Just a few short months ago I was studying abroad and living in Madrid, having never lived in the United States under the new Trump administration. Every night I would watch headlines about the new administration’s policies in relation to immigration streaking across the screen and I would sigh with frustration and shame as my host family would question how I felt about everything. Earnestly, I was downtrodden and felt rather helpless and complacent in the way that I was not doing anything constructive to help the situation—I really just wanted to know what I could do. So, when I heard back from one of the partners, Dree, at Benach Collopy saying that I had been accepted as an intern at my dream internship in immigration law, I felt like I gained some agency back. Interning at Benach Collopy I am able to help do work on our clients’ cases and do research to support their claims and assist in things that make me feel like I am actually making a tangible effect on some of our amazingly resilient clients’ lives.
The firm has given me the opportunity to work somewhere that is totally centered on serving our clients. I have primarily worked on asylum cases, where our client has experienced or is fearful of persecution in their home country. Reading and hearing these harrowing stories from our clients proves to me everyday just how much this work is necessary, vital to the America I want to live in, and in line with the humanitarian mores that I hold as a constitutional part of my moral compass. It is so clear to me every single day here that immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers do not deserve to have their lives politicized and to be demonized in any way. They are humans with the same fundamental desires as every other American and who just want a safe location to carry out their lives and have often went through unimaginable hardships just to make it to our land. This being said, I am glad to know that there are fierce advocate communities and legal professionals, such as those at Benach Collopy, who are working tirelessly everyday and wielding all their resources to fight for our fellow immigrant brothers and sisters. I am humbled and honored that I have had the opportunity to join this effort this summer, for the level of immersion into this sphere I have been granted, the patient teachings of the partners, and immeasurable feeling of getting my agency back.