My Spring Break
I had a wild spring break. No, I didn’t go to Cancún. I went to York, Pennsylvania. What’s in York, you ask? Actually, a lot of really adorable restaurants and cafés (my favorite of which was the best donut shop: Glazin’). But beyond that, there’s the York County Prison detention facility. That’s where I spent much of my break.
I was at the detention facility in order to help detained immigrants apply for asylum in the United States. For those of you who don’t know much about the asylum system, it’s a system that allows immigrants who have fled political, religious, or other persecution in their home countries pursue legal residence in the United States.
I traveled to York with a group of law school students and professors, asylum attorneys, and social work professionals and professors. Together, we compiled country condition evidence for the asylum applicants, and helped them complete their applications and narrative accounts.
Last year, I spent a semester serving as a Student Representative with the University of Connecticut School of Law Asylum and Human Rights Clinic. I loved serving in the Clinic. It made me see how vital asylum really is. So many individuals have endured such horrific persecution in their home countries, and it is imperative that the United States provide refuge to them. My experience serving in the Clinic also made me see how important aid throughout the asylum process is. The asylum system is confusing to navigate, and it is even harder for those who aren’t fluent in English or are unfamiliar with the process. Legal representation helps make the process manageable.
After gaining so much from the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to York and once again dive into asylum work. The asylum applicants we met with there were incredibly kind individuals and were very much deserving of asylum. While it was difficult to see them dressed in orange jumpsuits and stuck within the prison walls, it was comforting that we were providing them with needed aid. I’m very thankful that I was able to use my spring break to help them, and sincerely hope that we made a difference in the outcomes of their cases.
Here I am with my friend Hannah, relaxing out in York after a long day's work:
By Dvora Walker, Legal and Public Policy Fellow at 29 Mar 2016, 15:01 PM
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