As you may have heard, President Trump issued a proclamation last week in an attempt to shut down the southern border to asylum-seekers. Lawsuits have been filed to block the move as news reports have focused on a caravan of several thousands of men, women, and children who are making their way slowly to the U.S. to seek asylum. Officials at the South Texas Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas are preparing for the influx, which is expected to arrive at the border in mid-January.
The current immigration debate has raised important questions about who we are as a country. Will we welcome refugees from the places they have fled? Or will we shut our gates and turn them away? Will we live up to the ideals of our nation as a beacon of human rights and freedom? Or will we allow ourselves to be ruled by fear?
Here in Buffalo, we are far removed from the crisis unfolding on the southern border. But there are still ways we can help.
In January, six law students from the University at Buffalo School of Law will travel to Texas as part of the U.S.-Mexico Border Clinic to provide crucial representation to asylum-seekers on the southern border. The women and children housed in Dilley, Texas have travelled thousands of miles to seek refuge. Many are victims of unspeakable violence: rape, threats of death, and other violence at the hands of the criminal gangs that run their countries. The UB team will join a dedicated staff at the detention center to ensure that every asylum-seeker has a chance to prove their asylum claim. Without legal representation, many will be deported before they have a chance to do so.