UNM School of Law Introduces its Inaugural Border Justice Externs

May 1, 2020

The UNM School of Law’s Border Justice Initiative has selected Annie Swift and Jorge Rodriguez as the inaugural externs for the summer 2020 program.

 Jorge Rodriguez

Photograph courtesy of Jorge Rodriguez

Jorge Rodriguez is the grandson of Braceros and immigrants. He comes from Salem, a small colonia in southern New Mexico, and worked the surrounding agricultural fields and processing plants until he was 24 years old. As a first-generation college student, he feels he owes his success to his family, community, and mentors. “I am grateful to be a law student and have the opportunity to become a lawyer. I owe it to my community and family to advocate for every person to live with dignity and respect,” he adds. Rodriguez plans on continuing to be involved with the Border Justice Initiative as he is passionate about this field of law.

Annie Swift

Photograph courtesy of Annie Swift

Annie Swift is a third-year law student at UNM School of Law. Prior to law school, she worked at a local immigration firm for several years, drafting legal arguments for family-based permanent residency petitions and humanitarian visa applications. During that time, she provided direct services for hundreds of clients and continued to translate for the firm while living in Brazil between 2015 to 2017. While working as a Border Justice Fellow, she drafted model asylum application briefs to preserve issues for appeal. She also compiled country condition information to support asylum applications from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Working under the supervision of Law School faculty and alumni, the Border Justice externs will have the opportunity to work with individuals seeking immigration support services at the US-Mexico border. As part of their externships, Annie and Jorge will provide informed research and creative analytical arguments to counter outdated immigration policies that have severely impacted the movement and lives of individuals seeking asylum. The externs will also work in collaboration with nonprofit partner Las Americas Immigrant Center to provide services to women seeking asylum from domestic and gang violence in Guatemala and El Salvador.  

To learn more about the Border Justice Initiative or get in touch with the BJI team, email borderjustice@law.unm.edu.