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October 24, 2016

Hugo Gonzalez Venegas

Immigration Counseling Service
Portland, Oregon

My name is Hugo Gonzalez Venegas. I am currently a 2L and I had the privilege of working with Immigration Counseling Service (ICS), a nonprofit law firm working with predominately low-income immigrants seeking refuge or legal status in the United States, during summer 2016.

            As an immigrant myself, and having gone through the immigration process and obtaining citizenship, I have a unique perspective on the law and how it affects people on a human-level. The Public Interest Law Program was vital to me being able to work at a nonprofit over the summer.  Without the stipend, I would have needed to find a paying job, as ICS is unable to expend its already limited resources.  I am very thankful for this amazing opportunity and hope to assist PILP in the future to ensure other students have my same opportunity I did, to do good in the community.

At ICS, I was able to research and write up internal memos on myriad aspects of immigration.  From asylum to removal cases, any type of client that came through the door was a possible research assignment for the interns.  Because of my previous experience in immigration law, I was able to meet directly with clients, under attorney supervision, and fill out forms to submit to the Department of Homeland Security or Immigration Court to assist in their search for ways to stay in the United States. 

ICS is a small office with five attorneys, an accredited representative, four legal assistants and an office manager.  The beautiful thing is that with all the choices for eating lunch downtown, most employees choose to have lunch in the cramped lunchroom together.  Everyday, we would pile into the lunchroom and eat together, talk about personal lives, and cases we were working on.  I had never seen such collaboration and genuine care for the clients and employees.  It made everyday so easy to go into work and make a difference.  I miss the camaraderie at ICS and I hope to get the opportunity to intern there in summer 2017.


Thank you Public Interest Law Program.