TU students named DOJ interns

Caleb Overstreet understands something about immigration.
He will further that knowledge about immigration issues when he joins the Department of Justice Attorney General’s Honors Program next year.
Overstreet, a third year student at the University of Tulsa College of Law has lived in foreign countries and has seen issues that cause people to want to leave their native land.
Add to that his experience at the immigration court in San Diego this year, and he has a knowledge that can be readily applied after graduation and passing the Oklahoma Bar exam in 2010.
Overstreet will rejoin the Executive Office for Immigration Review where he will work for two years.
He first applied to the Department of Justice for an internship in 2009. ‘‘I obtained an online application, submitted a resume, grades and references. I was fortunate enough to be accepted at that time.’’
Overstreet found himself working with a lot of people from Iraq and Somalia who had fled their native land.
Now, he is one of 30 law students in the nation to be accepted into the honors program. A classmate, John Christiansen, also will be joining the DOJ, but has not yet been assigned to his work area.
Outside influences developed his interest in immigration work.
He worked for the Colorado Immigration Service at that state’s legal aid office.
During his first year as a TU law student, he worked at Catholic Charities immigration program and later in the Immigrant Rights Project at TU’s Boesche Legal Clinic.
Overstreet got a real taste of immigration legal work at the legal clinic where he was part of a team that helped a man get asylum in the U.S.
He recalled the case that involved a client from India. The man, a Catholic was doing work for the church and was attacked by a Hindu mob. The man was stoned because of his religious beliefs and injuries included the loss of sight in one eye. Friends helped him escape.
A Tulsa firm helped prepare the documents. The Boeshe Clinic team flew to Houston to argue the case. The reason was that if he returned to his native land that he would be killed.
The client was granted asylum.
His first immigration experience was working for the U.S. Embassy in Honduras where he gained an appreciation of being an American and the opportunities that he had.
It really is something unique to have job that allows a person to see what they have as a U.S. citizen while others are seeking asylum trying to get into this country.
During the next two years Overstreet will be in what he considers the best position possible to learn immigration law.
He hopes to be part of immigration reform and feels that neither side is particularly happy with the current law.
Even though other law schools might have been considered, his mother Jane Diggs Overstreet nudged her son to the school where she earned her law degree in December 1979.
Overstreet was born in Cyprus to missionary parents. They would travel to various countries, exposing their son to a variety of cultures.
When the internship ends Overstreet is looking at the possibility of public service work.
Because his family traveled, he attended schools in many parts of the world.
One school was in Washington, D.C. where he was sponsored by Sen. John Ashcroft to work in the senate.
Ashcroft later became attorney general during the Bush Administration.
‘‘I was 18 years-old. My job was to answer telephone and give tours to constituents. But I got a chance to look at public service and see how the law making process starts.’’
That experience that summer triggered the consideration for public service.



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