Immigration Legal Aid Service Trip

In December 2014, the federal government opened the largest immigrant family detention center, the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC), which is operated by the private prison company, CCA.  The facility has the capacity to detain over 2,000 women and children. Most of these women and children have fled their home country due to gang violence, domestic abuse, and persecution based on political, religious, or other grounds and seek protection in the United States. Even though the majority of the people held in the detention center are eligible for asylum, they are kept imprisoned for long periods of time and in poor conditions.     

For Spring Break of 2018 (March 2nd-March 11th), fourteen NC State Students and one NC State Faculty member are making the trek from Raleigh, North Carolina to Dilley, Texas to volunteer with the CARA Pro Bono Project. CARA is a coalition four different nonprofits (CLINIC, AILA, RAICES, and AIC) that are working to provide much needed legal aid. The mission of CARA is to 1. to provide competent and just representation to the detained women and children 2. end the practice of family detention by collecting data and intelligence on DHS, ICE, and CBP detention practices.

Volunteers will be working long hours, from Sunday evening to Friday evening, in addition to completing extensive preparation leading up to the service trip. CARA depends heavily on volunteers to support their work.  This work includes client intakes, credible fear and reasonable fear preparations, credible and reasonable fear representation, bond hearing preparation, and bond hearing representation.

The volunteer work will involve conducting interviews with women in the detention center to assist them with their asylum claims, and to document and stop abuses and inhumane detention conditions.  We will also help with researching country conditions to help support credible fear and asylum claims. Volunteers will be present during credible fear interviews which helps with translation, ensures appropriate questions are asked, and provides emotional support during the interviews.  If a woman passes their credible fear interviews, they can be released from the detention center, and will be able to seek asylum status through an immigration court.  

These women and children rely heavily on pro bono representation to navigate the complicated U.S. immigration system and we are compelled to travel to Dilley, TX to help them but need your help to get there!  

The volunteer service trip is organized by the student organization, Students for Immigrant Rights. We are partnering with CSLEPS (Center for Student Leadership, Ethics, and Public Services), which is a center at NC State University.  An immigration attorney (Hoang Lam) and a sociology professor (Dr. Kim Ebert) are helping us to prepare for the trip.


Lodging $2,380.00

Food $1,820.00

Greyhound fare $3,065.00

Car Rental $731.77

Gas $300

Fees: $630

Emergency fund (3% budget): $258.86

Total: $9,185.63


***We've received funding for $3500 from NCSU Student Government


Genesis Torres, trip coordinator, Email: [email redacted]

Carl Hintz, trip coordinator, Email: [email redacted]

Hoang Lam, attorney, Email: [email redacted]

We asked all of our volunteers “Why do you want to go on the immigration legal aid trip and what do you hope to gain from this experience?” Here are some of their responses:


“First and foremost I want to help other people in need. I being an African American man feel that I need to support my brothers and sisters in different marginalized groups than my own the same way I treat my own.” – Malik Hines


“I want to put a face(s) on US immigration policy and see how it works in real life. I want to know how our immigration policies, or lack of them, affect the people who want to come to the US to work and live. I want to see how US enforcement efforts are affecting the lives of undocumented immigrants and their families. I hope to develop a compassionate, knowledge-based position on the subject of immigration from which I can advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants.” –Ruth Sappie

 The cost is $660 per student, (14 students going), all proceeds will be given to charity.  

24810778_15085475970_r.jpeg Genesis Torres, Carl Hintz, Hoang Lam
  • Celeste Curington  
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  • Margaret Vimmerstedt 
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  • Michaela DeSoucey 
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  • Hector Campos 
    • $20 
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  • Jenny Doyle 
    • $100 
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Genesis Torres 
Raleigh, NC
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