Univ. of Arizona Immigration Law Clinic Bond & Travel Fund
Organized by: Kate Curl Reitz
Kate Curl Reitz via Crowdrise
May 20, 2015
Our client, “Blanca,” an asylum-seeker who has been detained for over one year, will be the fund’s first beneficiary. Once her case is complete, her bond money will be "recycled" to become part of a permanent bond and travel fund to support our future detained clients.
Blanca (not her real name) has been in the Eloy Detention Center since March 2014, while her asylum case slowly makes its way through the immigration system. Her bond has been set at $10,000 for over a year, and she has remained detained throughout this time simply because this is far beyond her or her family's means to pay.
Blanca is a 45-year-old woman who fled Central America to escape her abusive partner. His abuse was severe and relentless, including multiple death threats, sexual violence, physical assaults, and stalking. She relocated to escape from her abuser at least 7 times. Each time, he found her, and his violence only increased. Once, she ran from the house and encountered two police officers in the street. Bleeding and crying, she begged them to help. They did nothing, and in fact left her with her abuser standing next to her without ever saying a word to her. She was hospitalized on several occasions as a result of the abuse, and at no point did anyone try to intervene in the violence.
Blanca left her country because she believed she had no choice. She felt sure that if she stayed much longer, she would die. She left behind her 22-year-old daughter, to whom she is very close, and she struggles every day with whether she made the right decision. Blanca was detained just after crossing the border in March, 2014 and has no criminal history, either in this country or anywhere else. This was her only attempt to enter the United States.
Our team has been working on Blanca's case since August 2014. We have collected medical documents, employment documents, declarations from her family members and co-workers, and multiple expert declarations that all support her claim. We have also fought hard to reduce Blanca’s bond, to no avail.
Being imprisoned for more than a year has taken a heavy psychological toll on Blanca. She has remained active by working in the kitchen, participating in bible studies, learning English, and writing letters to her daughter. But the detention has exacerbated her already strained mental health, and we believe it is not safe for her to remain locked up for the months and potentially years it could take to see her asylum claim through.
We have found a domestic violence shelter in Tucson that has agreed to take Blanca in once she gets out on bond. At the shelter, she can get counseling services, job placement assistance, and assistance in finding permanent housing. She will also be able to work more closely with the Clinic on her case. As an asylum-seeker, Blanca is now eligible to work legally in the U.S. while her case is pending.
We are confident that Blanca has a strong asylum case to which she is deeply committed, and will ultimately prevail. Once Blanca's case is complete, her $10,000 bond will be refunded to the Immigration Clinic. These funds will allow us to establish a general bond and travel fund, which we can draw upon to assist future clients of the Clinic. Blanca’s case is by no means unique, and we believe a fund of this kind will help many other, similar clients of the Immigration Clinic in the future. We will use all the funds “recycled” after Blanca’s removal proceedings are concluded to contribute to bonds and/or travel expenses for our other clients, depending on their needs.
We hope you will consider donating to our fund. Your support, in any amount, will help Blanca, and others like her in the future, who suffer through months of detention simply because they lack the resources to pay their bonds.
Kate Curl Reitz