Many immigrants’ stories begin months or years before we meet them at the border. Rarely do we have the privilege of following their path to their ultimate outcome.
We are happy to report that nine members of La Comunidad that we helped bring to the border late last year received asylum in April!
Their current safety and asylum status is a direct result of the funds contributed by hundreds of concerned people around the world. With the resources provided by people like you, RAICES crossed the U.S.- Mexico border to learn what we could do to assist the 7000+ people traveling in—what this administration has named—the Migrant Caravan. After accessing the situation, we realized that the most susceptible group were the LGBTQ+ members of the caravan.
With this knowledge, the decision was made to mobilize and get these people to the border as quickly as possible. Bus tickets were purchased in Mexico City, and the 90+ members of La Comunidad made the more than 1700 mile trip to the border in safety. Once in Tijuana, RAICES worked with U.S. based partners to provide housing for La Comunidad. We enrolled them in the asylum metering book, and while they waited to be called, we prepared them for the legal road ahead connecting them with essential health and wellness services. Finally, they were called, one by one, to make their claims at the port of entry and enter the United States.
The process took two months to complete for this small portion of the caravan. For RAICES, our hands were tied as many waited in detention facilities for their chance to appear before an immigration judge. These facilities exposed them to even more potential abuses like the ones they were fleeing in their home countries. To increase their chances of getting out of detention, RAICES worked with other organizations to develop a sponsor vetting and matching program to find volunteers willing to serve as sponsors for them.
For five months, they waited in detention hoping they would not be deported. Though it has been hard won, we can now say these 9 members of La Comunidad will be staying in the United States with asylum status. They will not have to return to their home countries to face the violence, abuse, and death threats that forced them to flee. This is their home now.
Estrellita and Cataleya are free. However, due to the limited number of immigration judges available, the rest of their community continues to wait in detention. Thanks to you, they will not make their case alone.
While we’re thrilled to report this happy ending, the story isn’t over for so many others. Thank you for what you’ve done and continue to do.