Stories of Change

Jaime Iniguez sharing his story

“I’m Your Immigrant Brother”

Several months ago, Jaime Iniguez, an HSPRS Case Worker at CWS Northern California, was at the airport checking his bags when he experienced a serendipitous moment. “I noticed an individual who was having a hard time communicating with airport staff,” he told us. Jaime, who is bilingual in both English and Spanish, stepped in and helped the young man who he learned had recently arrived from Venezuela and didn’t have enough money to buy his next flight. In him, Jaime saw the clients he serves at CWS and was committed to helping him get where he needed to be.

After some minutes of translating and explaining to the airport staff what was happening and why the young man was there, the lady behind the counter left. When she returned she handed the gentleman $200 in cash so that he could buy his ticket. “The moment of humanity was overwhelming,” Jaime said. “That’s why I do what I do; I help strangers be able to reach their full potential.”

The same desire to help that drove Jaime to step in at the airport is what moved him to apply for a job at CWS this past May. He remembers how he felt watching the news during the Trump administration and shared, “It really hurt me to see the separation of these children and to know that there are still children who were separated during those days and still have not been reunited. So I thought, what better than to become part of an organization that is focused on helping and providing humanitarian assistance to people in the most dire need.”

Jaime has a strong background in mental health and social services and builds trust with his clients by first acknowledging their trauma. He explained that to do this, he has to wear many hats as a detective, therapist, protector and guardian. As an immigrant himself, Jaime is able to connect and sympathize with his clients on a deeper level. He said that regardless of where they are from, he tells them, “I’m your immigrant brother, and I can relate to what you’re going through.”

At the core of Jaime’s identity is a deep compassion and empathy for others. He shared that the most rewarding part of his job is the constant gratitude he not only receives but also feels by being able to put his own life into perspective. He added, “Doing little can be so much. It gives you a good feeling.”

Whether it’s at an airport helping a stranger or in his office assisting one of his clients, Jaime’s days are full of little moments that generate a big and lasting impact.

You can learn more about the work Jaime and his colleagues do on the Children Services team by clicking here.