Students Recognized for Pro Bono Immigration Work on the Border

Credit: Illustration by Esther Bunning

Cecilia Anguiano ’18 and Favio Perez ’18 were honored by Dean Jennifer Johnson at the 2018 Student Recognition Lunch for their volunteer work assisting CARA Family Immigration pro bono attorneys at two Texas detention centers.

The two Immigration Student Group (ISG) members have made nine trips to the centers and helped hundreds of women and children seeking asylum from violence and abuse by maras, violent organizations that control large regions of the Northern Triangle of Central America.

“The work is grueling, lasting 10–12 hours per day, and emotionally draining because of the intense sharing of the raw, ugly, human substance of persecution. It is conducted in a trailer in the middle of the Texas desert with few resources,” said Johnson.

Anguiano and Perez also worked to recruit and train student volunteers from the law school to help them serve the families. During their December 2017 trip, the team of students prepared over 100 women for asylum interviews, conducted about 300 know-your-rights trainings for mothers, helped a newly freed woman and her child get to the bus station, and assisted released families in navigating the airport.

“These student volunteers are amazing natural advocates,” said Kate Edwards ’17, who worked with Anguiano and Perez in Texas. “They are kind and gentle, and explain everything to the clients very patiently and with impressive competence,” she said. “They interact with clients as if they were seasoned pros, not students.”