After an information filled Monday and Tuesday, our small group of 5 connected in the morning to check in with our two supervisors. At this time, another student and I shared our experiences and opinions on the hotline shadowing shift. We both commented about how helpful and informative it was to see attorneys efficiently conduct a client intake and our candid conversations we had with them about their jobs and experiences. I felt very comfortable sharing my thoughts on my shadowing experience because Professor Abriel and Professor Parker fostered a safe space by being very attentive and responsive with our thoughts and feedback with our experience with The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project so far.

We then moved onto a session with Valentina Restrepo-Montoya, an attorney at the Florence Project, where she discussed the Franco protections afforded to immigrants suffering from severe mental illness. I personally thought this was a great session because Valentina was very passionate about her work and that in turn made me very passionate about the topic she discussed. One big takeaway was how these protections are not afforded to immigrants suffering from severe mental illness in every state within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.

Except for two people who were shadowing attorneys during the hotline, the rest of us focused on working on our assignments. I personally found this part of the week to be my favorite. I spoke with the client’s sponsor and used that information for the parole request I was working on. Luckily, my work did not start from scratch since there were templates provided to us by the Florence Project. I would have been lost if I had to start everything from the very beginning!

After a break, the team came together to have dinner after Professor Abriel kindly sent us gift cards for DoorDash. We again reflected on our day and week so far. This also was a bonding experience since we were not having as many of these types of interactions given to the remote setting of this year’s Spring Break Immigration Project. Overall, it was a great and productive day and I cannot wait for tomorrow!

David Cruz Quevedo
JD Candidate 2022