My American Life

Jeffrey O'Brien

by Jeff O'Brien, Founder & Executive Director

Immigrants are humans, so as far as I’m concerned, immigrant rights are human rights.

My name is Jeff O’Brien and while I am an immigration attorney, I am not an immigrant. My family has been in the United States for several generations, and I am a California native. I interact with immigrants daily. They are my co-workers, my roommates, and my teachers—and an integral part of my life. As a fellow human, I can empathize with immigrants because I want the exact same things in life for my family and myself—personal safety, economic security, and an opportunity to realize our potential. These are the things that America is particularly good at.

Jeff O'Brien Speaking at Mobile Pathways Event

I founded O’Brien Immigration law practice in 2010. My primary vision was to provide exceptional, affordable, and respectful legal assistance to immigrants, and in particular with asylum seekers. My law practice has grown exponentially over the years simply through word of mouth.

In order to keep my costs low, I had to incorporate technology into my practice so it could perform many of the necessary administrative functions. I accomplished this by building out systems using the Salesforce platform. Doing so allowed my firm to manage three-times more cases than we would have without the technology. Once I fully grasped the power of Salesforce technology and realized it could be used industry wide, I founded Mobile Pathways in 2016.

Mobile Pathways is a 501(c)(3) helping undocumented and under-documented immigrants gain access to reliable legal information about their numerous pathways to immigration via mobile phone technology to build out a “partner community.” The nonprofit structure of Mobile Pathways allows us to raise money through foundations and donors to build advanced tools for the benefit of our partners while increasing each of our case capacity. It’s a win-win.

I love that Mobile Pathways is able to use technology to achieve things on scale, bring down costs, and to share data. The biggest challenge we face is to focus on just one thing, as there is so much technology to build. Our future goals include data analysis and artificial intelligence.

Besides my interest in assisting immigrants and asylum seekers, I also have a humanitarian interest in helping victims of crime and human trafficking in the immigration space.  

- Asylum seekers – Immigrants who are seeking protection because their own government is unable or unwilling to help.

- Victims of crime – Immigrants who have had a crime happen to them on U.S. soil and are helping law enforcement with the processing of that crime.

- Human trafficking – Immigrants who have fallen victim to sex traffickers, economic trafficking, slave labor, etc.

I would like to investigate these humanitarian issues deeper going forward and hopefully create relationships and avenues to help defeat them.

I believe that others in the immigration space should choose to support Mobile Pathways because it is free for advocates and there is nothing else like it that exists. The end result is that we can gain a greater understanding and can work stronger by working together.