As a practitioner of immigration law, Douglas Interiano (’08 BA, Spanish) knows the complexities of the U.S. immigration system. But it is his firsthand experience as an undocumented immigrant that motivates him to help thousands of families each year.
“I know what it is like to be undocumented, to experience a lack of help while navigating a very difficult legal system,” he says.
Interiano founded Proyecto Inmigrante ICS Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Dallas-Fort Worth that offers legal counseling, educational resources, and translation services to individuals and families seeking a home in the United States. In 2014, he partnered with his former Spanish professor, Alicia Rita Rueda-Acedo, director of UTA’s Spanish Translation and Interpreting program, to expand Proyecto Inmigrante’s services.
From 2014 to 2020, students in Dr. Rueda-Acedo’s Business and Legal Translation class donated more than 3,300 hours translating more than 3,000 documents for submission to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In addition to the experience gained, many students have received internships with the organization, and a few have become full-time employees.
“I was able to get out of the shadows,” Interiano says. “Now I am committed to serve, inform, and represent low-income families. My only purpose is to help them navigate this complex system.”