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Rising Stars: Meet Karla Can

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karla Can.

Hi Karla, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA and my parents are from the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. My parents immigrated to this country at a young age to seek a better life and opportunities. Immigration has always been a key piece in my life as my parents are immigrants as well as other family members. I didn’t know much of what it meant but I know there was a sense of fear amongst my family anytime this topic would surface.

I was the first in my family to attend a four years university and to this day, I remember my political science professor sharing that a common question he is asked is how one can find their passion. He simply said, whatever upsets you is a starting point to find one’s calling. I knew I wanted to do something in my life that would help people and immigration has always been near and dear to my heart. After I graduated, I came back to Santa Barbara and saw an amazing opportunity to volunteer for a center called Immigrant Hope Santa Barbara. I saw their flyer at my church one Sunday morning and was captivated by the name. Lo and behold, God had a different calling for my life. He had fulfilled my passion because I can help people with their immigration concerns by providing legal services to them. Looking back to where the seed was planted and now serving my community as the Legal Director is a testimony that I get to share with others. I love what I do. There is so much need out there and I want to be a part of someone’s life to bring awareness to this topic and no longer live in fear like my family once did.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Smooth is the opposite of this journey. At one point, I was juggling three jobs and it was difficult to carry a caseload while continuing my training. Time kept slipping away with the feeling of being stuck at times and not being able to overcome the difficult situations. There were many times that I set excuses and mental roadblocks because I feared the unknown or didn’t feel like I was competent enough to represent my clients to immigration. However, what kept me going is the fact that it was not a coincidence that I was here. Through this journey, I believe that God has equipped me and has never forsaken me. He has always shown me that He’s got me and I have definitely been molded for the best through the challenges.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am able to provide low-cost legal immigration services under the nonprofit organization to our community. I can represent and prepare our clients to USCIS and other immigration-related agencies since the U.S. Department of Justice has authorized us to do so through the accreditation program that is in place. The only individuals that can practice immigration law are attorneys and accredited representatives under an accredited center, which Immigrant Hope falls under. Recently, I am proud to share that I became fully accredited, which means that I can now represent clients in their pending immigration court hearings. This means that our services have expanded recently as there is so much need for representation in court. Along with that, as the legal director, I am currently working with other individuals to equip them to become accredited representatives as well.

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Being surrounded by family has always been the best childhood memories for me. It was difficult to have everyone together in one place so when Christmas or Thanksgiving came around, everyone knew where to come to celebrate as a giant family that we are.


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Law Office of Vanessa Frank

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