Los Buenos Somos Más: The Good Outnumber Us

Kristels Zamora Garcia | July 5, 2024

I am a Venezuelan immigrant who arrived in the United States in 2017, fleeing the situation in Venezuela. Back home, I was part of a group of attorneys providing free legal defense to students who were unjustly arrested during anti-government demonstrations

When I first arrived, I had nothing and started working in a warehouse, convinced I would never practice law again or be part of the legal community I was so passionate about. Four months after starting at the warehouse, I hired a private attorney to file my asylum application. Upon learning about my legal background in Venezuela, he invited me to work with him, as many Venezuelans were seeking his services.

This opportunity reignited my passion for immigration law, and I have since dedicated myself to learning and sharing knowledge about it. I created an Instagram section to update followers on immigration law, and people began reaching out to me for advice. While I always clarify that I am not a licensed attorney in the U.S. and cannot provide legal advice, I connect individuals with trusted attorneys in Southern California to help them avoid immigration scams.

Seven years after arriving in the United States, I received my citizenship and am now a member of the legal team at CWS Orange County. Earlier this year, I was accepted into Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, one of the most prestigious law schools in the area, and I am currently pursuing my Master of Law and plan to take the California Bar Exam in 2025. I also serve on the board of the Immigration Law Society at Loyola Law School and actively work to combat misinformation about immigration law within the Venezuelan community.

Recently, in a meeting with Chris Williams, Chief of the Policy and Programs Section at the California Department of Social Services, I learned that many Venezuelan parolees in Southern California were eligible for benefits but were not applying due to fears of affecting their sponsors. Outside of my work at CWS, I collaborated with him to address these concerns and started sharing information on social media about the available benefits. With his authorization, I connect Venezuelan families with him to ensure they receive the support they are entitled to.

At CWS Southern California, we currently do not have a dedicated program for providing legal services to Venezuelans. To address this gap, we have started a fee-for-service program to serve various nationalities at a low cost.

I am committed to highlighting the achievements of good people and success stories like mine, which I continue to build every day. I know many individuals striving to make a positive impact, just like I am.

Kristels Zamora Garcia is a Senior Paralegal with CWS Orange County. To learn more about the CWS Orange County’s Immigration Legal Services work, click here.