Fordham Law students Jose Olivares Blanca ’25, Ana Belzunce Crompin ’25, Ross Levin ’25, and Sonia Montejano ’24 traveled to El Paso, Texas, for their spring break with the Feerick Center for Social Justice Immigrant Justice Project. During the week-long trip, they had the opportunity to interact with individuals applying for asylum in the United States, as well as advocates providing legal support and shelter to asylum-seekers.
The students partnered with Annunciation House, a local shelter, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), a national immigration advocacy organization, to assist migrants from Ecuador, Honduras, and Venezuela with their pro se I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal applications. They also conducted Know-Your-Rights presentations.
They each reflected on their time in Texas:
“Assisting our clients in submitting their I-589 asylum applications was an invaluable experience, as we saw how much it meant for them and the immediate impact it had on their lives. I will always remember their faces of satisfaction and relief when their asylum applications were submitted. After meeting asylum seekers face-to-face and learning about their very difficult pasts and their hopes for their futures, you can’t help but look differently at the national discourse on immigration.” – Ana Belzunce Crompin ’25
“Doing this work drove home the high stakes for asylum seekers, provided a structural explanation of why the so-called ‘border crisis’ is so intractable, and gave clear answers [as]to how lawyers and law students can play a productive role [in helping those seeking asylum].” – Ross Levin ’25
“The El Paso trip bolstered my understanding of the complicated, yet rewarding, field of immigration. The meetings with prominent local immigration advocates allowed me to better understand the severity of the crisis at the border. I appreciated candidly hearing from them and learning about how much immigration intersects with the economy, human rights, religion, local and national policy, and international relations.” – Jose Olivares Blanca ’25
“Serving asylum seekers in El Paso over spring break was one of the most instructive and gratifying experiences of my time in law school. The experience illuminated some of the most meaningful work a lawyer can do—helping underserved clients access critical legal protection.” – Sonia Montejano ’24
Students, staff, alumni, interpreters, and other volunteers who are interested in participating in the future service trip to the border should reach out via email to email@example.com. The next trip planned will be to El Paso, Texas, June 10-17 and will be for staff, alumni, interpreters, and other volunteers.