Hoosier volunteers return from week at the U.S.- Mexico border


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A group of 16 Hoosiers, including attorneys and interpreters, is back from southern Texas where they spent a week at the country's largest detention center for women and their children.

The group was in Dilley, Texas to help migrant women apply for asylum.

Julie Sommers Neuman, executive director of the Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors, helped organize the trip. She said it was a trip prompted by coverage of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the border last summer.

Neuman described her time in Dilley as "the longest days of my life, but the shortest week. It went so fast."

She and the others spent 12- to 15-hour days preparing the women for their "credible fear interviews" before an immigration judge, interviews which could determine whether they could stay in this country or be sent away.

"The hard thing is the women have been through so much trauma, but they don't know how to tell their stories," Neuman said.

She recalled one woman "who had traveled through seven countries to get here and she was just weary. Just seeing those faces, those women, you could see in their eyes they were so weary."

Neuman, who said it was "really, really hard not to be affected" by the stories she heard.

"I was texting my kids one night and said, 'we are so fortunate and always remember how fortunate we are because we take so much for granted in this country.'"

Click here to read more about their trip.

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