Spotlight on 2012 Grantee, Luis Salas

Luis Salas was born in Hermosillo, Sonora (Mexico) and has been a resident of Tucson, Arizona for 18 years. He attended the University of Arizona as an undergraduate. This summer he is working at Immigration Equality.

Why did you choose law school, and why USF in particular?

I chose to apply to law school because I had always been interested in working with immigration issues (pro immigrant reforms) because of the fact that my family and I are immigrants and because I spent so much time living near the border inArizona. I also liked the idea that lawyers, through their training, have tangible skills that can be applied for social change. Some of the salient reasons why I chose to go to USF are its emphasis on public interest training, its commitment to having students for a wide range of backgrounds and its location in a thriving center for law, social change and cultural activities.

What kind of work did you do this summer or what type of projects did you work on?

Immigration Equality is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free immigration services to LGBTI and HIV+ clients. I am helping represent clients with immigration defense claims, particularly with affirmative asylum petitions and defensive asylum claims.

What do you find most inspiring about the work you are doing or the organization you are working for?

The most inspiring thing about the work I am involved in is the clients. Because they are of LGBTI background and they often come from countries that are violently opposed to people with such characteristics, our clients demonstrate a lot of courage by living their life openly and having the wherewithal to come to the United States for legal assistance against persecution and at the same time speak out against human rights violations.

What would you like to do following law school?

After completing law school, I would ideally like to work as an immigration defense attorney in the legal services and impact litigation branches. Further, I would like to spend time working with underrepresented communities in Arizona and promote policy reform that is more germane to the interests of Latinos in that state.

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