30 Mar 2021
On Saturday, March 27, 2021, students in the Immigration Clinic organized and ran the College of Law’s second annual naturalization clinic, through which community members were assisted in completing their applications to become U.S. citizens. Applicants were assisted primarily through remote means (Zoom), although some individuals chose to come in person.
Immigration Clinic students began community outreach this spring to publicize the clinic, including developing a flyer that was sent to Nebraska-based non-profit organizations who work with immigrants and sending flyers to local businesses that cater heavily to an immigrant clientele. As a result of these efforts, a total of 29 community members expressed interest in the services offered through the clinic.
Immigration Clinic students pre-screened all applicants to determine if there were any issues that might cause problems with their naturalization applications; 14 were determined to be good candidates for the clinic. An invitation was sent to the first 10 who applied; the remaining four people were put on a waiting list.
Immigration Clinic students Carly Burkhardt, '21, and Nick Grandgenett, '21, organized the clinic. In preparation, they recruited law students to participate, developed two different training sessions for the volunteers, conducted the trainings, and put in place the technology that allowed volunteers and applicants to complete applications remotely via Zoom. Law student volunteers and Immigration Clinic students made it possible to have interpreters on site in the following languages: Spanish, French, and Urdu.
The day of the clinic, the Hamann Auditorium at the Law College was “command central” for the operations, since it allowed all volunteers to be present in the same physical space consistent with social distancing requirements. Volunteers and applicants were divided into two groups to allow for further distancing. For those applicants who elected to participate in person, volunteers met with them in rooms at the College of Law that would accommodate the appropriate number of people.
Eight of the ten invitees participated. Those applicants who attended in person were given a packet that included their completed forms, as well as a “next steps” set of instructions about how to submit the naturalization applications. For those who attended remotely, packets were assembled and mailed to them the week following the clinic.
In the post-event de-brief, volunteers enjoyed a box lunch graciously provided by the Cline Williams law firm and participated in robust discussion on suggestions for future clinics.
Immigration Clinic students this semester are:
- Madeline Branstetter
- Carly Burkhardt (naturalization clinic organizer)
- Nick Grandgenett (naturalization clinic organizer)
- Aja Martin
- Mauricio Murga Rios
- Luciano Ramirez Guerra
- Olivia Russell
- Sara Tonjes
Several additional students participated in the naturalization clinic, including:
- Alejandra Ayotitla
- Alicia Christensen
- Hannah Cook
- Shana Drengenberg
- Emma Lindemeier
- Jena Mahin
- Jordan Mason
- Natasha Naseem
- Sarah O’Neill
- Christopher Schmidt