Local News

Triangle lawyers head to border to aid immigrant children

Posted September 12, 2014 6:43 p.m. EDT
Updated September 12, 2014 6:57 p.m. EDT

— Hundreds of immigrant children who crossed the U.S. border alone have been placed with sponsor families in North Carolina until their cases can be heard in court, but thousands more await hearings at holding facilities near the border.

Two immigration lawyers from Raleigh recently left their practices for a week and paid their own way to a holding facility in Artesia, N.M., to help some of the children and their mothers fleeing dangerous conditions in Central America.

"I felt like a real pull to do something about what was going on at the border," attorney Claudia Hurtado-Myers said.

For every case where asylum was granted, there were busloads of women and children who were sent back across the border, Hurtado-Myers and attorney Katy Chavez said.

"They were saying that they need to go back home so that nobody else will come," Chavez said of government representatives.

"They come to us for refuge, and our laws are already in place for us to help them," Hurtado-Myers said. "We forget that each individual person is here with a story."

"This is the most important work that we can do," Chavez said, noting the women and children were trying to escape street gangs and domestic violence.

Both attorneys are back in Raleigh, but they said the emotional memories of their border fights remain strong.

"Really, the worst part was when you left, and it just all hit you," Chavez said.