This summer ASAP was lucky to host legal interns Andrea Barrientos and Daniel Ocampo and legal fellow Clare Kane. Andrea, Dan, and Clare all played integral roles in our ongoing efforts to assist asylum-seeking families across the United States. Keep scrolling to read their reflections from the summer.
Clare Kane (Yale Law School ’19)
“My four-month fellowship at ASAP, funded by Yale Law School’s Mary A. McCarthy Memorial Fellowship, was a powerful learning experience. As a legal fellow, I had the opportunity to work across several departments. My assignments ranged from building a database of social service referrals to assisting with impact litigation briefing to supervising summer externs. This variety showed me how powerful ASAP’s commitment to asylum-seekers is, because ASAP supports its members not just through direct legal representation, but with everything from housing advice to policy advocacy. This commitment is unique as a model of legal services. More than that, however, it reflects ASAP’s deepest value: to be led by the leadership and courage of asylum seekers themselves.
ASAP’s core values mattered to me on a more personal level, as well: I have disabilities that have, in the past, made legal work difficult. ASAP accommodated me far beyond what I have ever expected from an employer, and for that, I am both grateful and deeply moved. This, ultimately, is ASAP’s lasting impression on me: that it is possible to build an organization that treats both its employees and its clients with respect, humility, and fundamental decency. Thank you for a stunning summer, ASAP.”
Andrea Barrientos (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ’21)
“I am extremely grateful for my summer 2020 legal internship with the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP). I was initially drawn to ASAP because of its mission to support asylum seekers, from providing accurate, accessible information about the legal system to challenging the current administration’s anti-immigrant practices. I was fortunate enough to work with and learn from ASAP’s committed staff during this challenging time. I also worked with asylum seekers who taught me invaluable skills that I will continue using in my legal career. I spent many hours speaking with clients about their experiences in their home countries, their journeys to the United States, and their hopes for better and safer lives. I hope to continue learning how to amplify clients’ voices and how to be an effective advocate. My internship reaffirmed my passion for this work and I am confident that I will continue working in the immigrants’ rights field.”
Daniel Ocampo (Yale Law School ’22)
“My summer internship at ASAP was a challenging, fascinating, and deeply rewarding experience. As a legal intern with the systemic reform team, I spent my time researching interesting legal issues and helping to draft legal filings, and assisting more generally with the litigation docket. This summer, that mostly meant fighting back against a series of Trump administration rules intended to erase most the few remaining protections for asylum seekers.
I also had the chance to work more directly with ASAP’s clients. I did an intake interview with a teenager who had been separated from his dad while in CBP custody as part of the federal government’s family separation policy. His experience reminded me of the critical role that ASAP plays in ensuring that asylum seekers, like him, have their voices heard and their rights vindicated. It was also a reminder of ASAP’s dedication to centering clients at the heart of everything it does, and to ensuring that all of its advocacy work is informed and supported by the experiences and voices of the individuals it serves.
Most importantly, though, it was a pleasure to be part of a team of such brilliant and thoughtful lawyers and advocates, all dedicated to achieving some measure of justice for a deeply marginalized community. Thank you all for showing me how to do high quality, impactful, client-informed public-interest lawyering, and how to enjoy doing it! I hope I get to work with you again soon!”