Suryah Aryaei, c/o 2019, University of California, Berkeley
"Nothing could have prepared me to work for the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration. It was an emotionally taxing job that gave me insight into the real world cruelties that immigrants and refugees live every single day. Speaking to individuals on the phone every single day was both humbling and eye-opening to the injustices that current immigration policies have set in place. As a result of this internship, I now know exactly what I want to pursue in law school and beyond. My experience hit very close to home, as both my parents are refugees who were once detained. Had it not been for one pro-bono lawyer from Pakistan, I would not be where I am today. The most rewarding part of this experience were the bonds that I fostered with people who had no where else to look to for hope. Since I understand what it is like to be on the battered end of broken policies, I will pursue a path devoted to breaking down injustices in the way that I, a privileged America citizen, can. Both my manager and co-manager ensured that my time at the ABA was filled with compassion, dedication, and hard- work and because of them my heart is kinder to people whose stories I would have otherwise neglected to hear out. If I could ever have the privilege of working with the Commission on Immigration again, I will passionately take it on."
Juliet Day, c/o 2019, The George Washington University
My internship at the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration was one of the best internships I’ve had in college. My main responsibility was answering the detainee hotline, which, although nerve-racking at first, became very interesting and rewarding. I was able to interact with the detainees on a personal level and help them with various issues. The detainees were overall very thankful for our help and I really feel like I made a small difference in the lives of these people who are going through such a terrible time. Mr. Bob, Nicole and everyone else in the office were so helpful in teaching us and acting as our mentors. I was so impressed with how empathetic they were to all the detainees' situations and how hard they worked to help each of them to the extent they could. They regularly made time to teach and guide us and I think the skills I learned from them will help me in any future position I have. This position taught me a lot about how the immigration system currently works in our country today and it was amazing to work for the Commission on Immigration during a time where immigration is such a hot topic issue. I heard something in the news almost every day that related to my internship in some way and that made it even more enjoyable to work there.