The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) was delighted to host three college interns this past semester—Ana Ribadeneira, Liana Wang, and Cindy Zhunio. We are thankful for the many contributions they made during their time with us, and we look forward to all the incredible work they will continue to do!
Read on for our interns’ reflections from this past semester:
“Coming from a large undocumented community, I always aspired to assist my widely underrepresented community, but I never truly knew how to do so. It was not until I found my internship that I felt as if I were truly helping my community. As a Spanish translator, I have had the honor of interacting with many of our clients and have gotten to hear their untold stories. During my spring break, I assisted Yale law students at the Dilley detention center as they prepared clients for their asylum interviews. Many clients were survivors of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and gang violence. It is bewildering to know that had our clients not received any help prior to their interviews, many of them would have been denied asylum. There was a time when I felt that maybe immigration law was not for me but after working with the ASAP team and interacting with clients, I realized how necessary my assistance was and how rewarding it was to assist those within my community.”
“While America ought to and can be a place of refuge for many who are fleeing danger, it has rarely lived up to its potential of providing shelter to those who need it most. Especially under the Trump administration, asylum-seekers who enter the US face both a confusing legal landscape and many sources of continued hardship and instability. Working at ASAP has helped me keep this in mind, and the wonderful women who make the organization run are a testament to the strength of community and grassroots-focused empowerment, especially when institutions fail to protect vulnerable people or live up to our expectations of respect for basic human rights. Every project I’ve worked on during the past semester has made me more conscious of the stories of the resilient women that ASAP supports, and I have consistently been floored by the strength of these mothers, their determination, and their perseverance to attain a better life for themselves and their children.”
“Over the course of the past six months, my assignments as an intern have been varied, challenging and eye-opening. As a native Spanish-speaker, I served as an interpreter while preparing declarations for family members of a client who had fled Honduras in fear of her life. These phone interviews lent a human voice to stories – of suffering and resilience – that are often either sensationalized or ignored in the media. Working directly with clients and their family members has been one of the best aspects of my internship. To all the ASAP family, I can’t thank you enough for bringing me on board back in November. It has been a pleasure to work alongside such thoughtful lawyers who treat each case with utmost care, and each client with individualized attention. Thank you for educating me on immigration law, on all its limitations and failures, and all the ways that any conscientious citizen can begin to play their part. Providing a desperately needed service, ASAP navigates this country’s systemic immigration problems with forceful determination, tact and necessary hope.”