by Angel Terry
During conversations about foreign policy and immigration, those who are aware of their citizenship often feel as though there is nothing they can do to alleviate that situation. In contrast, many people do not take into account just how much immigrants affect their daily lives – and in turn are dismissive towards their issues. “It is human rights, to have a safe place to live and safe access to food, and water and sometimes if people cannot find that in their home country they have to go and find some place that can. It is a universal thing no matter where you go.” Said Gabriella Marcia.
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project seeks to provide ordinary citizens with resources and tools for getting involved with helping on projects associated with immigration. NWIRP is the only Washington State organization that provides comprehensive legal-service to low-income immigrants and refugees. NWIRP seeks to find volunteers who have a passion for aiding with legal immigration issues, or plan to attend law school with a focus in immigration legal services or justice.
While the agency has no specific ways that high school students are able to help, it does provide a legitimate resource to contact after post-secondary education in the field of immigration legal services.
At the end of the day, immigrants and refugees are people, and contributing members of society. People who are immigrants surround us, the people who are closest to us in proximity can be immigrants and one would not even know, considering the sensitivity of disclosing such information. They are our friends, coworkers, employers, teachers, coaches – the list is endless.
Pursuing a career in legal immigration services will seek to alleviate the already negative connotation that comes with being an immigrant, and making a significant improvement of the lives of people who simply want to do better for themselves.
“We really need volunteers who can commit to long times, because it takes a long time to train someone…To do an internship, we always have like law school internship, but occasionally we have college students help. If they are interested in a full time commitment of like ten weeks… Its nine to five, Monday through Friday, so I know that’s tough because of school and even college students are very interested and want to help but we really cannot do something that just a few hours once a month… As far as what you can do, because you are so young is just educating your friends and other people so that they know and they can tell their friends, and I think that’s very important. Writing blogs, or if you see something that is very offensive to stand up to it. People think because they are between 15-18 they do not have a voice, but they do. Going to protests or just really educating others, I think it’s the main thing you can do for now and then when you’re in college, there is going to be more opportunities to pursue something in that direction. You can always tell others to donate. If you know other people with money, they can donate, because we operate by donations… We really need money because we hired a few new positions, but we need donations to keep coming so that we can keep people that we have hired and keep doing community presentations.” Said Michele Suarez.