To date, we have worked on 43 cases for EPIC and 160 cases for Raices. This past week, we surpassed 200 cases! This took a massive team of volunteers (nearly 100!) that were flexible enough to ride out the changes both with this project and with the partners on the ground- EPIC and RAICES. I estimate that this project has committed at least 2000 hours of pro bono time + hundreds of hours of Javi’s time through ACLUM, to help 200 asylum-seekers on our border.
We are still working on collecting data on how many people have been released and how many bonds/paroles we have actually filed. As EPIC put it last week, “we got our butts kicked” in 2019. This Administration has put up barriers faster than we can try to knock them down. All the more reason to fight harder and get more creative.
This project started with less than 20 detainees at the Karnes Residential Center in June and July of 2019. After a brief gap, RAICES had a dramatic increase in need for our help in August and September- with our project quickly growing to be able to handle the 6-8 new cases (!) assigned per day.
In early October, all of the detainees were moved from Karnes to other facilities in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana without warning. RAICES scrambled to continue to assist these detainees, despite the new challenges. We assisted them in drafting paroles for the 20 cases that moved to Laredo. We also continued to help many of the detainees that were moved to Mississippi or Louisiana. This is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, EPIC in El Paso launched in August and started sending us cases in October. It was just a trickle at first, but we continue to be assigned cases at an increasing rate. Although we are not EPIC’s only remote collaborator, we are handling more of their remote work than anyone else.
With EPIC, our team is working on parole requests for arriving aliens who are note eligible for bond. Some of them have returned to U.S. detention from the “Remain in Mexico” policy after immigration officers found they were at risk of harm in Mexico.
RAICES continues to send us one-off projects for the old group of detainees and a few new ones. We are working on 3 such cases right now. RAICES has indicated that a small new population came into Karnes but there was no way for us to help and it seems like the facility may be winding down altogether.
EPIC is picking up steam and seeing more clients all the time. As of today, we have 16 cases in document collection, and 9 cases in parole/bond prep.
The need for volunteers has been more sporadic since the peak insanity in September but we see the volume increasing soon, so this might be a good time to jump back in if you’ve been thinking about it.
If you are interested in joining our great group of volunteers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org !