Author: Graham Bateman

Here’s how attorneys can support the fight against family detention and family separation

To volunteer:

The Immigration Justice Campaign, AILA and the American Immigration Council’s initiative to increase pro bono representation for detained immigrants, is actively working on family separation cases, and helping families detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas pass their credible fear interviews. In addition, we are working with the following partners to represent separated families and other detained immigrants around the country:

  • American Friends Service Committee, AFSC (Elizabeth, NJ)
  • Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, RMAIN (Aurora, CO)
  • Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, SIFI (Georgia and Louisiana)
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, NWIRP (Tacoma, Washington)

Opportunities to volunteer include:

  • Merits cases
  • Bond cases (remotely or in-person)
  • A week on-the-ground with the Dilley Pro Bono Project or the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative
  • Legal writing, research, and interpretation opportunities

Find out more at www.immigrationjustice.us!

If you are working with children separated from their parents, here is how you can help reunite the family

RAICES has launched a program to locate the parents of separated children.   If you are working with a child and trying to find their parent, please use this intake.

http://bit.ly/parentintake

We will help locate the parent and provide them with necessary legal resources.   If you already know where the parent is located and want us to provide them legal assistance, please fill out this form. RAICES can provide support through representation through Credible Fear Interviews, Bond Hearing representation and more!  Please note we will be providing a Spanish version of this form soon.

If you are representing a separated parent, and the parent needs assistance with paying their bond, we will be providing a form to be distributed this week. We will have a bond fund application and will be providing assistance to separated parents nationwide. The information will allow us to reach back out to the requestor and work with them on the request..

RAICES has a team of volunteers, pro bono attorneys and their own staff ready to assist these parents and help reunite them with their loved ones!

Please feel free to share! This is a nationwide effort!

Here are links to the most recent media reports on the families separated at the border. And sometimes commentary by an attorney.

NPR: Mother and son reunited after being separated at the border
“I started crying when I saw him, because he is the only child I have,” Beata Mariana de Jesus Mejia-Mejia told reporters at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Rio Grande Guardian: Civil rights group is recruiting volunteers to help asylum seekers
ACLU Texas wants volunteers to help them verify if the United States government is illegally denying asylum to migrants waiting at land ports of entry by placing Customs and Border Protection officials or Border Patrol agents at the halfway point of the international bridges.

Catholic Standard/Catholic News Service: Pope Francis explicitly states his opposition to family separation policy
“I am on the side of the bishops’ conference,” Pope Francis said in an interview with the Reuters news agency, published online June 20. “Let it be clear that in these things, I respect (the position of) the bishops’ conference.”

A Mother’s Love

Almost twelve years ago Dracilla fled the violence in the Congo with her three young children: Joseph, Alizia, and Ephriam.  After Dracilla’s application for refugee status was approved the small family spent ten years living in a United Nations Refugee camp in Uganda, waiting to be resettled to another country.  For those ten years Dracilla supported her children by working as a farmer. It was hard manual labor, and life in the refugee camp was never easy, but she did what she needed to in order to keep her family safe and together.  

A year and a half ago the four arrived in Fort Worth as refugees. Dracilla and her oldest son, Joseph, work in a factory while the two youngest attend school.

In April Dracilla brought her family to one of JFON’s monthly clinics to apply for their permanent residency.  Only Joseph speaks a little English and none of the volunteers at the clinic spoke Kinyabwisha, Dracilla’s native language. But it was still a time of welcome and hospitality and joy.  Even without a common language the volunteers were able to teach the children to make paper flowers for Mother’s Day.

JFON is delighted to have the opportunity to help Dracilla and her children in this part of their journey. Thank you to all of the volunteers and donors who help make this possible!

Volunteer on the Border

If you’re in Texas or are willing to travel to Texas here are some ways to volunteer on the Border.  As new opportunities arise we will update this page, so check back often.

  • Volunteer at Sacred Heart Church – Sacred Heart Church is working around the clock to help migrants who have been provisionally cleared and released by Border Protection with temporary papers a future court date (and an ankle monitor in tow). After being processed they are dropped off at the McAllen bus terminal where they wait before leaving to their next destination. The church picks up people from the bus terminal, brings them to their welcome center, and offers them their first warm meal, a bath, a change of clothes, hygiene products, a call home, and assistance with translating their paper work and travel itinerary. They need volunteers to help assist and prepare items for families.

 

  • Join NETA to deliver food/water to asylum seekers stuck at ports of entry – People currently showing at ports of entry seeking asylum are being  denied that right. When they arrive, officers tells them that the port of entry is at capacity and that they’re not processing asylum applicants. This back-log has created long lines of people (+50) who have essentially been living on the bridge, patiently waiting their turn. They’ve been sleeping on the hard concrete floors and have been enduring the Texas heat that reaches up to 110 degrees. Some have been there anywhere from 5 to 17 days, and they arrive with nothing. Join NETA to take these individuals food, water, and other necessities.

 

  • Be a Volunteer Attorney with ProBar– ProBar, the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project. This is a project of the American Bar Association, and they are currently supporting over 1,000 ‘unaccompanied children’ in detention centers. They’re also working hard to reconnect these children with their parents. They’re looking for volunteer attorneys who could help with these children prepare for credible fear interviews (will take several days to a week), and in the longer term help with assistance for bond cases (some of this work could be remote, but would have to be periodically present). I’ve created the google doc above to try to help them identify volunteer attorneys.

 

  • Help Texas Civil Rights Project take declarations from families.  Everyday, TCRP is taking declarations from families and need help with intake efforts in Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso and Alpine. They’re able to train people and organize legal intakes in these cities. They also need help in McAllen with interviewing families.                 Note — Volunteers are required to speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistance experience.