RILC supports naturalization workshop on Maui

Thanks to the support of the UHM Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED), RILC was able to support the Pacific Gateway Center with a naturalization workshop yesterday on Maui. Together, we were able to help 22 applicants take their first step in the naturalization process!

Mahalo in particular to Brissa Flores ’24 who organized the workshop. She, along with a group of RILC students last semester (Miah Bonilla ’25, Casey Hearl ’24, Joshua Nam ’24, and Leeyannah Santos ’24), applied for the SEED grant in the wake of the wildfires last August so that law students could go to Maui and assist survivors directly. In the aftermath of the wildfires, many immigrants in Lahaina lost their vital immigration documents in the fire. And in the process of replacing them, the many who are eligible have decided to go ahead and apply to become citizens.

Big thanks to the law student volunteers: Miah Bonilla ’25, Lu Kline ’25, Cortlynn Matsuo ’24, Joshua Nam ’24, Spencer Pierone ’24, Leeyannah Santos ’24, and Mary Yanagihara ’24.

Mahalo nui to Ethan Higa ’21, Deputy Director of Legal Services at the Pacific Gateway Center and former RILC postgraduate fellow, for his leadership! Thank you also to RILC attorney Kara Teng ’17 for her help, and to RILC Equal Justice Works Fellow Danicole Ramos ’23 for assisting veterans at this workshop.

We’re also grateful for the volunteer assistance of The Legal Clinic’s EJW Disaster Relief Fellow Josh Abeyta and intern Zara Hoppe, and to the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Hawaii Immigrant Justice Center’s Makoto Messersmith ’20. We were also fortunate to have the assistance of several students from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in Hawaii on spring break service trips!

It was a joy to be part of a collective effort to help the Maui community!