University of Minnesota
Immigration History Research Center

Immigration History Research Center's home page.

Internship & Career

Contact the IHRC directors about possible student internships at the IHRC during the summer or academic year. See also

Other Specific Opportunities

Students with interests in immigration will find a wide range of internships and ultimately even careers open to them. Jobs with the US Border Patrol or work as an immigration lawyer engage very different dimensions of U.S. immigration policy in practice. Together with immigration rights advocates, workers in immigrant community centers and academic researchers represent just the tip of a veritable iceberg of job and internship possibilities in this field.

With so many options, the most important factor in searching for a job or internship related to immigration is to target your own personal interests. We can’t maintain a comprehensive list of internships on this website, but we can call your attention to an interesting selection of options, especially local ones.

If you’re thinking about careers, first consider these options:                

  • Immigration Law and Paralegal Work
  • The US Border Patrol
  • Federal and State Government Agencies, such as Customs and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • Scholarship and/ or Archival and Library Work (explore the webpage of the IHRC!)
  • Immigration Specialists for Corporate Human Resources. (Large companies often have people who specialize in the field, to keep up on the status of their employees and help them attain visas, green cards, etc…)
  • Immigrant Document Specialist
  • Immigration Community and Cultural Centers
  • Immigration Heritage Centers
  • The list goes on…

Internships can be found in most of these fields as well. Students should always consider the following details when considering internships:

  • Where is the internship? (If it is not nearby, does it provide room and board, or do you even want to have an internship in that region?)
  • What is the time commitment?
  • Does the internship pay? (Some do and some don’t, and if they are very time consuming and don’t pay, it might not be worth it if they interfere with getting other paying jobs)
  • Is the internship compatible with your academic institution so that you can get course credit for your work? (Sometimes this can be enough to offset costs, and sometimes you can negotiate this with a professor and the internship employers to make it for credit)
  • What is it that you are ACTUALLY going to be doing? (Are you actually going to be helping in a meaningful way or just serving as a gopher in the office?)

The answers to these questions and how you value them come down to personal preferences and goals. Sometimes really great internships can be unpaid but great job experience, while others can pay you to be an office gopher. Weigh all the options; there are a lot of opportunities out there.

Searching for an internship is easy. As this article was being written, many valuable options popped up in a simple Google Search: e.g. at the University of Minnesota in the Dept. of Chicano studies. The US Dept of Justice also has internships available ( Internship listings can also be found for humanitarian organizations, such as the one at “Raise your voice – Student Action for Change” ( Many universities and colleges have internship programs available, so always do a quick search first of your own institution’s website. Your professors can also be a great source of information. They receive information on internships and are happy to pass them along to interested students.

Here is a list of internship opportunities from IHRC affiliates:

  • Friends of the Mississippi River is seeking a bilingual English/Somali intern to assist with community outreach and environmental programming in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in September and October 2012.  The internship involves a total of about 30-35 hours of work over six weeks, for a $300.00 stipend. Youth and young adults, especially those with a connection to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, are particularly encouraged to apply!  Send cover letter and resume to Katie Clower at by Friday August 24, 2012.
  • The University of Minnesota: Career and Community Learning Center in the College of Liberal Arts
  • The University of Minnesota: Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts
  • Cedar Riverside Education Collaborative. The CREC helps adult refugees and immigration who have had little or no formal education to learn English. Contact John Morson, 612-721-4052 or
  • Chicanos Latinos Unidos en Servicio (CLUES) is a leading provider of a continuum of linguistically and culturally appropriate service for the Chicano-Latino community. A variety of services are offered in the five core areas of Mental Health, Chemical Health, Employment, Education, and Elder Wellness. CLUES is looking for student volunteers to help with teaching ESL, citizenship and computing classes for adults learners. Contact Melissa Ganshery, 612-746-3552 x2700
  • Dugsi Project, U of MN and South Minneapolis. The Dugsi program focuses on helping Somali youth become acquainted with academic preparation. The tutoring curriculum includes academic reading and writing, the college application process, study skills and cultural exchange. The Dugasi project is looking for students interested in becoming one-on-one tutors and offers a wide variety of options. Contact Margaret Delehanty Kelly, 612-625-4046 or FFI: visit the Dugsi Project’s website at www.gen.umn/programs/cs/dugsi/default.htm
  • English Learning Center, Phillips & Powerhorn Neighborhoods, South Minneapolis. The purpose of the English Learning Center’s Adult Program is to provide English, math and computer skills and advocacy to immigrants and refugees and to help the immigrant and refugee population in the Phillips Neighborhood and the surrounding area to attain self-determination through leadership development and empowerment. The purpose of the English Learning Center’s Children’s Program is twofold: to promote literacy and English fluency through a language program geared specifically towards immigrant and refugee youth and to provide free educational enrichment for the children of families attending the English Learning Center’s Adult Program. The ELC is looking for students to make a one semester commitment, who are majoring or preparing to go into education, foreign languages, psychology or sociology. The ELC is looking for volunteers throughout its organization. Contact Nicole Medrano, Adult Program Coordinator at 612-874-9963 or Jen van Horne, Children’s Program Director at 612-827-6926.
  • Franklin Learning Center, Phillips Neighborhood, South Minneapolis. Franklin Learning Center is an adult literacy center located in the Franklin Library. Tutors provide one-to-one or small group instruction to adults in English as a Second Language, US Citizenship, and GED classes. Tutors can also teach students about using computers. Adult learners are from over 25 countries, and some are Native English speakers. This is a great opportunity to help others who are highly motivated and looking forward to working with you. There are two teachers available to answer your questions and help you feel at ease. The center is open Mondays and Thursdays from 1:00pm to 8:30pm, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00am to 5:30pm. Tutors are asked to volunteer about 2 hours per week. ContactNancy Thornbury, 612-630-6830 or
  • Jane Addams School for Democracy. Jane Addams School is an initiative in democratic education created by residents of St. Paul’s West Side neighborhood, staff of the Neighborhood House, and students and faculty from the College of St. Catherine, the University of Minnesota and the Humphrey Institute. JASD’s philosophy is that “everyone is a teacher and a learner.” Their mission is to free and cultivate the talents, cultures, and interests of ordinary people of diverse backgrounds and traditions, in order to add their energy and wisdomto the common public wealth. The JASD is looking for students to become part of the cross cultural exchanges they facilitate. Contact Derek Johnson, 651-789-2531 or