A heartfelt message from NJFON Executive Director Rob Rutland-Brown
We have all read and seen in the news the recent horrific scenes of immigrant children along our southern border being taken from their parents. More than 600 children were separated from their parents in the first two weeks of May alone, with no signs of a slowdown.
This is part of a new policy undertaken by the administration to deter illegal entry. And yet, the majority of these families are fleeing unspeakable violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and seeking asylum in the U.S. The U.S. maintains statutory and regulatory rights for people who arrive with or without papers and seek protection here. Those fleeing persecution and violence have a right to make their case heard, and Justice for Our Neighbors is here to help them.
Those parents in detention—mostly mothers—will need attorneys to guide them through their credible fear interviews with Immigration as an initial determination of whether they may have a valid asylum claim. The detained parent will also need to demonstrate they’re not a flight risk or danger to the community. They will need a competent attorney in the U.S. to prepare a detailed bond package so they can be released to rejoin their children. Meanwhile, the children will also need representation for their immigration cases.
As a father, I cannot imagine the anguish parents must feel at having their child forcibly taken from them, with no knowledge of where they are being taken and no reunion in sight. Social workers assigned to care for separated children have reported that younger children are suffering from severe trauma due to these separations.
Justice for Our Neighbors cannot undo the long-term mental and emotional scars this “deterrence strategy” will leave on parents and children alike.
However, through skilled and targeted immigration legal services, we can expedite reunions of some families and increase their chances of being able to remain in the U.S. safely and permanently.
Today, I ask for your help in this work.
Your tax-deductible donation will allow the Justice for Our Neighbors network to offer vital, high-quality immigration legal services to these separated families. With your support, fewer families will have to endure the pain of an unjust and inhumane separation.
National Justice for Our Neighbors