November 22, 2011
A huge crowd of would-be citizens and their families packed McGeorge's Third Annual Citizenship Fair on Nov. 19, 2011, for a day-long event to help immigrants on the road to citizenship.
"Approximately 350 people (plus family members) came for some type of legal advice at the event," said Professor Blake Nordahl, a key organizer who oversees the law school's Immigration Clinic. "We provided consultations on non-naturalization immigration issues to about 75 people. We provided full eligibility review for naturalization to 210 people. Of those, we were able to submit 75 applications for naturalization after they went through initial screening, preparation with a law student team and, finally, attorney review. Unfortunately, we couldn't get to everyone; it was that crowded."
Sponsors of the fair include Univisión/Telefutura, NALEO Education Fund, League of Women Voters of Sacramento County, and the Immigrant & Refugee Trauma Institute of Sacramento. Numerous student groups from McGeorge were also involved in the effort, and Assemblyman Roger Dickinson was on hand to observe the operation.
"This event, led by Professor Raquel Aldana and Blake, and supported by other clinical faculty (Melissa Brown, Kathleen Benton, Warren Jones), alums, and a cadre of multilingual students, does a lot to restore one's faith in the willingness of lawyers to serve and the huge need for help," Associate Dean Julie Davies said.
Visitors to campus were also able to take advantage of two large mobile medical facilities from the UC Davis School of Medicine in which medical technicians provided free blood pressure and vision tests.
"We were successful in reaching more ethnic communities this year," Nordahl said. "We had our volunteers helping people in Spanish, Arabic, Hmong, Mein, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi, Russian, Mandarin, and Tagalog, making this the most diverse fair yet. As always, I was impressed by the students and volunteers staying well past the posted closing time."