AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Spring 2012

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CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: SAN DIEGO CHAPTER HAPPENINGS: JACKSONVILLE AILA San Diego Builds a Future for Habitat The AILA San Diego Chapter volunteered last spring 2011 in a novel skills project for which law school training does not prepare us. Our Pro Bono Committee decided to start a new spring tradition by exchanging our laptops, pens, paper, briefs and motions for hammers, circular saws, nails, and drills. Early one Saturday, 10 AILA attorneys met up at a Habitat for Humanity building project in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood. Our task was to work with contractors and builders to help rebuild destroyed houses and other buildings. A┼┐ter a long day of manual labor, we had erected walls on a second story building and elevated a roof of a second building. This successful construction effort led to Habitat asking us to take part in another construction job this spring, 2012. We hope that this event becomes an annual opportunity for our members.The Habitat project created respect for AILA attorneys who then helped many contractors, laborers, and other workers obtain immigration status. In addition to our work with Habitat, chapter members volunteer as mentors, pro bono representatives, board members, and trainers. We collaborate with local nonprofit organizations including ABA Immigration Justice Project (ABAIJP), Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFSSD), San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program (SDVLP), Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC), Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD), and San Diego Naturalization Collaborative (SDNC). Our most recent collaboration was a joint effort with ABAIJP, JFSSD, International Rescue Committee, and Catholic Charities of San Diego to present a "Know Your Rights" talk to a growing population of Haitian immigrants. AILA Jacksonville Partners with Florida Law School For the past four years, the Immigrants Rights Clinic (IRC at Florida Coastal School of Law (FCSL) under Professor Ericka Curran planned and ran Citizenship Day in Jacksonville. As the event became larger and larger each year, the IRC was unable to provide the necessary support for the event, although IRC remains as supportive as its resources allow. To respond to the tremendous growth and popularity of Citizenship Day, Professor Curran came up with the excellent idea of a skills lab class at FCSL to teach students about Citizenship/Naturalization, provide them with the experience of screening applicants, and introduce them to major event planning. Professor Curran recommended Kara Roberts, an immigration attorney for Jacksonville area Legal Aid's Refugee Immigration Project, to teach the Naturalization Skills Lab. The course was immediately successful, and now for the first time, the law school is offering a two-credit class. The course will focus exclusively on Citizenship/Naturalization, with emphasis on planning and running AILA's Citizenship Day in Jacksonville. Six students are enrolled in the class, and the class will require much more work than the required hours suggest. Nevertheless, the students are dedicated and motivated. This program illustrates just one of the creative solutions ensuring that dedicated people will coordinate important events like Citizenship Day. At the same time, the course creates an ongoing, consistent method for planning Citizenship Day in any area with access to a local law school. Jacksonville's Citizenship Day will be held on Saturday, April 14, 2012. 5

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