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Archived from our former blog, The Beacon.

Veteran and USCIS Asylum Officer Danny Phillips

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Danny Phillips is currently an Asylum Officer with the USCIS Houston Asylum Office. The following was written by Danny and details his military service:
The military is what got me to where I am. I was a high school drop-out. I never considered college as an option because it just was not something that people in my family did. I had always been interested in the military and with no high school diploma the Army was the only branch that was interested in me, so I signed up. Almost immediately I was told that I would have to get my GED to stay in the Army. Next I was told that I could get promotion points by taking college courses, so I started taking random courses from University of Maryland which offers classes on most Army bases. In 1996, while in Bosnia, I got a letter from UofM stating that I had earned an Associate in Arts in General Subjects. It wasn’t much, but it made me realize that I was capable of more than I had considered. I set a goal of obtaining a baccalaureate degree, but had no idea what to major in. 

Danny Phillips at the “Great Ziggurat of Ur” ruins of the ancient Sumerian City of Ur near An-Naziriya, Iraq
Danny Phillips at the “Great Ziggurat of Ur” ruins of the ancient SumerianCity of Ur near An-Naziriya, Iraq

About that time I was taking an undergraduate Constitutional Law class and my professor convinced I too could go to law school. I left the regular Army in 2002 and joined the National Guard.  I started law school at University of Houston in the summer of 2002. I was deployed to Afghanistan for one year in the middle of law school, but I came back and graduated in May 2007. It was through the career services office at law school that I found my current job as Asylum Officer and I cannot imagine doing anything else. After one more deployment to Iraq in 2008-2009, I retired from the National Guard with 24 years in service. Despite all my deployments I believe that the Army has given me way more than I ever gave to it.