Interview for

Carmen Kcomt

11/11/2020

Interviewed By:

Uma Menon

Date Interviewed:

Audio Recording of Interview
00:00 / 1:00:03
Summary

An immigrant from Peru, Carmen describes being a lawyer and judge in the Superior Court before migrating to protect herself and her children from political backlash. She recounts her experience as an undocumented immigrant in the United States prior to being granted asylum, the changes she made in her career, and her hopes for policy surrounding asylum-seeking and immigration moving forward.

Transcript
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Additional Notes
Outline

Narrator: Carmen Kcomt

Date: November 11, 2020

Location: California (Virtual)


Content Warning: Descriptions of mental health.

Summary:An immigrant from Peru, Carmen describes being a lawyer and judge in the Superior Court before migrating to protect herself and her children from political backlash. She recounts her experience as an undocumented immigrant in the United States prior to being granted asylum, the changes she made in her career, and her hopes for policy surrounding asylum-seeking and immigration moving forward.

Topics: Family, Religion, Education, Career, Gender, Politics, Cultural adjustment, Spirituality, Discrimination, Asylum-Seeker, Undocumented Immigration, Immigration Process, Future, Pandemic


Outline

Section 1: 0:00-10:05

  • Family - Born in Peru, but grandparents were refugees from China.

  • Religion, Education - Attended Catholic schools throughout her life, and even for law school.

  • Career - Became a lawyer around the age of 22 or 23.

  • Gender - One of very few women in the profession, so she was taken less seriously by others.

  • Career - Appointed as the youngest judge and worked at the Superior Court for 10 years.

  • Appreciated the opportunity to influence change that helped others.

Section 2: 10:05-31:30

  • Career, Politics - As a judge, she ordered the Peruvian President to do something that he didn’t want to do. Experienced backlash and felt unsafe.

  • Family - As a mother, she felt responsible to migrate to protect her children.

  • Cultural adjustment - Did not know English and could not practice law in the US.

  • Asylum-Seeker - Was able to get access to more services than other people because of status as a judge.

  • Received services through Survivors of Torture International, where she volunteered, and Casa Cornelia Law Center.

  • Undocumented Immigration - Took four years to get asylum, and went through many struggles during that time being undocumented.

  • Career - Helped to start a center for domestic violence victims at the organization she was working at and helped around 190 victims of trafficking.

Section 3: 31:30-40:22

  • Religion - Grew up in a Catholic family and attended Catholic schools throughout her life, but does not currently practice.

  • Spirituality - Lives by the principle of helping and serving others.

  • Cultural adjustment, Discrimination- Life in Peru was quite similar to America, but she often experienced racial profiling.

  • Discrimination, Immigration Process - Experienced discrimination in the immigration court system, where she did not feel treated fairly by the judge.

Section 4: 40:22-51:54

  • Future, Politics, Discrimination - Bothered by the injustices and human rights violations in the American immigration system and racial injustice.

  • Pandemic, Immigration Process - Even more difficult to seek asylum during the pandemic.

Section 5: 51:54-59:58

  • Future, Politics, Discrimination - Hopes that with the Biden Administration, asylum process will be more in line with human rights.

  • Future - Hopes to see equality and respect for all human beings moving forward.

  • Family - Empowered and energized by her three sons as well as her past experiences.