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As my experience in Miami nears its end and as this is my final blog post I begin to reflect on the beliefs I held towards the legal system prior to my trip and the new impressions it has made on me and my future.

I had strongly considered becoming an immigration lawyer, this was something that I fought because I never wanted to be a lawyer, but as my sophomore year at Duke University went on and as I developed more experience and knowledge in immigration beyond what had affected my family, I developed the same anger that I had towards the education system. An anger that allowed me to work hard and get into Duke in the first place. This summer I went into this program wanting to seek my truth. And I found it–I think.

The truth I sought was a truth that demonstrated that this is not something that I want to do. I cannot become an immigration lawyer. There is nothing wrong with the career itself. However, in my time here I have seen many things that have disillusioned me. The ability to step away from a case, one in which I could impact the life and safety of a client and then somehow walk away from it is not something I can do. And I don’t think I want to learn how to do it either. To me, it seems almost cold, but to the lawyers, I know that it’s a way of not allowing their work to depress them. Another component of this is simply how after meeting people once or twice I felt as if I had to do everything in my path to do the best for them, and when I or others did anything less than, I felt that disappointment. That is not healthy, and I recognize that.

This blog post was originally going to be one that criticizes the legal system. Of how the quote WE WHO LABOR HERE SEEK ONLY THE TRUTH sits in the back of a children’s court but how the longer I sat and stared at it, the less I liked it. And it still can be. I can still be angry at the fact that I, someone who lives by the creed, “If something can be destroyed by the truth, it should be,” recognize that truth should not be romanticized in such a manner that it is prioritized over the lives and safety of people. Many of those presenting themselves before a judge should not simply be looked at as if they are credible or not, instead they should be considered as human beings, and the judges should seek their safety, not their truth.

I think that’s another factor that would never allow me to become a lawyer. I could never prioritize someone’s truth over their security. Or at least I would like to think that I can’t. The lawyers that I have had the pleasure of working with have been incredible people that do as much work as they can. They are swamped with work and often, they could do it elsewhere for a higher pay. But they are sworn to certain rules and laws that force them to prioritize truth over safety.

Every journey that Duke has taken me on thus far has helped me. At times, they helped me decide whether or not an idea or a career path was worth pursuing. This program has helped with that. Although I’d never want to be an immigration lawyer, I’ll never stop being a pragmatic activist towards immigration reform. This summer, coupled with the anger I have felt towards the administration, has demonstrated that I still want to do anything I can to help others. Immigration law just isn’t it. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t take a lot of lessons away from this summer.