October 8, 2017
Today, Interfaith Refugee Project became Refugee Action Fund!
October 02, 2018
By Julie Gersten
In August, I joined a delegation of Jewish leaders organized by HIAS who visited detention and migrant facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border. The experience afforded me access to the inner-workings of the U.S. immigration system: inside a detention facility where thousands of immigrants are kept in prison conditions; in court proceedings where complex and convoluted procedures shape the trajectory of those seeking refuge and asylum; behind the electronic fences where our government houses unaccompanied minors and separated children in legal limbo; and shelters in Tijuana where men, women and children fleeing for their lives await the opportunity to go North, or individuals freshly deported from the U.S. (some brusquely removed from their families and lives in the United States where they have spent decades) try to reunite with their children or just figure out what’s next for them.
Bearing witness is painful. It is impossible not to feel deeply impacted by the pain and trauma of the individuals inside the U.S. immigration system. Even more daunting is what bearing witness demands of me: the responsibility to share what I’ve seen, and the obligation to take action. I offer these observations and reflections from my experience as a first step.