A prison for refugees: inmates at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX (May 2015)

A prison for refugees: inmates at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, TX, May 2015. (The New York Times / Redux / Ilana Panich-Linsman)

The first volunteer trip involved twelve law students, including first years, as well as one fellow and one faculty member over a Winter Break week in 2018-19 at the largest immigrant family detention center in the country: the South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas (approximately 80 minutes southwest of San Antonio).  Since then, Georgetown Law students have regularly volunteered over Spring and Winter breaks to assist these detained asylum seekers.  Generous gifts from alumni April and John Delaney as well as Sam Lambroza, and a gift from the John and Kathleen Schreiber Foundation have funded this service project.

Over spring break, 12 Georgetown Law students and staff participated in a remote pro bono project with asylum seekers detained near the U.S.-Mexico border in Dilley, Texas. Working with staff attorneys from Proyecto Dilley, Georgetown volunteers prepared parole requests in order to help detained women, most of whom fled Cuba and Nicaragua, pursue their cases outside of detention, where they can secure counsel and reunite with family and friends. Volunteers spent their spring breaks conducting phone interviews with clients, contacting sponsors, and compiling arguments and evidence demonstrating clients’ eligibility for release. Many of the clients supported this week had significant medical needs that put them at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 in detention, making this work even more critical. Volunteers ultimately prepared 18 requests, and we have since learned that some of the individuals we worked with will be released.