Any law student looking for networking and immigration training opportunities should consider applying to the Major Scholarship. As a newest Maggio Fellow, I have enjoyed the different ways the fellowship has allowed me to not only support my work helping local immigrants with a fantastic nonprofit, the same work I hope to do after obtaining my diploma, but also to expand my network of lawyers. at the 2023 AILA Annual Conference. If you are passionate about immigration, this scholarship provides the opportunity for a law student to gain insight into the profession.
The fellowship allowed me to deepen my existing community relationships and work with the Raise the Floor Alliance (RTF Alliance). As a fellow, I had the opportunity to prepare applications for Deferred Action Labor Enforcement (DALE – which also functions as a motivational acronym in Spanish) throughout my tenure there. I learned more about how immigration law intersected with Illinois employment law and how a client’s legal issues are often more complex and related to other areas of law .
Before becoming a member of RTF Alliance, I volunteered as a Spanish intake interpreter and continued this work during the summer when RTF Alliance’s services were requested by labor and labor organizations that serve underrepresented communities. Preparing these applications and interacting with these local partners and community members provided me with many learning opportunities for my future as an attorney.
In addition to community organizing, I have seen first-hand the importance of effective communication between attorneys and community stakeholders regarding current immigration and labor legal issues. From these discussions, I learned how exploitation of immigrants can be avoided through stronger legal protections for those who have no legal status in the United States. This was the case, for example, when RTF Alliance met with another organization with similar objectives, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). MALDEF Midwest Regional Advisor Griselda Vega Samuel met with the RTF Alliance to discuss how to pursue legal reform, both judicially and legislatively. I was also excited to participate in a meeting with Illinois Department of Labor Chief Legal Counsel Andrew Fox and his team. The conversation between the RTF Alliance and the Department of Labor demonstrates real interest in improving labor standards in Illinois and is an example of community development at its best.
Another key aspect of the scholarship is being able to attend the AILA annual conference. Attending the conference meant being able to participate in learning sessions and meet AILA members from across the country. AILA provided me with a fantastic mentor for the conference: Jena Decker-Xu. Jena works at Fragomen in their Arizona branch, and it was great to hear some “war stories” from a seasoned attorney in the field. She also shared her experiences on what it means to be a mother and a lawyer. In addition to the seemingly endless networking opportunities built into the conference program, I volunteered as a Spanish interpreter for AILA’s pro bono clinic, where I was paired with a volunteer attorney to assist residents permanent legal professionals based in Orlando to take the final steps toward citizenship. . I learned more about the citizenship application process and gained more professional interpreting experience to ensure clients understand the process.
My experience as a Maggio Fellow has been enriching and inspiring. The work I was able to accomplish, the learning opportunities, and the opportunity to connect with attorneys to hear about their experiences were all invaluable. Through this opportunity, I am better prepared to enter the legal field and better understand the challenges and rewards of achieving my dream of becoming an immigration attorney. If you are looking for a career in immigration as a law student, I encourage you to consider applying to Major Scholarship.
Applications are due February 16, 2024. If you have further questions, contact Erin Lynum at email@example.com.