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Natalia Faras ’17 is helping Capital Region-area immigrants reach lawful status in the United States through Albany Law School’s
Immigration Law Clinic. This year she arranged for students at the University at Albany, her alma mater, to act as interpreters or translators for the immigrant clients.
“Our clients are people who can be detained, abused, kept from working, and prevented from entering the social and economic systems that we all take for granted,” Faras said.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Faras’ first language is Polish — and since her enrollment at Albany Law, she has been committed to helping immigrants so that they can reach their goals and have better lives for themselves and their families.
Faras continues to pursue a possible career in immigration law and has been accepted into a summer fellowship. She will be working at Yale University, in both the Immigration Clinic and the Sol and Lillian Goldman Family Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic.
Having almost fully completed her
3+3 program with University at Albany and Albany Law, Faras has remained a strong supporter of immigrant rights. As a 3+3 student, she was able to complete three years of study at UAlbany, graduating with bachelor’s degrees in both Criminal Justice and Sociology. Faras then became a 1L at Albany Law during what would have been her senior year at UAlbany.
Through the Immigration Law Clinic at Albany Law School, Faras provides direct representation to both detained and non-detained immigrants, including immigrant victims of domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Participation in the Clinic prompted Faras
to create Project Totem, the translation program with UAlbany.
To launch Project Totem, Faras made many visits to the University at Albany and presented the project to classes of over 100 students. She then interviewed candidates and performed mock phone calls to interpret simulated client calls.
The role of the UAlbany students is essential, Faras said.
“Without them we couldn’t help our clients at all," she said. "And [the clients] are grateful for the help we are giving them.”
Overall, Project Totem continues to grow. Faras and Albany Law are already recruiting for the fall 2016 semester.
Faras continues to pursue a possible career in immigration law and has been accepted into a summer fellowship. She will be working at Yale University, in both the Immigration Clinic and the Sol and Lillian Goldman Family Advocacy for Children and Youth Clinic. Faras will be in charge of handling the cases for those two clinics, over the course of three months, and will be litigating in the federal court, appellate court, and family court for youth and children.