November 25, 2014 — Tuesday. It is Day 5 on the ground in Artesia. There are 5 new volunteer attorneys on the ground this week, including myself. There are 3 attorneys who are still here from last week. Monday and Tuesday mornings included a frenzy of meetings through interpreter to prepare the clients for their bond motions in court (motions seeking to have the women released on their own recognizance or on a low bond because of the lack of evidence they would pose a flight or security risk). The women were granted low bonds, $3000-$4000. To put that number in perspective, prior to the Pro Bono Project’s involvement, the women were not being bonded out, or were given 5-digits amount bonds (I heard of one as high as $20,000), which essentially is a no-bond, so they remain in custody. How would their families ever raise that kind of money?
But the best news was of a Honduran mother of 2, after having been placed in custody in Artesia since July 2014, through the work of the project’s pro bono attorneys, won her asylum case. This was after days of trial before a federal judge, with witnesses and expert testimonies. Her story is here.
So far, every asylum case brought to trial in Artesia as been a win for the woman on trial. It is now, 10-women, 0-government (but who’s keeping score). 🙂
What a Happy Thanksgiving story this was. As the article stated: “At its core, Thanksgiving is a story about immigration.” How appropriate it was that we spent our Thanksgiving in Artesia.