This is why people seek asylum / Razones por las cuales buscan el asilo
I wrote this column for the Chatham County Line in response to the removal of domestic violence and gang rule as grounds for seeking refuge in the United States. Thank you to Luis Melodelgado for the translation into Spanish.
In March, I joined faculty and students from North Carolina State University on an alternative spring break trip to support the Cara Pro Bono legal team at the women's detention center in Dilley, Texas. Most of the women we spoke with were fleeing domestic violence or gang rule.
One common thread to their stories did not make it into the final article. The men they dealt with were overwhelmingly young, in their teens and twenties. The men's emotional bandwidth was incredibly narrow. By the end of my time in Dilley, I felt an unexpected compassion for these young men. Their lives seem stunted by the violent societies in which they grew up.
With all the focus on asylum seekers and gang members, it can be easy to miss the work some organizations are doing to improve things. The American Friends Service Committee, for example, is busy organizing Peace Networks in both Guatemala and El Salvador.