A Fellow's Perspective: Lessons on Law, Detention Work, and More

Aug 03, 2017

Today marks my last day as volunteer coordinator and legal assistant at CAIR Coalition, and I wanted to share some words on my experience and how I will carry it with me as I start law school in the fall. I began my tenure at CAIR Coalition in September of 2016 through a fellowship with Avodah: the Jewish Service Corps. This was my first job after finishing my undergraduate degree, and I entered the field of immigration with a great sense of excitement for the start of a career in immigration law. I didn’t know this when I began, but by chance and circumstance of the 2016 presidential election, I was to serve the organization and our clients during an incredibly tumultuous and uncertain time for immigrants in America. Thankfully, my colleagues and supervisors put great emphasis on constantly updating and educating the team on new developments in immigration, and I learned many of the basic immigration processes and laws in a landscape of continuous change.

This year was challenging for all of us, trying to keep our heads above water with increases in numbers of immigrants in detention; new Executive Orders; spending a week at Dulles Airport; and many other changes that our organization, and others like it, now encounter. For someone just entering the field, it was even more bewildering, and I was constantly in awe of my supervisors’ ability to digest the news of the day and explain it to a rookie like me with patience and kindness. When I think about my time at CAIR Coalition, this is what comes to mind, along with the unending fortitude and courage our clients showed me with every interaction I had with them.

I will take all of the lessons on law, detention work, the virtue of adaptability, and volunteer coordination with me as I start law school at Georgetown at the end of the month, and as I continue on with a career in public interest/immigration. It was an honor to serve our clients alongside my phenomenal mentors, supervisors, colleagues, and volunteers.