If you would like to join me in supporting immigrant families and other asylum-seekers detained in Texas, well, here's your chance.
My team of Tulsa Law volunteers is working with asylum-seeking peoples for our third consecutive year at Karnes County Residential Center (Karnes) in Karnes City, Texas. We join forces with the non-profit R.A.I.C.E.S. to offer free, impactful legal advice (under the guidance of our immigration attorney) to asylum-seeking people who face the imminent threat of deportation.
By sponsoring my week at Karnes with even a small $$ donation, you will make possible the "credible fear interview preparation consultations" (CFI preps) that my team provides to asylum-seekers at Karnes.
Our job at Karnes is to help asylum-seekers show they are legally entitled to the chance (and nothing more than the chance) to prove to an immigration judge at trial that they are indeed a "refugee" who deserves asylum in the United States under the laws enacted by our Congress.
A CFI prep is practice for the real live interview, in which an immigration official decides the fate of the asylum-seeker. By "fate" I mean: whether the person lives or is "removed" to their country of origin and murdered by their persecutor as punishment for their attempt to escape the persecutor's control.
In CFI preps, our team listens carefully to people's oral histories of trauma survival. Last year we heard from mothers who had survived horrific abuses, often multiple times; mothers who had seen their immediate family members murdered; mothers forced to leave their babies behind, with little hope of ever holding them again, because all the money to be scraped together in the world was only $400, enough for two people to flee, but not three.
At Karnes, we give basic interview pointers that help the asylum-seeking person emphasize the most legally-significant facts of her history. In addition, we practice humility and empathy, because the trauma for these people is ongoing as they are detained with no way to predict when they will be freed nor if they will be allowed to stay in this country.
Your sponsorship of my week in Karnes will help provide legal advice to a population that is a favorite target of oppressors and bullies. Let us stand behind asylum-seekers (and immigrants, generally), because they are our world's greatest overcomers. These people have not abandoned their love nor hope even in the face of death. We should be setting them free by the orderly process that our laws allow and welcoming them into our communities. We have everything to learn from their example.