Law students passionate assist to immigrants; aid Welcome program efforts
By DAWN PROSSER
Director of Communications
In an effort to provide immigration legal assistance and provide real-world experiences for law students, the Welcome program recently enlisted the aid of University of South Dakota law school students. The students helped to staff Sioux City immigration legal service clinics this fall.
Welcome, based out of the Sioux City Catholic Charities office is a cooperative effort between Catholic Charities, the Diocese of Sioux City and Siouxland Immigration Law Firm. Welcome assists northwest Iowa residents of all faiths who need immigration assistance, case management and mental health counseling at no cost.
Immigration attorney Ravathi Vongsiprasom and Norma Garza-Ramirez, case manager, staff the Welcome program, which started offering services earlier this year. USD law school instructor Joy Moore reached out to USD graduate Vongsiprasom proposing that Moore’s students assist in the Welcome outreach programs.
“I’ve been asked to help in terms of growing the next generation of immigration attorneys, which is very important to me,” Vongsiprasom explained, adding that partnering with USD could encourage future immigration attorneys. “(The partnership) provides services to the most needy, which is the mission of the Welcome program. It also gives our law students real life experience. So, all around it’s a win-win experience so far.”