Law in Contemporary Society

The Dehumanization of Immigration Politics: An Immigrant’s Perspective

-- By EdsonSandoval - 23 May 2024

The dehumanization of immigration is a prevalent issue in our society as politics, strong individual beliefs, and the inability to understand diverse perspectives lead to a social stigma over immigrants and the future of immigration in the United States. The unbiased understanding of the immigrant’s perspective is necessary to overcome this stigma, as one must put their biases aside and see things from an unbiased perspective. As a person who continuously finds himself at the intersection of immigration, law, and politics, I seek to share my lived experiences with others to spread understanding of this perspective. This goal is most effectively attained through my role as a law student and practicing attorney, as I will incorporate my lived experiences through my practice.

Migrating to the United States at the age of three, my worldview became shaped by my development in a country I grew to call my home. As a child, I never questioned my social differences as the childish blessing of ignorance granted me this benefit.

The complications my legal status creates became apparent when I sought legal employment and the opportunity to attend university. Limited by the inability to work, I did what I could to support myself. The establishment of the DACA program provided me the ability to obtain legal work authorization and delay any potential deportation.

I can not vote, I can not receive federal benefits, I can not leave the United States without risking deportation. Yet, does this make me any less of a person? Does this mean I do not belong here? While policymakers and people with strict beliefs against immigration may claim that it does, I beg to differ. Why should a U.S. citizen who sits on his ass all day and contributes nothing to society be able to exploit the U.S. government for federal benefits while I have to work two jobs as a college student to stay afloat? I did not choose to come to the United States, yet I am punished for my simple existence in the country I grew up in. I have simply learned to make the most of my circumstances, fueled by the desire to maximize my potential as an aspiring attorney.

My decision to pursue law school was motivated by my purpose of utilizing my J.D. degree as a tool for social change. The combination of my lived experiences and a year of law school have led me to pursue the role of an advocate amongst my peers. After a year of political turmoil and unjustifiable policing on campus, I have become further cemented in this purpose. Columbia’s failure to protect its students allowed me to realize that if you are not willing to stand up for yourself, nobody will do it for you. Therefore, I have taken foundational steps to advocate for my community by being open about my status with my peers and instituting a community for undocumented students at Columbia. Looking forward to my 2L and 3L years of law school, I am more motivated than ever. I will advance my goal by increasing my outreach to other educational institutions, building the network of undocumented students, and spreading awareness and advocacy. When my time at Columbia Law School comes to an end, I hope to have increased the network substantially and receive funding to pay for students’ DACA renewal fees.

As a practicing attorney, I seek to draw upon these experiences to be a strong advocate for my clients. My lived experiences will undoubtedly influence the way I practice law, as I will be better able to connect with my clients on a personal level. Many of my law school peers do not understand the fear instilled by a singular legal decision which will affect every aspect of their lives. Customarily, such decisions are a consequence of a voluntary crime. In my case, the crime is my existence in a country I do not even remember migrating to. Living my life in a state of political uncertainty has made me accustomed to the feeling of fear that comes with a pending ruling on a legal issue. Although the legal conflict will be different for many of my clients, the principle remains the same. I will work tirelessly to show others that the law can be used as a tool for social change rather than being feared as a system of oppression. Teaching clients the necessary responses against police interrogation and guiding them through the judicial process will serve this purpose. Thus, I am better-prepared to connect with my clients on a deeper level, as I understand the perspectives of those who come from historically underserved communities.

My ultimate goal is to own and operate my own immigration practice. Unfortunately, I am yet to reach the financial freedom to fulfill this goal. A potential solution is to put in time at a private law firm to pay off my privately funded law school loans. Although my goal will be temporarily delayed, working at a private firm will also allow me to refine my lawyering skills and gain valuable connections in the corporate world. As a corporate lawyer, I will continue to advance my mission by working to spread advocacy and understanding amongst these attorneys in the same way I have at Columbia Law. My lived experiences will contribute to my role at a private law firm as I strive to help other attorneys understand the undocumented experience. Although this aspiration may be limited by the amount of billable hours I will have to put in, I remain committed to using a firm’s resources to maintain an active commitment to pro bono work.

Although the future is not yet written, I am proud of my journey and look forward to fulfilling my purpose. My journey as a legal practitioner will undoubtedly be unique as I have the opportunity to utilize my experience through my practice in a unique manner. I will occasionally look back on this essay as a source of inspiration.

You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules for preference declarations. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of these lines. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated ALLOWTOPICVIEW list.


Webs Webs

r5 - 29 May 2024 - 00:04:38 - EdsonSandoval
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM