Immigration Clinic Students Host Fifth Annual Citizenship Clinic

26 Mar 2024    

A group of student volunteers stand in the lobby of the Schmid Clinic Building

On Saturday, March 23, Immigration Clinic students at the College of Law conducted a Citizenship Clinic to assist individuals interested in self-filing applications to become citizens of the United States. A total of 15 individuals were assisted by volunteer students during this year’s Citizenship Clinic. In addition to College of Law Immigration Clinic students, 21 other law students assisted those applying to become citizens, as well as Professor Carol Subiabre and five of her students from the University of Nebraska’s Spanish for Law undergraduate course. Jodi Garrelts, '15, an attorney from the Immigrant Legal Center + Refugee Empowerment Center, also offered her services to the volunteer team this year.

In preparation for the event, Immigration Clinic students publicized the Clinic in various forums and by various means, created packets of materials to be used the day of the event, recruited and trained volunteers, pre-screened applicants to determine whether they were good candidates for naturalization, and orchestrated the process from start to finish on the day of the event. The Clinic was held at the Schmid Clinic Building at the College of Law. Student volunteers greeted applicants as they arrived, checked them in, and then escorted them to interview rooms where volunteers were prepared to meet with them and help them complete the necessary forms. Volunteers assisted applicants in filling out the citizenship forms, ran background checks to verify that there were no unidentified issues that might bear on applicants’ abilities to naturalize, and gave them a “next steps” checklist to use when submitting their naturalization applications.

This is the fifth year that the Immigration Clinic has hosted the Citizenship Clinic event. Given the success of the day, the Clinic plans to continue hosting the event annually in the Spring and is considering adding a Fall event in the future as well.

Immigration Clinic students who participated are: Laurel Stoncius, Jason Evans, Lou Traore, Tavia Bruxellas-McAlister, Mason Ellis, Abbey Lanzarin, Elsa Menjivar Valverde, Taylor Brown, and Josh Hairston. Law students who volunteered this year include Erin Rose Reales, Dakota Figueroa, Grace Tracey, Meg Reinhart, Elliott Lund, Nicholas Marti, Laura Vivas, Alexandra Klay, Jordyn Piper, Audrey Wagoner, Braedyn Iwan, Jessica Valdez, Martha Sanchez-Hernandez, Julia Hogeland, Murphy Cavanaugh, José Jaimes, Lionel Dalmeida, Jennifer Craven, Corrie Day, Emma Lentsch, and Anthony Budell. Undergraduate students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who volunteered include Aaron Archer, Evelyn Mejia, Chloe Fitzgibbon, Julia Haller, Jaqueline Lara Patino, and Emma Rapper.

None of the successes of the day could have been realized without the leadership of Professor Kevin Ruser, Immigration Clinic faculty, and involvement of Sydnee Schuyler, assistant paralegal and main support staff for the Immigration Clinic.

The Clinic extends special thanks to Cline Williams, the Nebraska/Iowa Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Professor Stephanie Pearlman, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the College of Law for their generous sponsorship of this year’s event.