Every week, thousands of unaccompanied, “overflow” immigrant youth crowd the Fort Bliss Emergency Intake Site (EIS) in El Paso, Texas, an unlicensed mass care facility constructed of tents and trailers. The increasing numbers of children, allegations of abuse and dangerous conditions have made the EIS a subject of litigation and governmental investigations. Along with the Adelante Pro Bono Project, four UW Law students (now alumni – Metta Girma ‘22, Maria Gomes ‘22, Soledad Mendoza ’22 and Isabel Skilton ’22) traveled to the southern U.S. border to provide legal services to unaccompanied immigrant children detained at the Fort Bliss EIS. They worked with Kids In Need of Defense (KIND).
Isabel Skilton ‘23 said, “My experience at the border was life-changing, the kind of experience that has the potential to shape the careers and lives of public interest law students. I do not fully understand the impact that this experience has had on me, but I do know that I have seen things that I will carry with me the rest of my career. I am inspired to fight back against monumental systemic inequities even when they feel insurmountable or unconquerable.”