LIU Global Student Interns at Lawyers for Human Rights in South Africa
Caitlin Kawaguchi learns about the realities of deportation
Sarah DeCamp,Associate Director of Public Relations
Caitlin Kawaguchi, a junior LIU Global student at the South Africa Center, is working with Lawyers for Human Rights, an organization that helps asylum-seekers achieve refugee status in South Africa. At the center, Kawaguchi handles the reception area, and helps clients complete the intake forms with their background information upon arrival.
The background information is then shared with lawyers prior to their consultation meetings. In this role, Kawaguchi has been able to learn a great deal about the range of problems that immigrants face–from bureaucratic challenges of applying for documentation to being victims of xenophobia, which makes everyday tasks difficult to achieve. During her internship, she has also had the opportunity to visit a detention center and conduct interviews to determine if any immigrants, who are facing deportation, had reason to fear for their life upon returning to their country of origin, and therefore would qualify for refugee status.
“It was interesting to see the way deportation and immigration is handled in other countries, and to see the disconnect between immigrants and the people who handled their fates,” said Kawaguchi. “It’s similar to what immigrants in the United States face and it really opened my eyes to their struggles. The structures are inaccessible, and that’s very problematic wherever you are in the world.”
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