AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Summer 2013

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AILA Chapters Share Their Citizenship Day Successes CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: CENTRAL FLORIDA CITIZENSHIP DAY: This year, the Central Florida Chapter hosted Citizenship Day events in Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville. In all, chapter members, local pro bono attorneys and volunteer law students assisted 200 residents with applying for U.S. citizenship. In Orlando and Tampa, about 50 volunteers assisted roughly 50 residents with applying for U.S. citizenship. Chapter members Camila Pachon and Dina Castillo-Ward coordinated Orlando's Citizenship Day in collaboration with Orange County Legal Aid and other community organizations. Chapter member John Dubrule collaborated with Gulf Coast Legal Services and other community organizations to host Tampa's Citizenship Day. In Jacksonville, over 100 volunteers assisted roughly 100 residents with applying for U.S. citizenship. Kara Roberts coordinated Jacksonville's Citizenship Day in collaboration with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and other community organizations. Unlike Orlando and Tampa, where Chapter members participate in similar citizenship-related events hosted by other non-profit organizations throughout the year, Citizenship Day only occurs once a year in Jacksonville and therefore tends to serve more applicants in one day than the other locations. In all, the Central Florida Chapter's Citizenship Day efforts were a great success! CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: PHILADELPHIA CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: MIDSOUTH CITIZENSHIP DAY: "All the stars were in complete alignment for a wonderful series of Citizenship Day events across the entire Midsouth spectrum, encompassing all of Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee," says Midsouth Pro Bono Committee Chair, Bob Lenard. The city of Baton Rouge held its second Citizenship Day event, which was again hosted by Midsouth Chapter member Corina Salazar. Not far away, in Alexandria, Louisiana, Midsouth Chapter member Graham Bateman also ran a workshop. Several hundred miles north, just outside of Nashville, Midsouth Chapter member Katja Hedding hosted two separate Citizenship Day workshops, one before and one after April 20, 2013. Cori Hash in Louisville,Kentucky, is planning a workshop for later this year. Midsouth Chapter members know Cori's experience will be as rewarding and enjoyable as everyone else's and wish her every success. All four Midsouth Chapter members were extremely pleased with the materials furnished by AILA National, and they were definitely grateful for the unstinting and tireless support of Michelle Singleton, AILA's Practice and Professionalism Center Coordinator, in particular. All praised their volunteers, communities, and support staff, and each said she would be sincerely honored to host future Citizenship Day events – or as Katja Hedding says, "I love this stuff!" CITIZENSHIP DAY: AILA's Philadelphia Chapter hosted its most successful Citizenship Day to date, matching over 90% of participants with their own attorney, all of whom submitted G-28s and committed to providing representation through the interview stage. A key to the success was the development of partnerships and co-sponsorships with the following community and advocacy groups, libraries and bar associations, each of whom did amazing outreach: La Comunidad Hispana, Downingtown Library, Keystone Opportunity Center with the Lansdale Public Library, Multicultural Community Family Services of Upper Darby, ACLU of Pennsylvania, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of PA, Catholic Charities, Christian Legal Clinics, Ceiba, District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund, Esperanza Immigration Legal Services, HIAS Pennsylvania, Nationalities Service Center, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, and The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians. Ya es Hora, a project of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and AILA assisted with press and materials. 67 volunteers, including attorneys and law students, assisted 130 prospective applicants at information sessions, where they were pre-screened for legal and English-language eligibility at five different sites. Applicants hailed from several countries, including Bangladesh, China, Congo, Germany, Great Britain, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Korea, Liberia, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. 72 eligible applicants returned for a second visit during which they completed their applications; 68 of those applications were filed with a volunteer attorney's G-28. Many thanks to the Chapter members Judith Bernstein-Baker, Valentine Brown, Lisa Felix, Phyllis Forman and Disna Weerasingh for organizing the events. 5

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