help someone. This was rewarding for all involved.”
Learn more about pro bono volunteering with Salesforce.org.
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