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PBCSI hosts New Americans Initiative training

On Friday, September 26, the Pro Bono and Community Service Initiative welcomed World Relief Chicago to the College of Law for a New Americans Initiative Citizenship Workshop volunteer training for students.

The New Americans Initiative is a non-profit partnership between the State of Illinois and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to provide free assistance to legal permanent residents who are trying to become U.S. Citizens. World Relief Chicago partners with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights to provide Citizenship Workshops as part of the New Americans Initiative. Two student groups, the Latino Law Student Association and the Society for Asylum & Immigration Law, co-sponsored the training. 

The training was led by Leanor Garcia, staff attorney and citizenship program coordinator with World Relief Chicago. The training prepared students to volunteer at any monthly Citizenship Workshop and work with clients one-on-one to inform them of the benefits and requirements of becoming a citizen. Students were also trained to assist clients with completing their N-400 citizenship application. The training was truly a valuable experience for all. As Jessica Gutierrez (JD '16) said, “Attending this workshop broadened my perspective of the simple and practical ways a law student interested in pursuing immigration law can begin to help those who are undergoing the process of legalization.”

In light of students’ positive response to Citizenship Workshop training, PBCSI hopes to offer training again during the spring semester and is exploring additional ways students can volunteer in the area of immigration law.