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The DePaul Migration Collaborative Seeks to Inform About Immigration, Mobility and Human Rights

The DePaul Migration Collaborative (DMC) unites alumni, students and scholars to raise awareness of the various issues involved in "migration, mobility and human rights." It is an impactful interdisciplinary initiative between DePaul's College Law and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences that supports research projects and advocacy programs with the intention of building "better public policy, stronger communities and a more just society." 

One of the DMC's most notable projects so far is the DePaul Migration Advocates (DMA), which produces videos of alumni discussing their work in immigration and migration. Law students Anna Cooper ('25) and Mecca Wilkinson ('24) recently participated in the DMA by contacting alumni, conducting intake and final interviews, and assisting with the editing process. 

Cooper wanted to study immigration law because she heard it was fulfilling work. "As a 1L, I had a specific idea of what immigration law looks like," she explains, “but the DMA taught me that it's much more diverse than I expected. I learned a lot about the different paths available to those interested in the field." 

Wilkinson, a 4L pursuing a JD/LLM in International Law, had a background in immigration before coming to DePaul Law.  She worked on her former employer's corporate social responsibility team, and she went to law school to engage in human rights on a policy and diplomacy level. With the DMA, her former background helped her lead more conversational interviews and delve deeper into topics. 

For both students, one of the best aspects of the DMA was working with DePaul's extensive law alumni network. Many DePaul alumni have gone into immigration/migration work. Talking directly with them highlighted the breadth of opportunities in this field, the importance of the work and the value of making connections—particularly in this niche area of law. They were able to learn firsthand, not just about the subject matter, but what it's like to be a practicing attorney in this area and the variety of roles available. 

One notable alumna interviewed was Rebecca Carson ('08), who served as chief of staff for the director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and as chief of the Office of Citizenship under the Obama administration. She was instrumental in creating and implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows individuals brought to the United States as children to receive a two-year deferred action from deportation. 

Cooper and Wilkinson's participation with the DMA provided them with benefits on both a personal and professional level. Cooper comments, "If you're passionate about immigration and want more exposure into the field, the DMC is a great way to do it. The people leading the project made this opportunity extremely accessible to anyone interested." 

Wilkinson praises the wider goal of DMA, which is "to create more education about what migration and immigration looks like in the U.S. from both sides—the people experiencing it and the people providing services. Putting all of this information into an easily digestible series of videos is a great way to connect with people who don't necessarily know much about migration and immigration, and students can get substantial insights into what a professional life in this field looks like."  

The experience has helped to deepen their interest but also think about how their future career paths will include immigration.  Cooper recognizes that, "It's super important work, but highly emotional, intense and constantly changing under different administrations." Though she does not see this as her future full-time occupation, she believes it is a “great first step" for anyone considering immigration law as their future career path, and she values the networking opportunities it provides. Wilkinson plans to work broadly in the international law sector, versus immigration or migration specifically, and in her words, she “might do more on the migration side. I think it's something that I'll always be touching and something that I'll always have an on eye on for sure."​