b'CARRYING THE TORCH FOR FREEDOMAtanygiventime,upto2,400womenandchildrenawaitasylumQ:What was different about these cases compared with a typical proceedingsatthenationslargestimmigrationdetentioncenterforasylum case?families, about 85 miles from the Mexican border in Dilley, Texas. BeforeSue: Many of the women Eduardo and I met with had such strong the US government instituted a rule in July 2019 that blocked migrantsasylum cases, and if they had been released, we would likely have from accessing asylum if they had passed through another country withoutbeen able to prevail if we had represented them in \x03oston. owever, applying for protection there, advocates were able to help most of thembecause of many new rules implemented by the current administration gain entry into the United States so they could then pursue asylum claims.such as a requirement that they had to have applied for asylum ThoughthethresholdforentryintotheUnitedStatesisnowmuchin each of the countries they passed through, and many othershigher, Proyecto Dilley, a legal services organization affiliated with Texasrefugees couldnt pursue asylum and had to meet a higher threshold RioGrande Legal Aid, is still helping refugees at the South Texas Familyto be granted a different form of relief withholding of removal status Residential Center. Each week prior to the pandemic, the project broughtor protection under the United States Convention Against Torture. in a new group of attorneys and professionals to volunteer. Last December,Courts have since ruled that the transit ban is unlawful. In another Sue Finegan, Chair of Mintzs Pro Bono Committee, and former projectunfair policy that we heard about while there, migrants are sent back analyst Eduardo Gonzlez, who aspires to be an attorney and focus onto Mexico under the Migration \x11rotection \x11rotocols where they wait asylum cases, were able to offer their much needed services. Despite thein horrible hovels, or in a shelter or apartment. Theyre told to come emotionally wrenching 12-hour days at the center where they watchedback at a certain time to check in with immigration ocials, but most of their clients claims be denied, the experience increased theirmany of them end up getting kidnapped or even worse on the trip to resolve to press for immigration reform and inspire others to do the same.do so. It is really heartbreaking.Q:What was it like to work in the detention center? Eduardo: It was the clearest demonstration of how policy impacts Eduardo: On my first day, I was asked to help with a very essentiallives that Ive perhaps seen in my young career. task. I thought I was going to help with paperwork, but I was told ISue:And in my longer career. needed to go around to every room and make sure there was a boxQ:What happened in the credible fear interviews, which require a of tissues in every room. Every room needed tissues because everymigrant to demonstrate a well-founded fear of harm if deported to room was going to see weeping, despair, and sadness at all hours ofher home country?every day.Sue: Once we finished that task, the moms and their children startedSue: \x03efore these new regulations, migrants who crossed the border to arrive in the legal trailer for legal consultations. The first womanandendedupatDilleywouldmeetwithasylumocers.These and her children were dressed in green, the next in red, and anotherocers would conduct interviews in order to determine if the clients in blue. When I first saw that first mother, I just thought that she hadhadacrediblefearand,ifso,theywouldbeentitledtorelease dressed her children in color-coordinated clothing that matched hersbefore their asylum case would be heard in court at a later time. so that she could keep track of her kids. We soon learned, however,The standard they applied in those interviews was much lower, and thatthecolor-codedclothingwastheirprisongarb,designatingtheasylumocershadbeentrainedextensivelyontraumaand which section of the large prison they were from. They also havedifferent country conditions. The Trump administration changed the towels, hats, socks, and sweatpants in those colors. We then learnedway these interviews were conducted, oftentimes having untrained a more heartbreaking detail about their attire, which was that momscustoms and border protection ocers handle them, and applying a and children who get deported would be sent back across the bridgemuch more onerous standard for release on the applicants.to Mexico at the same time each day wearing these mono-coloredEduardo: The volunteers would try as best as we could to explain to outfits, making them easily identifiable targets for the cartels.the mothers why it was so important that they draw out those painful, RESILIENCE // Mintz Pro Bono Journal 29'