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Oscar J. Barbosa, Esq. chose a career in immigration law because he’d personally experienced the process as a teen moving from Colombia to the US, spoke multiple languages, and knew he could make a difference. “Immigration is an uphill battle for many cases,” he told us. “They aren’t com­ing here to harm anyone, but the law is against them.” As an immigration attorney and as owner and founder of Diaspora Law US Immigration Firm, Barbosa and his growing team advocate for immigrants on their path to citizenship. Most of his work revolves around bringing family members from abroad and peti­tioning for them to become Green Card holders. Motivos sat with Mr. Barbosa to better understand what it takes to enter the field of immigration law.

How can you explore the field?

“If you’re interested in the field, or even just interested in poli­cies that impact immigration, get involved with organizations,” Barbosa says. At Penn State, he joined the Latino Student Asso­ciation; in law school, he was part of the student senate and helped coordinate events with other graduate schools outside his major. “Making those connections helps you broaden your mind and learn about what’s going on. If you’re interested in politics, join the Young Democrats, Young Republicans, or Young Social­ists-any organization that will give you an idea of what’s going on with the candidates and how all those pieces matter to you.”

What skills are needed to be successful in the field of law?

If you find yourself standing up for your friends, carrying their stories with you, and advocating for change, and you enjoy read­ing, writing, and logical analysis, law could be a solid career choice. Barbosa shares that those skills and “understanding how the law might apply to your client, and how you can represent them to get them to where they need to be” are crucial to being a successful attorney.

What does a lawyer do?

“Many of our clients give us a puzzle that we have to put together and present in a way that is going to be favorable for them. Obviously, if there are negative factors, we have to repre­sent those, but that’s part of the narrative that we give officers judges and asylum officers. We want to narrate the life and story of someone that deserves to be here,” offers Barbosa.

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