Monday, October 17

Intern, Vermont Immigration and Asylum Associates (VIAA)

Grant Recipient: Helen DeKorne ‘12

Major: History, French

Organization: Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates (VIAA)

Location: Burlington, VT

This summer I am interning at Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates, an organization that provides free legal services to refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants. About 350 refugees are resettled in Burlington every year and many more pass through Vermont hoping to make it Canada. I am learning just how complicated the process of applying for asylum can be and how flawed the United States immigration policies are. I am also learning how much difference a very small organization of just two full-time employees can make. Once a week we drive up to the Clinton County Jail in Plattsburg, NY where we meet with and provide legal assistance to individuals picked up by ICE and detained for lacking the correct immigration papers. We run a legal clinic in the evening to help families apply for naturalization and I am helping to organize a conference for service providers who work with survivors of torture. I am also learning how to apply for grants and the incredible amount of work it takes to keep a non-profit running. I love this internship, not only because I am learning so much about the workings of immigration law, but mainly because of the amazingly strong people I am getting to meet every day. Thank you so much CRC for this opportunity!