Last week, I wrote about the US government taking away soccer balls, education and legal aid from detained immigrants kids; this week, we learn that they are also taking away toothbrushes and soap from the kids. On Tuesday, Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian argued in court that immigrants kids do not need toothbrushes or soap, and that they can sleep on concrete floors. As the DOJ made their case, Trump tweeted that ICE would soon be deporting “millions” of immigrants and that ICE raids are imminent. Later that same afternoon, we host our weekly Immigration Legal Services Clinics that once again overflowed with terrified families who are fearing deportation.
The news of mass deportations had already made it through the media, and by word-of-mouth, into the local immigrant community. The families we serve absolutely feel threatened and unsafe. And faced with heightened uncertainty and fear, it is critical immigrants receive expert, caring and trustworthy legal aid.
Free legal clinics are one of the things that we truly do best at the IIIC and have been doing for the past 30 years – educating families about their rights, providing guidance on the next steps, and sharing dependable information about any available avenues towards status or family reunion. Into the late hours of Tuesday evening, IIIC’s staff and pro bono attorneys met with families who feel threatened, isolated and sacred by the day’s mean-spirited rhetoric. The energy of our Welcome Center is usually filled with joy, hope and possibility but this week, it felt palpably tense and discouraging.
In spite of all these threats, there has been some positive developments: New York passed a Driver Licence Bill (available regardless of immigration status), a Federal Court ruled to prevent ICE detentions at MA courthouses, and the city of Boston seeks to limit the rules on how the Police Department can cooperate with ICE.
There are many great opportunities for you do something locally for immigrant and refugee families:
1) Donate to our Center to help us meeting the increased demand for services.
In solidarity and in action,