Supporting families at the U.S.-Mexico border

The days are long and exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Our team walks through the metal detector at the South Texas Family Residential Center at 7:00 a.m., and we don't walk back out the doors until 8 p.m. Fear and sadness hang heavy in the air, stories of graphic violence punctuated by accounts of families being separated and people being turned away at the border. The days go on, but the room never clears. There are always women and children sitting in chairs, looking up as we walk by, hoping we call their names.

We've stepped away from our own families and put other matters on hold to do what we can to support the women and children in crisis who are migrating to the United States. We're on the ground in Dilley, Texas, thanks to the firm's commitment to this mission and in support of the Dilley Pro Bono Project, a collective composed of the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, American Immigration Council, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and American Immigration Lawyers Association. Over the course of our two weeks at the facility, we and the other volunteers working with us will have impacted the lives of more than 2,000 people.

The firm's Pro Bono Department has a long history of successfully representing such clients through referring organizations like Kids in Need of Defense, Tahirih Justice Center, and CAIR Coalition. And we’ll continue to take asylum and other immigration cases through these partner agencies, in support of our Empowering Girls and Women Initiative.

But our people — across offices and roles and political lines — expressed deep concern about the immediate crisis, which was made worse by the announcement of a government policy separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, so many of our colleagues were eager to commit to the weeklong, intensive experience in Dilley that we had to redirect volunteers to other, local immigration matters.

Many questions remain as the situation at the border continues to unfold, and we will continue to offer our support to these families in crisis.

Read more about our efforts from The American Lawyer.

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