Liberal Arts Career Services
Liberal Arts Career Services

Refugee Services of Texas

Spring 2018

Position: Immigration Legal Program Intern
Student: English Senior 

Refugee Services of Texas has many different programs all aimed at aiding the refugee, asylee, and immigrant communities of Texas. The programs include, resettlement services, economic empowerment, English language program, immigration and legal services, survivor trafficking empowerment program (STEP), community wellness, medical case management, social adjustment services, unaccompanied children (UAC), refugee youth program, Central American minors (CAM), and refugee mobile. There are internship and volunteer positions available in each of the programs that make up Refugee Services of Texas. 

My internship was in the immigration and legal services department because I am interested in working within immigration once I graduate. There are two lawyers and two legal assistants, as well as five interns. My day to day interactions are mostly with the legal assistants and the other interns. Though I do see both of the lawyers every day that I am there, when I need to know what to do or ask for help on any particular assignment I ask either of the legal assistants. Though both lawyers are also extremely helpful and have an open door policy on any inquires.

I intern three days a week and do between three to four hours each day. Though Refugee Services of Texas opens from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM, the legal immigration department starts their day at 9 AM until 5 PM. I intern Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 AM – 12/12:30 PM. When I first started all of the interns, we all have different hours depending on our course schedules, would go into a big room and we would work on inputting mail into the system or filing with the legal assistants with us to help us. Eventually we would simply go into a room and if we needed help we could go out and ask one of the legal assistants or the lawyers. My days mostly consist of filing mail, inputting cases, case notes, and pertinent information into their system. Sometimes I would be asked to interpret and I would be able to sit in client meetings. But the day to day changed depending on what cases the legal assistants were working on and what needed to be done in order for everything to be streamlined. 

Spring 2016 

Position: Immigration Services Intern
Student: Government Senior

As an Intern, I work Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. I work Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-4:30 and on Fridays 11-2. On Mondays, we work with Cuban parolees applying for employment authorization. Cubans have a special law where if they arrive here and reach dry land they are granted parole, however if they are caught in the water, they are sent back to Cuba.  As an intern, you will assist the immigration attorney with preparing the application and completing forms. 

For Cubans, you will make copies of their social security card, parole document with the Alien number front and back, Cuban passport, and a copy of their food stamps benefit letter. Then you will assist the attorney with filling out the G.28 (attorney on file with immigration) and I. 912(fee waiver, the food stamp letter is proof you qualify for the waiver. The attorney will complete the I.765, the actual application for employment authorization.  Lastly you will make copies for the office and client, and have them sign the original before getting it prepped for mailing. All applications are collected and mailed out together on Friday, post working hours.

On Wednesdays, we follow the same process with Green Card Applications I. 485 or Naturalization N.400. In between client intakes, the attorney will take in immigration consults. Interns are allowed to sit in during these meetings and learn about different policies in regards to immigration law. On Fridays, the office does not meet with clients. Interns can expect to catch up on paperwork, prep for the upcoming week and tally up receipts, and seal/stamp packages to be mailed out.  Apart from these tasks, interns will be required sort new mail, update the immigration client database, maintain client file closures, and contact United States immigration for an inquiry or case service request on an as needed basis. Mail sorting and database updates can be expected as a daily task. The intern is also left to handle the scheduling of Citizenship appointments, this includes conducting a pre screening and confirming the appointment. My internship experience has been valuable to my overall growth as a student.

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    University of Texas at Austin
    FAC 18
    2304 Whitis Ave. Stop G6200
    Austin, Texas 78712-1508