An Intern's Viewpoint

In this post I'm going to discuss my experience at CAIR Coalition as an administrative intern and how impactful and eye opening this opportunity has been for me. Furthermore, I'll discuss CAIR Coalition's mission and goals and how the organization strives to serve those in need specifically immigrants lacking adequate and knowledgeable legal representation.

My name is Camila Tapias, and I am an undergraduate student at The George Washington University studying Organizational Sciences with minors in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. After completing high school in Bogotá, I decided to come to the US with hopes to further my education and my basketball career. I have always been very passionate about social justice and human rights. Being an immigrant myself has allowed me to observe how other immigrants in the US who are less privileged than me suffer every day to help their families in order to have a better future. Because of that, I decided to look for internships with organizations that were committed to social justice and I found CAIR Coalition. The moment I found out about CAIR Coalition’s mission and the amazing work that they do, I knew that I wanted to be an intern for them.

I started working the first week of May 2017 in the Detained Adult Program as an administrative intern. Since then, everything has been an amazing experience, not only because of all the valuable things that I have learned, but also because of the family environment that CAIR Coalition has. The first day I went through a couple of trainings on how to use their database and how to get around the office. I didn’t know what to expect when I began working there because a lot of friends have told me that interns usually don't do impactful work. However, at CAIR Coalition they have given me many responsibilities and I have felt that my contributions are important to help detained immigrants and their families.

At CAIR Coalition you have a hands-on experience. I have had the opportunity to go on a jail visit where I observed and felt some of the difficulties of the current immigration situation in this country. After I went on the jail visit, I became more passionate about helping these people and their families. Another way I'm able to assist immigrants and their cases is returning calls to family members, friends or attorneys who call our office seeking updates. I'm able to assist many clients through my bilingual capabilities. This allows me to feel that I have helped someone at least by providing them some information and personally that is very gratifying. Even though there have been certain occasions where I feel frustrated because I can’t help detainees with their case, the fact that our staff members are constantly looking for the best options to help these people through their immigration and deportations proceedings makes me very happy. Without a doubt, this internship has been one of the best experiences that I’ve ever been involved in because of the impactful work I do on a daily basis and due to CAIR Coalition's mission and goals aligning with my passion to help other people in any way possible.