Written by Kevin Heffernan
Produced in Partnership with ECBA Volunteer Lawyers Project and Goldfarb Financial

“Why are we giving people who come here illegally welfare benefits? …. We aren’t.”

There are a lot of false claims out there about immigrants, meant to create an “other” for us to fear, and rely on some sort of a “strong man” to protect us. But in truth, immigrants are good for the US economy, wherever they go, they commit less crimes than native-born Americans at drastically lower rates, and they are all humans, just like us, looking to improve their lives.

At the height of child and family separation at the US souther border, we reached out to the Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project to ask them to explain the actual laws that govern our border. What we found to be most important is that anyone on US soil, no matter where they have come from or how they arrived, is constitutionally guaranteed the right to a trial to make their claims for asylum, and that nowhere did it say that children should be taken from their parents while they wait for their court date.

VLP approached us to expand on this series and we’ve been releasing one video per week that touches on different stereotypes and areas of confusion, to give a full explanation of what’s legal, so that we can all see what laws may be being bent or broken under the current administration as immigrants arrive to make asylum claims.

Thank you to Golfarb Financial of Buffalo, NY and New Orleans, LA for sponsoring this series’ promotion on social media.

Why do we give welfare benefits to people who come here illegally?

We aren’t.

Who is an unaccompanied minor?

You can’t take a child away from their parents and then label them an unaccompanied minor.

What happens at the border?

Everyone has a constitutionally guaranteed right to make an asylum claim in court.

Why do we have immigration judges?

We have to have impartial judges hear every asylum claim, per the constitution.

Why don’t people just come here legally?

Well, there are so few ways to do so, many must enter illegally in order to make their claim for asylum.