May 15, 2012
FLORIDA COASTAL SCHOOL OF LAW in Jacksonville and the American Immigration Lawyers Association recently hosted the Fifth Annual Citizenship Day by helping more than 150 legal permanent residents in the Northeast Florida community apply to become U.S. citizens. Approximately 40 pro bono attorneys and dozens of law students volunteered to assist applicants with the required forms and necessary steps toward naturalization. In collaboration with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and The Jacksonville Bar, the event enabled participating attorneys to share information on the eligibility requirements. The attorneys also provided contact information for local services available to help the applicants prepare for the required civics test. “Florida Coastal School of Law continues to be a leading force in providing excellent services to our immigrant residents,” said Kathy Para, pro bono development coordinator with JALA. “As the number of immigrants grows here in Northeast Florida, and across the country, it’s important that organizations, including AILA, JALA, and Florida Coastal School of Law, are available to make these critical services possible.” While currently residing in neighborhoods around Northeast Florida, including the Beaches, Mandarin, West Side, and Arlington areas, many of the event’s attendees originated from Latin American, African, and European countries such as Colombia, Mexico, Liberia, Cuba, and England. In partnership with the “ya es hora ¡Ciudadanía!” campaign, AILA held 43 naturalization clinics in 30 states and prepared more than 2,000 immigrants to become citizens. “We are proud to partner with JALA and the AILA on Citizenship Day,” said Peter Goplerud, dean and professor of law at Coastal Law. From the left are Florida Coastal students Katie Ross, Madelyn Pittman, Linsey Pyles, and Sarahbeth Withers.