After an incredible first day with the Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights Project, our team kicked off the second day motivated, inspired, and ready to work. We attended legal trainings held by the center’s Advocacy Team who briefed us on changes to pertinent laws, legal strategies, and approaches to research. The Florence Project members have been gracious in hosting us, their enthusiastic support and guidance is encouraging and foreshadowing of an already successful week.

Following the morning’s trainings, our team received our official assignments. We spent a substantial portion of the day hard at work, collaborating with our peers and FIRRP staff members to support the center’s mission in providing free legal and social services to adults and unaccompanied children in immigration custody in Arizona. With the help of our incredible SCU supervising attorneys, both experts in immigration law, Professor Lynette Parker and Professor Evangeline Abriel are leading our team well on the way to completing an array of supportive case work.

Two of our teammates had the opportunity to shadow the Legal Orientation Program hotline, something that the rest of the team will have the opportunity to do in the upcoming days. Here is what Ruby Ramirez had to say about her experience:

“It was hard to hear from people recently detained looking for an avenue of relief. Not having the slightest idea of what stands before them. The two people I talked to were scared, confused, desperate and withdrawn if that is possible to carry all those emotions in the course of a 45 minute conversation. My DART host was calm and thorough and I was impressed how she was able to balance educating the caller and not giving false expectations. As we debriefed we talked about how the odds are stacked against new detainees and the purpose of the hotline is to give the “masses” the opportunity to get a handle of the immigration process and know that Florence Project is a resource for them.”

Having done so much already, it is hard to believe we are almost at the halfway point of this week. This program has truly exceeded our expectations and our team is grateful to the program coordinators who made this possible despite the current challenges of today’s virtual world. This experience has been eye opening, and I am so proud to play a small role in contributing Florence Project’s vision of ensuring that all immigrants facing removal have access to counsel, understand their rights under the law, and are treated fairly and humanely.

Thank you to the Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights Project!

Jackie Silva
JD Candidate 2021