Daynard Community Lecture
Immigrants Making America Great Again: Lessons from an Undocumented Immigrant Turned Lawyer
Fall 2018 Daynard Visiting Fellow: Prerna Lal, Staff Attorney/Clinical Supervisor, Immigration Practice, East Bay Community Law Center
Prerna Lal was born in the Fiji Islands, came to the United States with their parents when they were 14, and then lived in the San Francisco East Bay area.
Formerly an undocumented immigrant, Lal was integral to establishing United We DREAM and the DreamActivist network, both led by undocumented youth. The organizations mobilized thousands of undocumented immigrants to push for the federal DREAM Act in 2010, ending the deportations of undocumented youth, and securing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program under the Obama Administration. A mobilizer and social media strategist, Lal has also helped with the creation of many local immigrant youth groups, providing direct support, mentorship and advocacy to individuals caught up in the immigration dragnet.
As an undocumented law school graduate, Lal was among the first in the country to obtain a license to practice law. As a result of Lal’s high-spirited activism, the US government sought to deport them. Law won lawful permanent residency after a long court battle, and in April 2018, Lal became a United States citizen.
As a nonprofit policy attorney in Washington, DC, Lal worked at Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), spearheading initiatives related to extending DACA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepal and parole-in-place for family members of Filipino war veterans. Through a partnership between the East Bay Community Law Center and UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program, Lal provided immigration legal services for more than 500 students and their family members. As an immigration attorney, clinical supervisor and lecturer at a clinic of UC Berkeley School of Law, Lal mentored a new generation of public interest law students.
Monday, September 24 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm
240 Dockser Hall