Human Rights & Social Justice BDP student Josue Teniente completed an internship with the Equal Justice Center where he helped share information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and assisted clients in preparing DACA applications.
How did you find your internship?
I participated in the DiscoverLaw PLUS program that introduced my cohort to many attorneys in various fields. I met Megan Sheffield, an attorney for the Equal Justice Center, during a presentation on immigration law and expressed my interest in immigration law and the EJC.
Describe the work you did in your internship.
I took down information from people looking to see if they qualified for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and helped them begin the process of applying. If for some reason, we couldn’t help them, I would refer them to another immigration law office or organization that could help them out. I also talked to some of the clients and helped to translate some of the more difficult parts of the application.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
For me, it was knowing that an undocumented person had taken the first steps towards feeling safe and secure in the United States. I would often talk to them during the application and they shared their hopes and dreams for their future in this country. I was so happy that I got to be a part of that and helped them when they needed it. Coming from a border town with a high immigrant population, I was immensely proud of the sacrifices and courage of those I helped.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
Since graduating from high school, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but I had no idea what kind of law I wanted to practice. Once in college, I found my passion for helping undocumented immigrants and knew I wanted to devote my career to helping them. My Connecting Experience gave me first-hand knowledge about this field and sharpened my skills in order to participate in it. After my experience with the Equal Justice Center, my desire to pursue Human Rights and Social Justice is even stronger than when I started.
Discuss the relationship you had with your faculty mentor and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.
My faculty mentor and professor, Dr. Nestor Rodriguez, would talk about the sociological aspects of immigration and offered great insights when it came to working with immigrants. As the class progressed, I gave him updates as to how the internship and the Equal Justice Center was going, and he would give me feedback and answers about any questions or comments I had.