Katrina's Volunteer Trip to Dilley, Texas
Organized by: Katrina Kilgren
EVENT DATE May 10, 2015
Next week, May 10-16, I will travel to Texas and offer free legal assistance to women and children who fled violence in Central America and are now detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
These families are victims of a true humanitarian crisis and don't have adequate access to attorneys. Assistance from a qualified attorney can make a huge difference in whether a family gets sent back to face further violence or stays and successfully navigates the opportunities and rights provided by U.S. immigration law. I have the ability to help, and I am donating a week of my time.
What Will The Funds Go To?
Your contributions will help pay for airfare, hotel, and other expenses associated with my trip to Dilley. If I receive funds above and beyond my own costs, I will donate the surplus to fund other Dilley volunteer trips.
$200 donation would pay my airfare one-way
$70 will pay for one night in the hotel in Dilley
$10 would cover a tasty meal to keep me fueled
Why Am I Going To Dilley?
Perhaps many of you have heard of the surge of Central American women and children arriving at our southern border. Most of these individuals come fleeing widespread and devastating violence happening in their communities and homes. Violence by gangs, drug cartels, and other criminal groups has gotten so out of control that local governments are not able to adequately protect their citizens. Additionally, in an atmosphere of unchecked violence and government corruption, victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual violence, and human trafficking have little, if any, access to justice. Faced with ongoing violence and no protection, many find that the only possible way to ensure their safety is to flee and seek protection in the United States.
Upon contact with U.S. immigration officials at the U.S. border, families are being put into jail-like detention facilities in remote areas along the U.S./Mexico border. One of these facilities is in Dilley, Texas. The detention facilities are in areas without many law firms or nonprofit advocacy groups to offer legal services to the hundreds detained. Immigrants navigating the immigration court system are not given an attorney at government expense, unlike in the criminal justice system where defendants are assigned a public defender. Without adequate access to good legal advice, the detained women and children are uninformed about their rights and unable to successfully navigate the complicated asylum application process. And, the U.S. government has stated that their goal is to return these individuals to their home countries as quickly as possible. Thus, people who have left behind everything they know and given up everything they have in order to seek safety in the United States are being jailed and quickly sent back to face continued persecution in their home countries because of inadequate access to legal help.
To make matters worse, the families are often denied a chance to be released from the facility on bond while they go through the immigration court process. Detained children are suffering from all sorts of health problems in the facilities, are only attending school sporadically, and are basically kept locked up like criminals. I believe these people deserve better.
Under U.S. immigration law, a foreigner who comes fleeing persecution and violence may ask for asylum and must be given the opportunity to present a case for refugee status in the United Sates. Applying for asylum involves a complicated application process and a courtroom trial wherein the individual needs to present testimony and evidence in support of her legal case. This process is extremely difficult for individuals who do not have assistance from a qualified immigration law attorney.
I am ready and able to help. Will you join the cause by helping fund my trip?
Where Can I Learn More About What is Happening in Dilley?
If you would like to read more about what is happening in Dilley, I recommend checking out these links: