A new Spanish immersion class at Stanford University is helping detained asylum seekers in Texas prepare for fear interviews. Professors Penelope Van Tuyl and Vivian Brates bring students down to Texas to provide legal services (in Spanish) to mothers and children fleeing extreme violence as a part of the Dilley Pro Bono Project (DPBP).
Fear interviews are often one of the first steps for asylum seekers. Usually the reason people turned away isn’t because they haven’t suffered persecution or torture, but that they aren’t prepared to prove their case. The DPBP offers presentations and 1 on 1 meetings with people before the interview. Once the interview is over, asylum seekers must wait in detention centers for months before hearing the results.
In conversations about American imprisonment, it’s important not to forget those detained at the Mexican border. Children and adults alike live in inhumane conditions, citing things like family separation, overcrowding, dirtiness, and lack of food and toiletries. And there are plans to upgrade and expand detention centers following a surge in migrants last year.