This summer I interned at Immigration Counseling Service (ICS) in downtown Portland. ICS is a nonprofit immigration law firm, providing low cost services to individuals and families. The office does a wide variety of immigration work including family petitions, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), T-Visas, U-Visas, VAWA self-petitioners, and occasional asylum cases. ICS also does a lot of work with unaccompanied minors.
I worked on a variety of different cases and research projects over throughout the summer. I spent quite a bit of time working on a couple different U-Visa cases. U Nonimmigrant Status is a status granted to petitioners who are victims of a qualifying criminal activity and have suffered substantial harm as a result of the criminal activity. I prepared a brief in response to USCIS revoking one client’s U Nonimmigrant Status that was sent to the Administrative Appeals Board. I also prepared a response to a Notice of Intent to Deny another client’s U Nonimmigrant Status petition. I was able to gain both more doctrinal knowledge regarding U-Visas through this work as well as increasing my advocacy and persuasive writing skills.
My summer was intellectually stimulating, rewarding, and a lot of fun. I learned quite a bit about an area of law I was previously fairly unfamiliar with and I saw firsthand just how much immigration law intersects with so many other areas of law, like criminal, employment, or family law. I worked closely with several amazing legal workers and met many passionate, caring people. My work this summer would not have been possible without the help of the PILP stipend. A lot of important work goes undone because people can’t afford to work for no pay, but the PILP stipends ensure that people can do this much needed work. This is especially important for law students who may have entered law school with the desire to work for the public interest, but encounter monetary restrictions. Through PILP, such students can do the work they want to do, gain practical experience, and serve the public, doing the work that most needs to be done.