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History Prepared Nayeon Kim for Immigrant Advocacy Work

Nayeon Kim 2I am working as a legal assistant in a non-profit called Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, TX through Border Servant Corps. I do asylum casework, so I am constantly traveling between the detention center, court, and the office. My favorite thing about my job is that in a way, I get to be a writer, a detective, a researcher, a journalist, and an activist all at once. My experience studying history definitely strengthens my capacities for critical thinking, strategic investigation, and conscientiousness in my tasks. I concentrated on the Latin American region for most of my four years, so the knowledge I gained in college allows me to contextualize the multi-ethnic and globally reaching interactions I have every day and listen to our clients’ narratives with cultural sensitivity. My least favorite thing about my job is having to turn asylum seekers down, since non-profit work entails limited resources, and sadly there are too many people in need. As a result, I have been learning about immigration through a systemic framework, and am consequently learning a lot about politics and policy in conjunction with law.What’s unique about this place is that it is situated right on the Mexican border, so I can see into Ciudad Juarez from Mexico. On my daily bicycle commute, I observe the juxtaposition of developed streets and extensive poverty on either side of the fence, which serves as a regular reminder of the oppression upon which many foundations of Mexican society were built. At the same time, there is a distinct beauty about the fluidity of the two cultures, which borrow from each other, intermingle, and adapt. Fronteriza culture is vivid, poetic, resilient, and enchanting. I am looking forward to allthat I will learn throughout the rest of this service year, and I hope to attend law school in the future.