Nicqelle Godfrey

Nicqelle Fleming

  • Hosted by The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
  • Sponsored by Covington & Burling LLP, Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Nicqelle served non-citizen veterans through the process of naturalization.

As of 2020, 16% of veterans who apply for naturalization are denied, which is 5% higher than their civilian counterparts. According to Sections 328 and 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, those who serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible for expedited naturalization. In recent years, there has been a decline in the number of naturalization applications and an increase in application denials. Nicqelle’s project helped veterans through the naturalization process while investigating why fewer active service members are applying for naturalization and why veterans are denied naturalization at a higher rate than civilians.

Nicqelle’s family connection to the veteran and immigrant communities made her passionate about helping non-citizen veterans through the naturalization process

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Nicqelle:

  • Launched the Veterans Naturalization Assistance Program (VNAP)
  • Provided direct representation to 86 veteran clients from 32 different countries
  • Referred clients to partner organizations that could best serve their specific needs
  • Delivered 44 virtual educational presentations on the veteran naturalization process, reaching over 1,700 attendees including veteran service officers, law school students, and volunteers
  • Presented four CLE-approved trainings to volunteers
  • Sent over 6,500 outreach emails to individuals working at organizations that serve veterans to increase awareness of the project and available services
  • Mentored six interns and supported by 74 volunteers
  • Closed 23 cases
  • Successfully held four virtual naturalization clinics, which assisted 43 non-citizen veterans in beginning their naturalization applications

Next Steps

Nicqelle will be joining the Office of Special Counsel where she will be supporting their work on the Hatch Act. VNAP will continue at The Veterans Consortium where the remaining cases will be represented while additional intakes begin later this fall.

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The Veterans Consortium Announces Our 2020 Equal Justice Works Fellows

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