03 Apr 2023
Students in the Immigration Clinic at the College of Law held a Naturalization Clinic on Saturday, April 1 in the Schmid Clinic Building. The Naturalization Clinic has been run by students in the Immigration Clinic each spring since 2020. The purpose of the Naturalization Clinic is to help community members who are eligible to become United States citizens fill out the paperwork they will need to submit their applications to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This year, students helped eight community members complete their naturalization applications.
The Naturalization Clinic was organized and run by the Immigration Clinic team of Jordan Mason and Dylan Severino, who recruited and trained volunteers, publicized the Naturalization Clinic in the community, ordered food and drinks, and otherwise served as organizers-in-chief of the Clinic.
Students volunteering for the Clinic arrived at 8:00 a.m. to receive instructions and packets with information on the community members whom they were helping. Those community members were served in two, two-hour shifts: one beginning at 9:00 a.m. and one beginning at 12:00 p.m. The Clinic ended at 2:30 p.m., concluding a very full day for those in attendance.
In addition to Mason and Severino, Immigration Clinic students participating in the Naturalization Clinic included Ainoa Chacon de Anzola, Shana Dregenberg, Veronica Parish, Christopher Schmidt, Kelly Shanahan, and Nicole Tracey. Immigration Clinic students provided support and advice for non-Immigration Clinic student volunteers, conducted background checks on applicants, and otherwise provided major support for the day’s operations.
Twenty-one law students volunteered to help with the Clinic. They met with clients, helped them fill out their paperwork, and gave them packets containing the next steps involved in submitting their naturalization applications. Those students volunteering were Fatima Al-Haidari, Jennifer Craven, Lionel Dalmeida, Anureet Dhillon, Mason Ellis, Rachel Espinosa, Courtney Fuller, Aurora Garcia, Jose Jaimes, Cassandra Kostal, Emma Lentsch, Elliott Lund, Dania Ontiveros, Abbey Penton, Jordyn Piper, Erin Rose Reales, Karsen Sims, Rebecca Stading, Olivia Steffensen, Erik Strickland, and Indy Talken.
Jodi Garrelts, a 2015 graduate of the College of Law, Immigration Clinic alum, and attorney at the Immigrant Legal Center in Lincoln, also volunteered to help review paperwork before it was finalized, printed and given to participants.
The Immigration Clinic wishes to thank Garrelts and all of the students who volunteered for the Naturalization Clinic. And to those community members whom they helped, best of luck as you pursue U.S. citizenship!