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What internships are good if I want to become an immigration lawyer?

I am a first year at Sjsu and want to go into law school later on. I want to do internships but I don’t know where to start. It’s been a dream of mine to become an immigration lawyer since elementary school in order to help out my community. I’ve been doing work with my community to learn how to work with families better as I think that’s a skill I might need. However I don’t know what else I should do.

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Erin’s Answer

Hi Vianey,
I’m excited to hear your interest to work in and for your community. There are so many great ways to do that, and being an immigration lawyer is one of many! Advocacy and organizing can help shape policies, and you can start doing that now. No law degree required! This is a great list of organizations in the San Jose area that work in immigration — you can start by seeing what opportunities these orgs have to get involved and intern. Explore their websites, see what types of things they are doing and reach out for opportunities. You’ll find there are many ways to get involved from community meetings, to volunteering at immigration workshops, to jobs: https://oir.sccgov.org/sites/g/files/exjcpb1026/files/Immigration%20Legal%20Services%20Flyer.pdf
Good luck, and I am excited to see where your passion leads you.
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Baljit’s Answer

Hi Vianey,
I would also look into selecting some immigration firms and putting yourself out there by getting a cover letter ready that states what you can offer the firm through volunteering/ interning. There are a lot of immigration law offices in this area. Also you may want to see whether the immigration office has anything that spikes your interest. Try USCIS.gov.
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Nicole’s Answer

Very exciting!

Try Al Otro Lado https://alotrolado.org/
Look at nonprofits in your area who need volunteers: National Lawyers Guild,
ACLU, KIND, IRLC orgs like that will need volunteers & they can also help you find smaller orgs they work with that provide immigration service to clients within the community! Good luck
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Melecia’s Answer

For internships I would suggest seeking out law firms that specialize in immigration so you can learn about preparing applications and conduct legal research.

I would also recommend that you engage with government agencies such as IRCC, USCIS to gain greater understanding in immigration requirements, government procedures and immigration policy development.

You can offer to volunteer with pro bono groups in your local area to provide free legal assistance and gain practical experience while helping the communities. A few in San Jose are:
- Asian Law Alliance
- SIREN
- IRC
- Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
- Law Foundation of Silcon Valley

Engaging in internships and volunteer community work opportunities will enhance your legal skills and knowledge and help build your network within the immigration law community.

Wishing you luck as you complete your degree!
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