Thursday, September 19, 2019
Jodi Goodwin is an immigration attorney based out of Harlington, Texas. That's about 30 minutes outside of Brownsville, Texas which is just across the river from Matamoros, Mexico.
She's been doing direct service work for individuals who are subject to the administration's inaptly named "Migrant Protection Protocols" also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program.
Here is how she describes the reality of MPP on the ground:
Two days. 100 degrees. 100% humidity. And a beautiful rainbow to start our second day this weekend in Matamoros with Project MPP Matamoros. We saw about 80 plus principal applicants (that means we didn't count spouses and children so the real reach is much higher) to help them understand immigration court proceedings and asylum applications.
But not just that....today I met with 5 pregnant or just had their babies in the last week women. One thrown back into Mexico after CBP had taken her to hospital to stop her contractions, one so heavily pregnant she spent 7 days in the hielera only to be sent to Mexico to give birth less than 12 hours after CBP threw her back. Another 13 weeks along dehydrated, sick, living in inhumane conditions on the streets of Mexico that she fainted and then began vomiting. No one from the Mexican authorities came to assist. Myself and some other refugees grabbed some chairs to make a makeshift bed, had her drink rehydration salts and used peppermint oil to bring her back after the fainting spell. More electrolytes, water, and a granola bar I had in my bag. It took about 40 minutes until her pupils returned to normal. Luckily, a Cuban refugee with some EMT training was barking orders for us to try to find the various things he thought could help her all while checking her vitals super old school style with a watch to count her pulse and listening for her breaths as she laid on the makeshift bed. I guess street lawyering means you are also a nurse/EMT. Glad I had the things the Cuban man was barking orders to find.
There are so many stories I can tell. MPP is wrong on a moral level. MPP is wrong legally.
Then there are all the court documents that have fake addresses where CBP puts in an address to a shelter that no one can get in. They are homeless. But the judges buy those fake addresses and use them to deport people. The "tear sheets" which are supposed to instruct refugees how to appear to court are either not given at all or given with wrong information telling them to appear at the bridge at the same time their hearing is supposed to start which ensures they will not make it to their hearing on time. Then there are those thrown back without even giving them their court documents. When they go to the bridge to ask about their paperwork they are told CBP doesnt handle that.....when in fact it is CBP who does! How in the world are refugees supposed to know when and where to go to court when CBP won't even give them the court documents. And of course I can not fail to mention all the defects in the court charging documents....it goes on and on.
We are better than this. The humanitarian crisis has not gone away it is just south of the border and worse than ever. In 24 years as a lawyer I have never seen so much extreme cruelty. If you are a lawyer and have some time to work remotely on document preparation contact me. If you are a Spanish Speaking Immigration lawyer with asylum law experience, we could use you for 4 days of your life from Friday to Monday. #L4GG