Student Spotlight: Lisette Candia Diaz, Senior at Harvard College

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Lisette Candia Diaz is a senior at Harvard College. She currently serves as director of Act on a Dream, Harvard College’s immigration advocacy organization.

I spent this summer with the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic. My entire undergraduate career at Harvard College has revolved around grand philosophical questions of citizenship. I have grappled with questions like what makes a citizen a citizen? What is a citizen? How does one acquire citizenship status? Is there even a single citizenship status? While I continue to grapple with these questions I have a very personal interest in immigration in general. My family emigrated from Chile about 15 years ago. This of course, pushes immigration law into the forefront of my everyday life.

Being very involved in immigration as an activist, I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to directly help people navigate the immigration system in the United States.  The majority of the people seeking the Clinic’s help are those who are seeking asylum in the United States.  The asylum process involves many hours of client meetings during which an affidavit is crafted. I got to meet and interpret in many of these client meetings. This was by far my favorite part of my experience with the Clinic.

Through these client meetings I was able to meet some of the most courageous and humble people I have ever met. The clients that I interpreted for this summer were incredibly inspiring. Hearing their stories and getting to know them as individuals and seeing how despite their past, they were still fighting for a better future motivated me to be a stronger person. It also reminded me of the importance of this line of immigration work.  I am really grateful for my opportunity to work with the Clinic.