Local immigration attorney Sarah Burrow is sharing a first-hand account of the situation at the U.S./Mexico border after spending six days volunteering at an immigration detention center in Texas.
Burrow traveled to the South Texas Family Residential Center, the nation's largest detention center, to offer legal advice and representation to detainees. Burrow says much of her time was spent preparing women for credible fear interviews.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, a credible fear interview is conducted by Asylum Officers when a person who is "subject to expedited removal" expresses a fear of returning to their country, or intention to apply for asylum.
Detainees must prove they have a credible fear of torture or persecution based on factors like race or religion.
"While one woman's story might be good enough to pass that test, another woman's story might not be," Burrow says. "Yet they're all violent, and tragic, and wrought with trauma."
Burrow says she met mostly with women from Central America, and she's still processing their stories of gun violence, sexual assault, poverty, and lack of medical resources.
She also says the work is not done, and if given the chance, she'd like to return to the detention center.
Burrow is planning to join an Indianapolis couple facing deportation for a rally this weekend. They're calling it the Peaceful Resistance Rally for immigration reform.
The rally is scheduled for Sunday afternoon outside the Irvington Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library.