I was born in Ukraine and immigrated to the U.S. as a child and I’ve spent most of my life in the Chicago area, where I advocated for the rights of immigrant communities. Prior to law school, I worked on immigration casework for the Office of Congressman Bill Foster, as well as immigration legislation for the Office of Senator Tammy Duckworth. My own experience navigating our country’s complex immigration system inspired me to come to Berkeley Law and do Pro Bono work. At Berkeley Law, I have been able to use my privilege as a law student to spark change and advocate for marginalized communities.
As a member of the California Asylum Representation Clinic (CARC), I’ve conducted interviews with clients to help draft their declarations for asylum and prepared clients for interviews with immigration officers. As an interpreter, I’ve helped clients understand their rights and have learned about their immigration experiences. CARC has given me the amazing opportunity to work with like-minded students on real cases since my first semester of law school. My favorite part about doing this work is building trust with clients and hearing them when they talk about their stories, which has greatly expanded my worldview.
Being a member of the California Asylum Representation Clinic has been an incredibly grounding and rewarding experience alongside the 1L curriculum. I am thrilled to now be a Pro Bono Student Leader and serve as CARC’s training coordinator this upcoming year. In this role I hope to help other students learn about trauma-informed strategies to help asylum seekers fleeing persecution.
I am very passionate about expanding pathways to citizenship for asylum seekers and undocumented youth. Participating in Pro Bono has allowed me to give back to the immigrant community and use my education to make a meaningful difference in other people’s lives.
Taiya Tkachuk, ’24