Newsletter | Summer 2013
Vol. 17, Issue No. 3
A total of 18 law and undergraduate students from all over the United States came together this summer to work at AI Justice. The interns worked in every aspect of AI Justice’s programs.
Detention interns are a vital part of the team’s effort to prevent broken families, eliminate lengthy detention stays and challenge unfair treatment. Fryda Guedes, a senior undergraduate student at Yale University, said she chose to volunteer her time with this project after her political science professor suggested AI Justice would provide an opportunity to deepen her interest in immigration rights. While at AI Justice, she met with clients, visited detention centers, assisted with legal advice letters, and translated written and oral statements.
Katie Mullins, University of Michigan Law School, chose to volunteer at AI Justice because she wanted to learn more about immigration law. Katey Cox, a Florida International University sociology and economics senior, wanted to work in an organization that advocates for social justice. Cox’s experience in detention raised her awareness of injustices within immigration law and has inspired her to stay involved. Thais De La Cuba and Lea Udler, University of Miami School of Law students, described their experience at AI Justice as “fulfilling” and “eye-opening.” Udler said, “I never expected I would feel so moved and affected by our client’s circumstances, but I am grateful that I was.”
Three summer interns helped to advance the Lucha program’s sensitive work with survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and sexual assault. Cassandra Capote, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School, has been inspired by the pure joy she witnessed on the faces of domestic violence survivors when they were released from immigration detention.
Elina Rodriguez was selected as a Summer Liman Fellow, a partnership of Barnard College and Yale Law School, the purpose of which is to expose undergraduates to public interest law. Her work at AI Justice has deepened her interest in women’s rights and immigration reform. This summer she has been assisting female asylum seekers successfully obtain parole and release from detention.
Christina Nieves, a student at Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law, heard firsthand the trauma survivors endure. Interning at AI Justice “has been one of the best decisions I’ve made while in law school.” Nieves said.
CHILDREN’S LEGAL PROJECT
Paula Cortes, from the Washington College of Law at American University, worked with the Children’s Legal Project. Her work with unaccompanied immigrant children in detention shelters has profoundly impacted her. “Hearing the children’s stories of perseverance against all of the adversity they faced, not only in their countries but also while crossing the border, is truly inspiring,” Cortes said.
Rachel Miller, from the University of Chicago Law School, assisted with cases that could potentially change immigration law for the better. Miller has learned a lot about hieleras, frigid rooms where immigrants are held at the Texas border. This has opened her eyes to the human rights abuses committed by Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). “Every person, regardless of their immigration status, has the right to be treated with a certain level of human decency — a right which is currently being denied by CBP,” Miller said.