The CBK-coordinated Remote Immigrant Assistance Project achieved a great deal in 2019 and 2020.

The treatment of asylum seekers, immigrants and migrants at the southern border has been a shameful narrative in American policy for years. The need for intervention has never been so pronounced as during the COVID-19 outbreak, which has rocked the globe for months on end. We have been told by the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization that the best way to control the virus is through good hygiene practices and social distancing. Across detention facilities, there are ample reports of abuses, overcrowding, lack of proper hygiene supplies, access to medicine and more. Problematic before COVID-19, these conditions during a pandemic create a perfect storm for outbreaks.

The Remote Immigrant Assistance Project (RIAP) has touched the lives of 282 asylum-seekers and their families. Hours spent interviewing, gathering information and drafting documents remotely has helped many who have come to this country seeking a better life and an end to injustice and abuses faced in other countries. This help has alleviated some of the hardships they’ve experienced since coming to our country; taking the burden off of the workers at the border, who were then able to expand their advocacy in all kinds of ways.

Of the release requests prepared for EPIC and RAICES:

  • 101 CLIENTS WERE RELEASED after we submitted our bond or parole requests, in some cases after initially being denied. Some were granted immediately. Some were not released without repeated advocacy efforts. For some, I was not sure until I recently went back to track folks down because they had been moved after we submitted our request. All of these folks are safe with their families and seeking asylum.
  • 27 were released while we were still working on the case.
  • 3 are still fighting their case in detention with the assistance of pro bono attorneys
  • 3 won their cases in detention and were released
  • 48 were deported, either during or after our involvement in the case
  • 2 accepted voluntary departure
  • For 20 cases, the clients were moved to different detention facilities after we submitted our request and we have still not been able to confirm the result.
  • For another 78 cases, the clients were moved to different facilities by ICE while we were working on the cases (mostly Karnes cases from last October); we were never able to complete our mission.

Below is a map of where our clients came from:

The project has been a collaboration with the Immigrant Protect Project of western MA. Its coordinator, Javier Luengo-Garrido, did an outstanding job managing and mentoring the document collection teams.

The volunteers who donate their time and effort in order to better the circumstances of people they may never meet is the driving force behind all change we’ve seen. 99 volunteers have touched the project at some point since last June.

Shout out to the CBK folks for various kinds of massive support along the way: Milada Cook, Rose Katz-Berger, Mariann Furnari, Beth Savage Marchese, Jake Vogt, Jonah Vorspan-Stein & Jody Phelps!