“As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) student, I hope that my experience is an inspiration to other undocumented students who feel like they don’t have any options because of their immigration status.”
Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Paula Garcia-Salazar came to the United States when she was just seven years old. Now she has turned her experience navigating the U.S. immigration system into a career.
Her four years at Macaulay, including her participation in CCNY ‘s honors pre-law program as a Skadden Fellow, set in motion Paula’s vision of becoming an international human rights lawyer. Proudly, she will be the first in her immediate family to become an attorney
To lay the groundwork for her legal career, Paula credits the Macaulay Opportunities Fund with giving her the ability to pursue an unpaid internship at the non-profit Human Rights First. While there she helped asylum seekers and other immigrants traverse the challenges and barriers of immigration law. After graduation, she will begin a two-year fellowship at Immigrant Justice Corps providing direct legal services to underserved immigrant communities in New York City.
Paula’s vision of human rights doesn’t stop at immigration. She has been actively involved in organizing with labor unions and has interned at Housing Works and the Roosevelt Institute. While at the Institute, she worked on the book Women and Girls Rising: Progress and Resistance Around the World.
While Paula has made a difference in social justice, she has also flexed her muscles on the Quidditch field. Calling them her “second family,” she says she has been on the team since her first year. She is a Horace W. Goldsmith Scholar and Lisa Goldberg/Revson Scholar.