People who long to become American citizens were given something of their own to be thankful for this November as Catholic University law school students donated their time and talents to helping them achieve the dream.
Seventeen Columbus School of Law students—representing all three classes as well as the evening program—participated in a training program designed to help applicants for U.S. citizenship perform well during the interviews that are part of the process.
The law school’s Legal Services Society and the Women's Law Caucus planned the pro bono day, held on Nov. 9th. The group worked with Richard Eldridge at Hogar Immigrant Services, who provided students with a short training session that included the basics of immigration law and skills in client interviews and counseling.
The student then did conducted mock interviews with Hogar clients in preparation for their real interviews with US Citizenship and Immigration Services, a crucial aspect of the long process involved in obtaining American citizenship.
“Conducting mock interviews as student volunteers was a rewarding experience. After training in the basics of immigration law and the steps necessary to become an American citizen, we were able to dive in and provide valuable assistance to individuals working very hard to become part of this country,” said 3L Katherine Somers, co-president of the Legal Services Society at Catholic University.
"What really astounded me was the type of questions I had to ask them. I know that most people, including myself, would not be able to pass the test if we were given it today," said 1L Aryane Garansi.
For LSS co-president Brian Farnkoff, 3L, providing such assistance is a natural part of the legal education at Catholic University.
"Helping people who are overcoming language barriers and other obstacles to try to become U.S. citizens is eye-opening because I take the benefits of my birth for granted every day,” Farnkoff said. “This program encapsulates the essence of the social justice mission of the Catholic Church and of our responsibility as law students at Catholic to give back to the community.”