In recent weeks, we have read stories of children torn from the arms of their parents in the pursuit of asylum in the United States. We have seen parents reunified, only to face the horrors of re-separation or family detention. We have uncovered coercive tactics used by government officials to convince traumatized parents to relinquish their rights. Meanwhile, the government has announced an asylum policy that aims to categorically and immediately reject claims based on fear of gang and domestic violence.
The headlines are grim, and the stories sit like stones in my stomach as I reflect on the challenges at hand, and those ahead. But, I am proud to say that we have a response. The Immigration Justice Campaign—AILA and the American Immigration Council’s joint initiative to help ensure a fair day in court for detained immigrants— continues to match pro bono attorneys with detained immigrants across the country and to send volunteers to work with detained families in Dilley, Texas. Week after week, I am inspired by this work. I hope that my fellow attorneys, parents, and advocates are too.
The dire aftermath of the Trump administration’s family separation policy has led to a groundswell of volunteers eager to join the fight for a fair day in court for detained immigrants. We now have over 6,500 attorneys, translators, social workers, and more in our community. Alongside them, new partners have also joined us at the front lines of the fight. The Immigration Justice Campaign has partnered with Save the Children, an organization that has stood up for children for nearly a century. We could not be prouder to stand with them now as our battles for due process, basic rights, and humane treatment for everyone wage on. Stay tuned for more on this partnership as we find opportunities to collaborate to advocate for and amplify the voices of those caught up in the immigration enforcement dragnet.
Not only are we welcoming new partners to this work, but we are witnessing daily and inspiring acts of courage. This summer, I am reminded of the Maya Angelou quote: “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” The parents choosing life over death, health and happiness over hardship, and freedom over oppression are propelled by love. This love knows no bounds and presses forward in the face of bigotry and fear of the other. In so doing, it outshines depraved attempts to strip immigrants of their humanity and dignity and to systematically invalidate their claims of credible fear. The parents bring a renewed sense of resolve to those of us in the trenches.
In the dark clouds of family separation and family detention, silver linings can be found. With more hands on deck, the Justice Campaign is ready for the work ahead.