Immigrants Rising’s Pre-Law Fund is now in its third year, and we’ve been able to connect with undocumented young people from across the country aspiring to enter the legal profession. One of those people is Paulina Ruiz, a young woman working in the intersections of both the immigrant and disabled community.
Hello, Paulina! Can you introduce yourself in your own words?
My name is Paulina Ruiz. I am an aspiring law student and a DACA recipient. I was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological condition that impacts my ability to do certain tasks. My family migrated to the U.S. when I was six years old in order to access the medical care that my condition demanded.
What’s been a driving force for you in your journey as an activist for the communities you represent?
As someone who is both disabled and undocumented, I’ve always wanted to become a lawyer in order to be my own voice and advocate for my own community. My hope is to work in estate planning, focusing on elders and people with disabilities.
And what inspired you to apply for the program?
Between my electric wheelchair breaking down earlier this year and the COVID-19 pandemic throwing everything out of alignment, I was worried I’d have to defer my law school plans for yet another year. But life has a funny way of getting you back on track: folks around me started forwarding me information about Immigrants Rising’s Pre-Law Fund. I took this as a sign—it was my chance to save my law school dream!
What are some of your takeaways from your time with the cohort of our Pre-Law Fund recipients?
The Pre-Law Fund team not only helped me strengthen my application, but it reconnected me with the immigrants rights movement. My experience has shown me that there are people who want to build community, but it’s challenging to find opportunities that meet people where they’re at.
Thank you for sharing your story with us. We’re excited to have been a respite from COVID and the challenges that marginalized communities face every day. We can’t wait to see how you’ll serve our community as a lawyer one day!