Baylor Law Professor Laura A. Hernández answers a client's question during the first Naturalization Clinic at Baylor Law.
WACO, Texas -
On Saturday, December 8, more than two dozen Central Texas residents were able to participate in Baylor Law’s first-ever Naturalization Clinic to assist lawful permanent residents eligible to become U.S. citizens via naturalization. Under the direction of Laura A. Hernández, Professor of Law, second- and third-year Baylor Law students, along with several volunteer attorneys and interpreters, assisted permanent residents with completing their N-400 naturalization applications, and collecting the necessary supporting documentation to send to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 22 clinic volunteers worked one-on-one with the applicants, answering questions and resolving any issues that arose along the way.
The Naturalization Clinic is just the first step in a long process for these applicants. From the time they complete and mail their application until the oath of allegiance, the naturalization process can take anywhere from several months to a year or longer. Although the assistance offered by the Baylor Law Naturalization Clinic is free, filers still had to provide the $725 fee to USCIS for their citizenship application.
Baylor University Lecturer in Spanish Rosario Colchero Dorado volunteered as a Spanish Intepreter.
Baylor Law student, and Clinic Volunteer, Andromeda Vega Rubio celebrates after taking the U.S. oath of citizenship
"This is something that my family and I have wanted to do for a long time,” said Javier, an employee working at Baylor University, “But I had questions and wasn’t sure if I could complete the application.” Javier and his wife have now completed their applications and will soon be sending them on to USCIS, and are looking forward to completing the process to become citizens.
Assisting Javier’s wife with her citizenship application was Baylor Law 3L, Andromeda Vega Rubio. Andromeda is no stranger to the N-400 naturalization application, not only due to the clinic training she received from Professor Hernández and others, but also because she herself filed her application and gave her oath of allegiance to become a U.S. citizen a mere five days after the clinic.
“By offering this clinic, we were able to assist several families who are now on the road to becoming United States citizens,” Stated Baylor Law Professor Laura Hernández, who added, “Immigration rules are subject to change and it’s possible that permanent residents could lose their residency status for even relatively minor offenses. Becoming a citizen ends that potential uncertainty, gives him or her the full privileges of citizenship, and allows their voice to be heard in local, state and federal elections.”
Given the popularity of the first Naturalization Clinic, Baylor Law has scheduled a second Naturalization Clinic for Saturday, March 23, 2019. Legal permanent residents interested in becoming U.S. citizens via naturalization are invited to participate in the next clinic. Those interested must sign up in advance by calling (254) 710-4244, or by emailing the Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ABOUT BAYLOR LAW
Established in 1857, Baylor Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. Baylor Law boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as one of the top 5 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #50 in the magazine’s 2019 edition of "America’s Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984. Learn more at baylor.edu/law
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Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at baylor.edu