When TBE sent an e-mail asking for lawyers to represent immigrants facing deportation, I decided to volunteer, motivated by the call of repairing the world and helping the stranger despite my lack of experience with immigration cases.
Assisted by many, including the Jewish Community Relations Council, a Spanish-speaking interpreter, and a legal mentor, I took on the case of a young man seeking asylum in the US due to documented persecution and long-term domestic abuse in his hometown in Ecuador. He crossed the border in Texas in 2014 and ultimately joined his brother and sister in Massachusetts.
After hours of legal preparation, meetings with my client at the South Bay House of Corrections in Boston as well as with his siblings, and Immigration Court appearances — and only a few weeks before my client’s hearing — Attorney General Sessions enunciated a new Department of Justice policy that domestic violence and gang violence would no longer provide the legal basis for granting such asylum. This effectively doomed the pending asylum applications of many victims, including my client. Both my Motion to Reopen Hearing and a second Motion based upon class-action litigation filed by the ACLU with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. were denied.
The experience of trying to help this young man given the likely outcome of his case is both heartbreaking and humbling. There are hundreds of individuals fleeing oppression, just like him, who just want the same opportunity that many of our ancestors were provided. Most do not have legal representation and, therefore, almost no chance of having their asylum applications seriously considered. Lawyers are desperately needed. If you can help, I urgently ask that you consider. Please contact Sandy Aronson with questions.