Clinton School student Salina Adolph recently concluded her summer International Public Service Project with the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C. A concurrent Juris Doctor student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Adolph worked closely with the ABA’s Commission on Immigration.
“Prior to this project I knew almost nothing about immigration consultant fraud,” Adolph said. “Through this project, I’ve been able to see that this is a widespread and complex issue.”
A graduate of John Brown University, Adolph worked to create a comprehensive report of resources and support for immigrants in the United States who are victims of the unauthorized practice of immigration law, also known as immigration consultant fraud. The report also identifies the gaps in meeting the needs of people who experience this fraud based on the availability of services across the country.
“I talked to so many people, some of whom are the directors of different international and national programs, as well as attorneys and Department of Justice accredited representatives who work in local nonprofits,” Adolph said. “I have also spoken with private attorneys, attorneys in the offices of various state attorney generals, and immigration service providers who are part of committees and state bars across the country.”
This project will begin the process of providing national coordination for immigration lawyers and advocates who seek to assist immigrants who are victims of the unauthorized practice of immigration law.
Prior to this summer, her work experience included a clerkship at the Monterrey Law Firm, an immigration and criminal law firm in Central Arkansas. She credits her classes at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law and the Clinton School of Public Service with helping prepare her for this summer’s work.
“I think my law courses helped me understand the legal language,” she said. “Also, so much of the work I’ve done has been related to Dr. Bavon’s class. I would not have known how to assess needs without that class.”
What has your work been like this summer?
I worked every day from the ABA. Since my project was to gather the perspectives of immigration service providers on this issue of unauthorized immigration consultant fraud, I spent the early part of the summer reaching out to people, trying to recruit them to talk to me and share their perspectives of what’s going on with this issue in their state. Then I would actually conduct the interviews, some over the phone and some in-person. For the past three weeks I’ve been analyzing the conversations and drafting the report.
Has this experience had an impact on how you plan to pursue your law career?
I knew I wanted to work in immigration law before my internship. I was already interested because I clerked at an immigration firm in Little Rock that provides deportation defense. I knew I was interested, but this really piqued my interest even more. This summer, I talked to many immigration service providers in various capacities across the country, learned so much more about immigration law and policies, and met with detained individuals who are directly impacted by these policies. My experiences have made me realize that this is absolutely what I want to do.
How has the ABA staff been in helping you with your work?
I’ve had such a great experience here almost entirely because of my incredible supervisor, Tanisha Bowens-McCatty, and the other great staff at the Commission on Immigration. They have taken so much time to teach me about immigration policies and how to be a thoughtful, compassionate, and excellent professional.
They’ve also patiently answered all of my questions about immigration-related everything, and they’ve been so intentional about creating and inviting me to experiences that I would have never been able to be part of otherwise. I feel very lucky to have worked under such brilliant and kind people.
Definitely. I’m going to clerk again with the Monterrey Law Firm, and I’m working with Dean DiPippa for my Capstone to assess the legal needs of immigrants in Central Arkansas. I feel like it all coincides.