Every day that I am at IIBA I am reminded of how uniquely beautiful and resilient immigrants are. I am so thankful for the countless people who have shared pieces of their lives with me, whether during legal consults, in the classes, in court, or even just on the bus. These people have not only let me into their world, but have also become integral pieces of my own. I have made connections with people from Guatemala, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, Yemen, (etc.), and with each of these connections I am more and more certain of how similar we all are. We all want to be safe, to be joyful, to be understood and most of all to be loved.
Although my interactions with most of our clients are short, I do my best to show them love in all the little ways that I can. As immigrants in the US they are often faced with hatred, and negative assumptions perpetuated by our government. Many of them live in an endless state of fear, constantly on edge about if they will make it home at night, or if they will be ripped from their families. I’ve learned (thanks to the generosity of the immigration attorneys at IIBA who let me sit in on consults) how dynamic immigration law is. Processes, timelines, and regulations are always changing depending on who ever is in office at the time. This aspect of immigration law (although extremely frustrating at times) is what makes me so drawn to it. I can genuinely see my self pursuing a career practicing immigration law because I know how needed and vital it is for so many people. Immigration law is just like trying to solve a puzzle or like finding your way out of a maze. Every time we get a new client or someone shares their case with me I immediately begin trying to figure out what specific route is best for them to take; it’s all so dependent on tiny details that make a world of a difference.
In our citizenship classes I constantly find myself also doing mental puzzles as I teach. Its a challenge to try and arrange all of the information in the best way possible so that our students can understand the concepts with the most ease. Our students have taught me so much along the way, and have never failed to lift me up when I feel lost in the material myself. Their desire to know more, do more, and be more is such a huge inspiration. Getting to spend time with them each week has made me so attached. I feel especially close to our Friday class because I get to conduct practice naturalization interviews with them. The interview is very intimate, and I feel that I know so much about their lives. I have no doubt that I will have a very hard time leaving them all at the end of my fellowship.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the office work here isn’t my favorite activity but, I have found some things that help make the work more enjoyable. I’ve gotten really into listening to podcasts in the background which makes the time speed by. Chatting with co-workers also helps make the time I spend doing tedious tasks more meaningful. Every once and a while I’m assigned a more creative task, like making a flier, poster, or invitation. These creative tasks are really exciting and have given me a chance to grow my professional skill set immensely. All in all I am so thankful for my time so far with IIBA, and I cant wait to see whats in store for me for the rest of the time!
Until next time,
Annalica Anaya My little corner of the office(:One of our students who just passed her naturalization interview, sharing her experience with the class. A flier I made for a book event we are hosting.My view from the bus on my way home from the office.