In October of 2018, I had the remarkable experience of working as a Spanish-English interpreter for detained asylum-seeking women at the South Texas Family Residential Center (don’t be confused by the name, it’s a prison) in Dilley, Texas as a volunteer for the CARA Dilley Pro Bono Project. I spent a week interpreting for an attorney friend and numerous detained women, all from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador (although there are women from all over the world held in the facility) to help them prepare for their credible fear interviews, which is the first step in petitioning for asylum in the US. It was exhausting, extremely sad, but also very inspiring. The women we worked with were all extraordinarily brave and impressively strong, and their optimism in the face of truly terrible experiences, back at home, on the long, dangerous journey to the US and then in prison with their children, was very moving to me.
I am thrilled to be returning to Brown, my alma mater, in two weeks to participate in a panel discussion with Kate Goldman, the manager of Brown’s Center for Latin American Studies, who was one of my fellow volunteers in Dilley. Free and open to the public!