Title Image: Fabian Fouth

Arguments in online comment sections will not solve the crisis at our borders, nor our nation’s dysfunctional immigration system.

Expertise, compassion, common sense and clarity might.

After the US began a policy of separating parents and their children who arrived at our southern border, and putting those children into cages in 2018, we were alarmed and confused. From then and into today, ICE has neglected the children in their care, and many of them have died as a result of the inadequate healthcare, housing, and provisions we as a country are providing to the children we took from their parents.

As debates raged online, we noticed that people on both sides of the aisle were dramatically uninformed about how US immigration policy is supposed to work, and how it was being carried out. 

We reached out to some of the most knowledgable immigration experts in the region, the team of lawyers from Volunteer Lawyers Project who operate throughout WNY, especially at the federal immigration detention facility in Batavia, to give a baseline understanding of US immigration law, from asylees to refugees, policies for handling minors and adults, and what the Constitution says versus what the Trump administration has been instructing ICE and CBP to carry out.

These series are void of political opinion and rich with facts. The series is not about proving who is right – in fact our own prior opinions were turns upside-down after hearing from VLP – it’s about getting the truth out there about the law. Online, especially on Rise’s Facebook, it has been a welcome place for civil discussion from both sides of the aisle. Our audience is now better informed about what’s happening at our border, at our detention facilities, and in our courtrooms, or at least what should be happening according to the law.

This series was made possible through the generous sponsorship of three organizations who willingly jumped in to attach their name to this effort; Try-it Distributing, Goldfarb Financial and Follow the Hummingbird PBC Business Consulting. They knew the risk of being involved in an explosive topic and project, and decided to jump in anyways to fund our video productions. Thank you to those organizations and to everyone who viewed these videos and engaged in civil conversation online.

Finally, this series wouldn’t exist without the passion and expertise of the attorneys at Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. Their passion for the truth, for their clients and for justice is incredibly noble, especially in these uncertain times. We cannot thank them enough for taking time out of their extremely busy schedules and heavy caseloads to speak to our cameras and help inform us all.

Please enjoy this series while keeping in mind our fellow humans who are seeking a better life and escaping oppression that so many of us are fortunate enough to never know, by crossing our border.

101: ¿Por qué las personas no vienen a EEUU legalmente?

101: Why are we giving welfare benefits to immigrants who enter the US illegally? (We’re not.)

101: Why don’t immigrants just come to the US legally?

101: Are children, separated from their parents, supposed to be treated as unaccompanied minors? (No.)

101: What happens at the border?

101: Why do we have immigration judges?

102: Bebes Ancla

102: Six Different Immigration Agencies

102: Anchor Babies

102: Who is a refugee?

102: Who is an asylee?

102: Why does the US give citizenship to everyone born here, even if their parents are not here legally?

201: Casarse con un ciudadano estadounidense

201: Can Marriage = a Green Card?

201: How do most undocumented immigrants come to the US? (Legally)

201: Do immigrants  commit crimes at higher rates than US citizens? (No. Not even close.)

201: Can visa holders be deported from the US?