Work as an immigration intern solidifies career goals for Nhi Le ’21
The passion to become an immigration attorney was solidified this summer for Nhi Le ’21 as she served a remote internship with the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore, Maryland. Her experience was supported by a $1,500 CPP Fellowship grant from the Center for Politics and the People for student interns in public policy or politics.
Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, she worked remotely from her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “We did everything remotely, which I was actually very grateful for because I was fearful that they would cancel the internship as a whole,” Le said.
As an immigration legal service intern, Le worked ion legal aid paperwork and intake procedures. “Typically, we will do a Google meet video call with clients in order to begin the initial intake to determine whether clients are able to even apply for naturalization,” she says. Then, after the intake is reviewed by a department of Justice-accredited representative, Le continued with further paperwork and files.
“Mostly, my job is a lot of legal paperwork and talking to clients who have little to no English,” she says. “I get the opportunity to work with clients directly, which I am grateful for.”
The internship was an incredible experience for her, Le says. “It was great to be more informed about immigration law (as) I would like to be an immigration lawyer,” she says. “Mostly, I learned to speak to others with the same kindness I would expect from a friend.
“Most of our clients have been through some traumatic events, and sometimes talking to us makes their day a bit better knowing they are one step closer to becoming a citizen. I always knew how important this was for my immigration community, but through learning about my clients’ lives and their struggles, I learned that the tiniest change in one’s tone of voice can bring someone more comfort than you think. I am already an empathetic human, but this definitely taught me some cross-cultural communication with compassion and empathy. “
She says the experience will benefit her career goals. “Honestly, this internship has made me more driven to become an immigration attorney in order to help my community out even more,” she says.
Le is double majoring in politics and government and communication.