Recently, Eric and Ivonne Bass, BIA Accredited Immigration Counselor spent one week in Dilley, TX providing pro-bono services to jailed immigrant families – mostly single mothers with children. This effort was a part of CARA Pro Bono Project, a collaboration between multiple groups across the nation to respond to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s expansion of family detention in Dilley. Eric and Ivonne helped to prepare women for Credible Fear Interviews in which the women have the opportunity to provide a basis for an asylum case. If they pass the interview, the women are released and will later appear before an immigration judge to argue for asylum. “It’s like a battleground triage where you just try and do the best you can,” Eric described their short week working long hours in Dilley. He and Ivonne, along with 18 other volunteers, were each able to briefly meet with 40 women that week. Typically, CARA relies on only 5-6 volunteers each week.
“When you mention ‘detention center,’ people assume they are criminals” Ivonne described her work with immigrants in Dilley, “These are women who are fleeing their countries because of violence.” The majority of families are from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador with few from other Central and South American Countries.
Following their week in Dilley, the FIS team continues to be involved with the CARA project by taking cases of women who have been released from the detention center and are preparing for their asylum hearing in Colorado.
For more information about CARA, please visit caraprobono.org.
Thank you to Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) for collaborating with Catholic Charities on this video.