This year’s Citizenship Day held on Saturday April 14th attracted a record number of applicants from the Jacksonville community. The Citizenship Skills Lab with the help of student clinicians in the Immigration Rights Clinic planned, set up and successfully held this annual event initiated by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (“AILA”).
Volunteering at the event this year were 40 attorneys from the Jacksonville area, students from Professor Kara Roberts’ Citizenship Skills Lab, 15 clinicians from the Immigrant Rights Clinic, 35 other law students, and 12 interpreters from a local non-profit organization. Students as well as attorneys were dedicated to the cause and to making this event a success. Prior to the event student clinicians helped the Citizenship skills lab conduct pre-screens of interested members of the community. This helped filter out candidates with more complex issues who may not be a good fit for Citizenship Day, also allowing things to move more swiftly on the day of the event. Some students and faculty dedicated their entire day to the event, starting as early as 8 AM and leaving the event well after 6 PM. The stories from the community were diverse and heartwarming. It means so much to these individuals that with the help of FCSL students they were able to take the final step on the path of becoming American citizens.
Students were able to assist 100 people from the Jacksonville community file their citizenship applications. Several other individuals whose applications needed more attention are being referred to local attorneys for pro bono representation. The applicants who attended were from various countries. Some of the countries represented at the event were: Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Russia, Vietnam, Sudan, Panama, Liberia, Costa Rica, and a few European countries.
The community came out in great number and expressed gratitude for this life changing event put on by Florida Coastal School of Law.