Oluwaremilekun Ojurongbe, Class of 2014
As soon as I walk into the office, I am usually greeted by a waiting room filled with clients eager to meet with the immigration attorney at Gallagher & Hansen LLP. Our clients represent countries from all over the globe, including Mali, Pakistan, Laos, and Nigeria. Though differing in terms of origin, our clients are united by the shared desire to establish a new life in the United States. Over the past couple of months, I have become very familiar with our nation’s immigration system and the filing process . At Gallagher & Hansen, we work with a variety of immigrant cases including a number of asylum applications, marriage filings, and criminal cases that are resolved in legal proceedings at Baltimore’s immigration court. Most of our clients are undocumented due to either falling out of status over time or entering the country illegally. As the undergraduate intern, I have a range of duties such as completing applications for U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), acquiring status updates from the National Visa Center (NVC), and reviewing client affidavits. However, my favorite part of the summer by far has been meeting and working with the people. During the initial consultation process, I am able to listen to their stories, which include reasons for why they want to settle in the U.S. No two cases are the same, and each client has their own journey and purpose that has led them to this country. A vital aspect of the job is to decide the best course of action for each. Some of our clients speak very little English and have little knowledge on the complexities of the law, which forces them to place an immense amount of trust on the lawyers to help them. Sadly, we often encounter clients whose trust have been betrayed in the past by fraudulent lawyers and immigration scams.
My experience at Gallagher & Hansen has made a significant impact on the way I view immigration, as well as deepened my knowledge of the system. Both sides of the political aisle can agree that our immigration system is broken and in need of some sort of reform. By actually seeing how our immigration laws work in practice, and receiving a face to the 11 million undocumented in the U.S, I have developed a greater understanding about how vital this need for comprehensive reform truly is. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with immigrants and receive a firsthand look at some of the challenges that they face. Through this experience, my passion for migrant and refugee work has been reinforced and I look forward to continue working within this field in the future.