California immigration attorney Angeline Chen was torn between what action to initially take when she recently volunteered at the border in Tijuana, Mexico to help a 150-person caravan of immigrants from Central America with the U.S. asylum process.
As reported in a July story by Today.com, the potential scene of children being separated from their parents was one which haunted Chen.
“It is so overwhelming, Chen said. “Do you give the children teddy bears and blankets or do we give them attorneys?”
While immigration law has been a constant hot-topic legal issue for decades, Fry & Elder immigration attorney Lorena Rivas says immigration law policies reached a boiling point this past May when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that those caught illegally crossing the border would face criminal prosecution.
The decision prompted the separation of 2,342 migrant children from their parents between early May and June 19 as reported in this NPR article.
Though President Donald Trump has since modified his stance on family separation to keep families intact even though a zero-tolerance policy will remain in place, Rivas believes the repercussions of the initial separations continue to be impactful and far reaching.
“It’s a very tragic and unfortunate mess,” Rivas said. “For the children and parents who have been separated from one another, it’s not a simple quick fix to locate one another. Many immigrants may be undocumented and those with documentation may have had their documents lost in the shuffle. It becomes further complicated for those with a solid claim for asylum, as they are simply trying to escape violent, life-threatening situations from their home countries.”
What can be Done to Help?
First and foremost, Rivas believes there needs to greater awareness brought to the legal issues and uncertainty surrounding the southern border; but the highly-regarded Tulsa immigration attorney also said additional attention needs to be given to the organizations and programs available which people can donate to and support.
These include the following:
This well-known organization is currently raising money to “defend asylum-seeking parents forcibly separated from their children.”
NPR recently reported how a federal judge in Washington D.C. ordered the return of an asylum-seeker from El Salvador.
Judge Emmet Sullivan “threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt because the government had spirited the woman away while her case was still pending.”
The ACLU has publicly stated that “separating families is inhumane.”
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project
The ASAP provides an abundant amount of support for refugee families who come to the U.S. because of “unspeakable violence” in their home countries.
The organization has recently sued U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to further fight family separation and human rights violations.
The Texas Civil Rights Project
Closer to home, the TCRP continues to be proactive in its quest to assist asylum-seeking families.
The organization recently denounced the Trump administration’s plan to vacate the Flores Settlement Agreement, which has shaped detention standards for underage migrants since 1997, and expand family detention capabilities.
The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration will increase the size of a tent camp for migrant children outside El Paso from 1,200 beds to as many as 3,800.
The TCRP issues the following statement in response:
“The Trump administration has found a new low in the family separation crisis: seeking indefinite imprisonment of children. Any attempt to withdraw from the Flores Settlement Agreement in order to circumvent previous court orders and expand family detention is wholly unacceptable.
“For months, we watched in horror as children were ripped from their parents, but the remedy for family separation is not, and never will be, indefinitely locking up whole families in immigration prisons.”
A Highly-Regarded Tulsa Immigration Attorney Who Cares
A native of Mutual, Oklahoma, Rivas is a first-generation American who takes great pride in being able to represent the Oklahoma Latino community as a highly-regarded Tulsa immigration attorney.
“I’m a Mexican-American,” Lorena Rivas said. “Immigration law is something that is constantly hitting my life, whether it be family members, friends or my clients. In law school, I initially thought I wouldn’t go into immigration law, but I started thinking about it more, and felt like I could make a bigger impact in that area.”
Rivas has done just that, and continues to make an impact as a highly-regarded Tulsa immigration attorney. She has traveled multiple times to Capital Hill to meet with legislators to advocate for immigration law reform and improved policies.
Rivas also is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Fern Holland Award. As a respected professional in the Tulsa community, she was selected to take part in the Leadership Tulsa Class 60 for 2018-2019.
Her immigration law practice areas at Fry & Elder include the following:
- Business Immigration
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Deportation/Removal Defense
- Family Immigration
- Fiancé Visa
- Humanitarian Relief
- Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
Contact Fry & Elder today to set up a personal consultation with highly-regarded Tulsa immigration attorney Lorena Rivas.