Advocating for Detained Children (from UW School of Law blog)

Read the full article on the UW School of Law blog on their website. Start reading below…

“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).

When the UW Law team arrived at the site, the population of children had more than doubled over the weekend, from around 450 children to over 1,000. In just one week, the population continued to increase up to 1,300 children, one-third of whom spoke an indigenous language and were therefore unable to access information and services that were generally provided in Spanish.

The students immediately jumped into action to meet the tremendous need of these youth to access legal services. Over the course of the week, the UW Law team provided legal services for 1,000 children. The team met individually with 120 children through individual legal screenings and interpreted “Know Your Rights” presentations, ensuring that indigenous children also received access to important legal information.

Students assisted children in advocating for their right to receive adequate medical care during their time at the EIS facility. They advised children on what to expect with respect to their immigration and asylum claims. They helped children understand and navigate the complicated processes they would undergo in order to be released from federal immigration custody. And they comforted children who had experienced extreme trauma, including trauma arising from family separation, abuse, ongoing detention and death.” …

Continue reading on their website.

By Meaghan Wood (She/Her)
Meaghan Wood (She/Her) Career Coach