Bowen Law student interns with Commission on Immigration

Salina Adolph, a concurrent student with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and the Clinton School of Public Service, completed an international public service project with the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C.

Salina Adolph, a concurrent student with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law and the Clinton School of Public Service, completed an international public service project with the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C. 

Over the summer, Adolph worked to create a comprehensive report of resources and support for immigrants in the United States who are victims of the unauthorized practice of immigration law, also known as immigration consultant fraud. This project will begin the process of providing national coordination for immigration lawyers and advocates who seek to assist immigrants who are victims of immigration consultant fraud.

“Prior to this project, I knew almost nothing about immigration consultant fraud,” Adolph said. “Through this project, I’ve been able to see that this is a widespread and complex issue. Many people who immigrate to this country are already in vulnerable positions. They have to adjust to the new culture, legal system, education system, and language in a country that is increasingly and openly anti-immigrant.”

Unfortunately, immigrants who seek legal assistance are vulnerable to fraudulent consultants.  

“This is where unauthorized, unscrupulous entities slide into the picture and commit immigration consultant fraud. Many times, people from the same ethnic communities as the individuals who are seeking legal immigration advice will offer legal immigrants advice to immigrants at much cheaper rates than attorneys, though they are not attorneys or Department of Justice-accredited representatives,” Adolph said. “Because they do not have the proper training or knowledge of immigration law, they often permanently damage their clients’ immigration cases – and in current times, the smallest mistake on a person’s immigration forms could land them in deportation proceedings.”

To create this report, Adolph spoke with immigration service providers across the country about their professional opinions of immigration consultant fraud in their geographical areas and what services, if any, are available to combat immigration consultant fraud.

Adolph is thankful to the members of the Commission on Immigration for expanding her knowledge and experience in immigration law.

“I’ve had such a great experience here almost entirely because of my incredible supervisor, Tanisha Bowens-McCatty, and the other great staff at the Commission on Immigration,” she said. “They have taken so much time to teach me about immigration policies and how to be a thoughtful, compassionate, and excellent professional. I feel very lucky to have worked under such brilliant and kind people.”

Adolph is currently working with the American Bar Association to complete her report. After her experience with the Commission on Immigration, Adolph is more committed than ever to a future in immigration law. For her capstone project, she plans to work with Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy John DiPippa to assess the legal needs of immigrants in central Arkansas.

“I knew I wanted to work in immigration law before my internship. I was already interested because I clerked at an immigration firm in Little Rock that provides deportation defense,” Adolph said. “I knew I was interested, but this really piqued my interest even more. This summer, I talked to many immigration service providers who fiercely care about upholding the due process rights of immigrants in this country, I learned so much more about immigration law and policies, and I met with detained individuals who are most directly impacted by changing immigration policies and laws. My experiences have re-invigorated an urgency in me to empower immigrants through the law. This is absolutely what I want to do.”

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