A Message from Executive Director, Shirine Shebaya
Sometimes the hardest of challenges can yield the best of solutions.
In the summer of 2018, before I joined NIPNLG as its new executive director, I went to the U.S.-Mexico border to serve families in crisis. I met with dozens of parents separated from their children. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I’ve ever had.
One of the moms I met, “Dora,” particularly haunted me. The violence she escaped was horrifying. But instead of finding refuge here, when she arrived at the U.S. border, our government forcibly removed her son from her. She was not able to speak to him or know his whereabouts for weeks. After the violence they had escaped, their separation was doubly traumatizing for both of them.
One of the moms I met particularly haunted me.…instead of finding refuge here, when she arrived at the U.S. border, our government forcibly removed her son from her.
After I left Texas, all the parents’ stories stayed with me. But what kept me up at night was the look in this mother’s eyes when she spoke about her son. On her behalf, and on behalf of other parents in her situation, I worked together with partner organizations to file a lawsuit.
The lawsuit resulted in a settlement agreement in which parents would get a second chance to apply for asylum in the U.S. Under the terms of the settlement, Dora was finally released and reunited with her son, and with the help of an incredible immigration attorney, she applied for asylum.
I brought this litigation with me to NIPNLG, and it was here at NIPNLG that the other day I received an emotional call from Dora, saying she was finally granted asylum in the U.S. She put her young son on the phone, and he told me how happy he was.
At the end of a long horrific journey, made more brutal by our government’s actions, they could finally begin to find some peace.
At the end of a long horrific journey, made more brutal by our government’s actions, they could finally begin to find some peace, and move their lives forward.
This mom gave her child a new life because she believed that what they were leaving was far worse than the horrors they would face in the U.S. When I reflect upon her courage — walking out of her home alone with her child, traveling through several countries to get here, facing hunger and thirst and violence, but still believing that she had to do this to save their lives — I am in awe.
I share this story with you to remind us why we do what we do. We know that not every situation results in a positive outcome, but even the small victories can remind us what matters.
This is why we do what we do.Help Us Continue Our Work »
This year was a challenging transition period for the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. But we’ve weathered the storm. We believe in what we do. We remain steadfast in our commitment, focused on our mission, and determined in our work, thanks to the support of friends like you. It is also an exciting time, as we rebuild our staff with some truly brilliant talent.
We are very hopeful looking to 2020. With your help, NIPNLG will pursue bold litigation, including on denaturalization, criminal prosecutions of immigrants, and the appalling Remain in Mexico policy. With your partnership, we will publish critical Practice Advisories for the legal community, and bring you top-notch seminars and trainings. And with your backing, we will continue to support grassroots immigrant movements in their fight against draconian and unjust immigration laws.
Now we need your support.Donate Today »
Our team is ready. Our focus is sharp. Now we need you to kick in some fuel for NIPNLG’s fight for immigrant justice, for fair and just immigration law and policy, and for human rights for ALL. Won’t you join us with a gift before midnight on December 31st?
On behalf of the millions who migrate and deserve a fair and humane life with dignity, we thank you.
Onward to the many battles ahead,
p.s. We just launched the #NewWayForward campaign with our partners at the Immigrant Justice Network. Together in 2020, we’ll be pushing to reverse the damaging 1996 laws that entrenched mass incarceration, and laid the blueprint for the criminalization of immigration that endures today.
Please Support our Efforts with a Gift Today! »
p.p.s. Please consider renewing or increasing your donation to NIPNLG at this time of great need, and great hope.