You’ve probably heard this summer about all of the children from Central America who have been coming to the southern border. The facts are especially hard to understand when they are obscured by partisan politics and the underlying complexity of our immigration system. We wanted to share some good links to sources where you can start seeking information.
Here at the MICA Project, we’ve been focusing on the human dignity, legal needs, and humanitarian concerns surrounding these new arrivals. Two of our volunteers traveled to Texas to take part in a mission of hospitality at a shelter for immigrant women and children who had just crossed the border. You can read Sister Ida’s reflection below, and Sister Sandy’s interview with KSDK here.
We’ve also had a huge influx of legal cases, including both unaccompanied children and other asylum-seekers from Central America. Nicole, a MICA Project attorney who speaks fluent Spanish, has been coordinating the entire St. Louis pro-bono effort to provide legal representation to the new arrivals presenting their asylum claims to the Immigration Court. This has included at least 15 cases that she has coordinated or taken on herself in just the last two months. These individuals have faced serious denials of due process, which have been exacerbated by a lack of legal representation. Nicole’s efforts, along with area attorneys who have stepped up to assist, have already resulted in the release of at least seven individuals!
The MICA Project is also collaborating with Catholic Immigration Law Project to develop Legal Orientation Programs for the children who may be temporarily settled in St. Louis. Finally, we’re participating in community actions that promote dignity, such as Latinos en Axion’s demonstration downtown and a recent ecumenical prayer service in Tower Grove Park.
Think about what you can do – today – to take part in these efforts. Check out some of the links above, find an event to participate in, or examine privilege and bias and how it affects our legal system. Or consider renewing your financial support of the MICA Project. All of our new and expanded efforts have arisen quickly, and the MICA Project has been ready to respond. But these new projects are not funded, and we need you so that we can continue this critical work. Make a donation to the MICA Project, or reserve a table at our upcoming trivia night.
When you take action, let us know! Send us an e-mail, post on our Facebook page, or tweet us @MICAprojectSTL.
Jessica Mayo & Nicole Cortes