Detention centers are kept well away from the public eye, making it is very easy for misinformation to be inadvertently spread. Below you will have a chance to hear directly from Alex & Carolina who will be on the ground giving us their first-hand experiences. They will spend a full week with the Dilley Pro Bono Project, preparing detained mothers and children to present their asylum claims. This is Alex’s second trip to Dilley, and Carolina’s first.
Alex George: I had the honor of serving with the Dilley Pro Bono Project in March 2018, and it was a truly transformative experience. The complexities of the circumstances these women and children face don’t fit in a media sound bite or click-bait headline. They are often feeling severe poverty, but they are also fleeing extreme gang violence that the government in their home country is either unwilling or unable to control. When I asked women why they felt it was worth to come to the U.S., despite all the risks, they told me it was because they knew that the U.S. respects and maintains the rule of law. They believe that their children will receive protection from violence in the U.S. that their home and neighboring countries cannot or do not provide. The team on the ground at Dilley provides effective assistance and invaluable hope to some of the most vulnerable immigrants. They represent the best of America’s values, and both the staff and the asylum seekers gave me hope for humanity in a tumultuous chapter of American history. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to come back and serve these fierce survivors and their children, and I can’t wait to be qualified to be their lawyer.
Carolina Solano: I first heard about the Dilley Pro Bono Project after Alex George volunteered last year, and I was so moved hearing about her experience that I knew I needed to be a part of it this year. As a daughter of immigrants, this mission is personal. I was raised in a diverse immigrant community in South Florida by two fiercely supportive Venezuelan-Colombian parents. After moving to Chicago for my law school career, I was fortunate to work in the non-profit sector with domestic violence legal advocacy groups and gained invaluable experience assisting victims and survivors of trauma who, unsurprisingly yet sadly,are disproportionately made up of woman and children– a sobering fact that also exists at the Dilley detention center where some of the most vulnerable members of our immigrant communities are being held. I feel more compelled than ever to bear witness to the anti-immigrant rhetoric we are faced with on a near-daily basis. I am grateful that organizations like the Dilley Pro Bono Project exist and that they have opened their doors to future advocates, like myself and Alex, by providing such a humbling opportunity to learn how to be the best advocates for immigrant rights that we can be.
If you would like to learn more about the Dilley Pro Bono Project, you can visit their website here.
If you would like to support the incredible work they do to serve vulnerable women and children, you can contribute on their website, or through their Amazon wish list here.