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Immigration information brought to soldiers
jp Immigration fair
Sgt. Kristopher Squires, center, talks with immigration specialists Deborah Swett and Rebekah McCorvey, Squires is in the First Brigade, 1-3 Brigade Troops Battalion. - photo by Joe Parker Jr. / Coastal Courier
Nici Kersey is exactly the way you might picture a pro bono immigration attorney; bright, enthusiastic, hard working, dedicated and cheerful.
She led a group of 10 attorneys and specialists from her law firm in a two-day workshop at Fort Stewart this weekend. They provided -- at no cost -- an updating on immigration law for JAG personnel who might not be current with that specialty. Then they set to work assisting soldiers and families of soldiers who need advice or assistance with immigration matters.
Kersey works at the nationwide law firm of Seyfarth Shaw, which specializes in immigration law. Her husband is a captain in the Army, and Kersey said being around the military caused her to notice the need for immigration assistance among soldiers and their families.
She wrote a proposal for the firm to do a pro bono immigration workshop and it was accepted. Drawing staff from the firm's New York and Boston offices as well as Atlanta, the firm planned the workshop, developed the materials, loaded up supplies of the ever-present government forms and headed for Fort Stewart.
The team saw about 25 soldiers or family members Friday and hoped for at least that many more Saturday. Kersey said their customers brought a range of needs, from simple questions to cases in which the Seyfarth Shaw specialists actually began the filling out of the required forms.
In some cases, members of the team were able to initiate paperwork needed now, and provide copies of forms that will be needed in the future and advice on how to handle that.
Kersey said immigration can be a long tedious process and said the bottom line is the limited number of visas available.
"I love my job," she said. "It's rewarding to be able to help people who need it."
Sgt. Kristian Squires said, "I think this is great."
He said that in 15 years he had not had a similar opportunity to get information. His Japan-born wife is a legal resident of the U.S., but wants know about citizenship, if she decides to apply. He asked questions about his daughter, who has both U.S. and Japanese citizenship.
Squires praised the immigration fair: "I can easily think of six or seven guys who would like to be here. These people can answer all your questions."
Friday afternoon Fort Stewart's acting staff Judge Advocate General, Lt. Col. Stacy Flippin and Maj. Monte Richards, chief of the legal assistance office showed up to present certificates and coins to the SeyFarth Shaw team.
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