Kara Alba

  • Hosted by East Bay Community Law Center
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Berkeley , California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Consumer Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Kara ensured a more secure financial future for low-income immigrants by: (1) fighting targeted scams and predatory business practices through direct consumer legal services and community education; (2) deterring future wrongdoing through policy advocacy and affirmative litigation; and (3) piloting a replicable model for consumer protection legal services focused on the needs of low-income immigrants.

Low-income immigrants face significant challenges navigating the marketplace. Language, cultural, and literacy barriers, low education levels, low-wage earnings opportunities, restricted access to conventional forms of credit,  misinformation around consumer rights and remedies, discrimination, and/or a lack of legal status can make low-income immigrants particularly vulnerable to predatory business practices and targeted consumer scams. Absent legal advocacy, the consequences of falling prey to consumer fraud and abuse can be devastating for low-income immigrant families: they risk losing their life savings, housing, falling deeper into debt, and/or, in the case of immigration fraud, triggering deportation proceedings.

Fellowship Highlights

During the Fellowship, the Immigrant Consumer Justice Project has:

  • Provided brief legal services/ limited representation to over 300 low-income immigrant consumers, and provided full representation to 17
  • Provided advice, referrals, and/or financial education materials to an additional 600
  • Collaborated with numerous federal administrative agencies, such as the CFPB, the FTC, and the Department of Education, and local agencies to gain relief for individual immigrant victims of fraud and create policies to prevent predatory practices
  • In partnership with Centro Legal de la Raza, launched a monthly offsite clinic providing brief services and legal advice on consumer issues in Spanish to immigrant consumers
  • In partnership with the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, launched a monthly offsite clinic providing brief services and legal advice on consumer issues in Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean to immigrant consumers
  • Presented ten Spanish-language consumer education segments in collaboration with Univision 14 to tens of thousands of immigrant viewers across the Bay Area

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Kara continues to fight for the rights of low-income immigrant consumers at the East Bay Community Law Center.

Meet Other Fellows Like Kara

View All

Naomi Young

Naomi Young

Host: Her Justice

Sponsor: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Photo of Eva Sikes

Eva Sikes

Host: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.

Sponsor: Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Xinmia Malave

Host: Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida

Sponsor: Anonymous

Danica Rodarmel

Host: Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area

Sponsor: Fenwick & West LLP