#RIGHTTOREUNITE HELP BDS REUNIFY FAMILIES AND COVER RELATED EXPENSES.
This week, we received news that Maria, a detained immigrant mother of three young children represented by RAICES Texas, was being transported to New York so she could be reunited with her sons pursuant to court order. She had been detained for over two months despite being an asylum seeker who was found by an Asylum Officer to have a credible fear of significant possibility of persecution or torture in her home country. Her children were forcibly removed from her and brought to New York City.
Because there is no right to counsel in immigration proceedings, there are no lawyers on site to protect families as they go through the complicated, deeply problematic, reunification process. They are alone.
Following a referral from our colleagues at RAICES, BDS attorneys rushed to Federal Plaza with social workers to assist the family in the reunification. Maria spent the entire day waiting to be reunited with her children. Despite being told that they would be reunited in compliance with the court order, the release did NOT happen that day. Delays and misinformation stopped Maria from getting to her sons, a plight that also befell several other moms, all day Tuesday. She sat at the ICE office for hours and was ultimately taken back to the Orange County Jail heartbroken, while our social workers and attorneys continued to fight for her.
BDS staff worked all night advocating for her release with ICE, other nonprofit providers, the ORR shelter that housed the children, the ACLU, elected officials, and the press. In the course of assisting Maria, BDS staff was able to assist two other moms of separated families who were released at the same time and had no one to represent them. We coordinated with and alerted other nonprofit providers, screened for legal needs and remedies, and worked with volunteers who got the families food, showers, clothing, and plane tickets to their families in other cities. All three families successfully traveled to family out of state Wednesday.
You can help families like Maria’s.
There are many more people expected to be released from immigration detention in the New York City vicinity and reunified with their children. BDS will be there to help them. BDS has also committed to help anyone willing to sponsor a child.
Your donations can help us provide rapid response advocacy to assert the legal and human rights of parents and children caught up in the traumatic situation we have seen unfold in the media.
Our Immigrant Family Emergency Response Fund has emerged from our desire to help our immigrant clients get back on track. Our fund covers :
- travel costs
- basic necessities (clothing, food, diapers)
- medical services
- fees to file applications that could give legal status in the US
- legal and social work services