Immigration law is a behemoth of complicated rules, laws and criteria that allow people to enter this country. It reminds me how many cultures, countries and people come together to make up this great nation, and how small this world has become with modernization. Mainly, immigration law reminds me not to take for granted how important it is to be able to communicate with people who come from different backgrounds.
Growing up in a different country than the U.S. and going through the process of immigrating myself, it gives me a lot of respect for the plight of immigrants, and what it takes to come to a new country through hardship and thrive. A big part of making that transition happen for a lot of people, come down to whether or not they can communicate.
Translating documents in Spanish, sending emails and correspondence in my second language remind me of how important a skill it is to communicate with people who speak that language. Having a second language ability opens you up to a world of other people you otherwise would not be able to connect with. That connection is what allows us to really serve the needs of these communities. It was never something I really took the time to think about, but watching it in practice has been such an eye opener. Sure, anyone can use Google translate, but there is so much more that goes into it when you can just open your mouth and speak to another person.
The more I learn about other cultures, and the better able I am to connect with the people from those other cultures, the more I feel like I am doing a good job. I may not be able to help people in French, or Arabic, but the amount of translating and client counseling I have been able to do in Spanish has made me feel so grateful that I had the opportunity to learn a second language before entering the legal field. And there is nothing stopping me from learning a third as I try to help more people with my legal career.
Knowledge and information is so important when it comes to forming connections with other people. In immigration law, so far I have been able to see how important clients’ trust in us is. It helps us motivate them to act through their trauma, and through their hardship, to make the best decisions that allow us to help them navigate the immensely complicated immigration system in this country. Working with clients is not something I have had the chance to do before, and doing it in the era of COVID-19 quarantine has been extremely difficult. It is harder to connect to other people over the phone and across a screen, but it is all the more worth while when you can do something as simple as speaking the same language.