Working over the summer with US Senator Robert Menendez we briefly touched upon immigration work. I also had somewhat of a background in immigration because my father frequently does immigration law and some of his most notable cases have to do with protecting illegal immigrants and their rights. But, all of this preparation at the time I had no idea I would be spending a future semester becoming more immersed in the information regarding migration, refugees, and immigration. I even was able to have the experience of volunteering at the New Americans Campaign twice to put some knowledge into application and to piggy back off of my summer experience as an intern.
My second experience with the New Americans Campaign was much different than the first. During the first we simply followed instructions and filled out information using the computer's application system. We filled this application out as we received the information from those trying to obtain citizenship. During the second visit, with my friend Chen, we were given more room to complete various tasks. This time, we were sent to the second floor to work in the child's division where we met various workers and were able to learn about their jobs and experiences there at the office. This was great news because it meant we were going to receive an entirely different experience from our first visit.
Most of what we did though was filing papers, also a skill i mastered at my summer internship. While filing papers might not be the most fulfilling task out there, it certainly is a necessary part of office life. But, what made this filing experience interesting, was we were doing it in an office where the woman at the desk was very friendly. We got along well with her and she told us of various stories that she has experienced working with the children in the child immigration division. She said her work there is incredibly fulfilling when she is able to assist children who need help in order to get their citizenship.
Working over the summer during my internship I had always been intrigued with the immigration section to assist people in getting their citizenship but it was not an opportunity they fully offered for the summer interns in under graduate. I am grateful that through our class though, we have been given the opportunity to have the experience of working in the immigration field. I definitely will plan to volunteer in the future and continue creating great experiences at the New Americans Campaign, not to mention the great sushi downstairs that Chen and I devoured during lunch on both visits.
Another great feature of the New Americans Campaign was that it brought me to a new location. I had not often times been into downtown Miami and I was very glad that I was able to see this new area. It definitely is cool to see different parts of the area, especially coming from New Jersey. The entirely different experiences here in Miami is what makes it such an amazing place to come study in.
Another aspect of tying it all together has come recently while starting to write my research paper. Using all of the theories and discussion through out the semester, it is encouraging to see everything tie into one paper. It is always refreshing to hear the factual evidence regarding many stereotypes in the United States specifically towards immigration, which is what my paper centers around. But, to fully recap, one of my favorite experiences from the semester was listening to Yoani Sanchez speak. It was an incredible story that must have been insane to live through. She is a great symbol for the Cuban community and I see parts of her in my father who migrated from Cuba at 14 and has now made a life for himself in the United States. Immigration is part of who I am and my family and it has been an amazing experience this semester to learn more about it and actively participate in the mission.