October 19, 2016
McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, hosted its eighth annual Immigration Fair on Saturday Oct. 15, 2016 at the campus Student Center and Quad. McGeorge alumni, law students, staff, and faculty provided free legal services to 70 people.
This year's focus was assisting community members with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and naturalization applications. Blake Nordahl, the supervising attorney in the McGeorge Immigration Law Clinic, organized the community service event. McGeorge students Isabel Glaese and Joey Parkin, and Clinic staff member Rosa Deniz were key organizers and trainers leading up to the immigration fair.
More than 100 law student volunteers from McGeorge and UC Davis participated including many first-year students. The volunteer attorneys included McGeorge alumni Mariam Aboudamous, '15, Tami Castillo, '10, Sara Bobbitt, '12, Lilly Mohanna, '15, Vallerye Mosquera, '15, Araceli Ontiveros-Venegas, '11, and Perry Knight, '15. Faculty volunteers included McGeorge professors Julie Davies, Raquel Aldana, Melissa Brown, and UC Davis professor Leticia Saucedo. Alumni Navpreet Thandi, '16, and Jennifer Martin, '16, organized the fair in 2015 and came back this year to support the event.
Many of the fair attendees were able to mail their application at the end of the fair. Clinic students will follow up with attendees who were missing evidence or who had more complicated cases.
In addition, free legal services were provided to assist qualified individuals with completing and filing naturalization or citizenship applications (N-400 and N-600) and assistance with fee-waiver applications to apply for naturalization. Study materials for Civics and English tests were also provided.
"The day went smoothly and the applicants and attorneys were impressed with our students," said Nordahl. "It was great to see the enthusiasm of the law students as they were working to make a difference in the lives of the clients they were assisting."
McGeorge partnered for this event with the Mexican Consulate, Univision, Opening Doors and the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. Trained law students and volunteer attorneys also provided free information and individual preliminary consultations to potential DACA applicants and their parents at three preliminary events held on campus and at the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services in September 2016.
More than 1,100 community members in total have been helped with free immigration through the eight fairs McGeorge has hosted.