Call to Action: Crisis at the Border, 6/21/2018

Call to Action: Crisis at the Border, 6/21/2018

From: Elle Fersan, Director, Initiative on Immigrants and Global Migration, USC Gould School of Law

[Please Forward to Trojan Faculty, Staff and Students]

The Initiative on Immigrants and Global Migration (IIGM) is organizing a set of actions to respond to the crisis at the border and answer the call of community organizations who asked for help in specific areas where USC and other academic institutions can be most instrumental and effective.

Developing Facts:

  • The executive order signed by President Trump yesterday to “end the separation of families” will not affect the situation of the 2,500 children who were already separated from their parents.
  • While the executive order will be putting families together in detention centers, experts report that the detention period may be indefinite, and families may be detained on military bases or in newly built “internment camps”.
  • Support will be needed to monitor that migrants’ basic human rights are respected.
  • Support will be needed to help children who were separated from their families are reunited with them.
  • Support is needed to continue the public pressure on the administration to stop these actions against asylum seekers and keep them accountable to the rule of law.
  • Community Organization expect the administration to try to pass a worse immigration bill using the current events as distraction this week. We are asked to keep voicing concerns and calling out these actions and provide expert opinion that complement community organizing efforts.

Community organizations asked us to mobilize experts, opinion leaders and academics to act and speak out in the following areas:

1- URGENT Actions:

The Mayor’s office, through the Center for Human Rights, has been granted access to send out missions to ICE, and Detention Centers starting from Monday, June 25. You will find the schedule for court approved visits below highlighted in yellow. The missions will monitor compliance with the Flores Settlement  and will provide support for the detainees. We are expecting to find many children there, many will be unaccompanied.

The schedule of these court-approved visits, (which are subject to change by the Government) are as follows: 

Karnes, Tx. – Monday 6/25 and Wednesday 6/27
Dilley, Tx. – Thursday 6/28 and Friday 6/29
Berks, Pa. – Thursday 6/28 and Friday 6/29

CBP FACILITIES  – all in California (may include children separated from parents)

El Centro – Wednesday 6/27 and Thursday 6/28
Santa Teresa – Monday 7/2 and Tuesday 7/3
Yuma – Monday 6/25 and Tuesday 6/26
San Ysidro – Thursday 7/5 and Friday 7/6
Casa Padre – Pending, proposed dates are between July 6-9

ORR/Southwest Key (probably include children separated from parents)

Firm dates to be set. We have proposed July 6-9, 2018.

We need faculty/staff/students who are:

  1. Lawyers
  2. Doctors
  3. Interpreters (Spanish speakers)
  4. Paralegals
  5. Social Workers

Prior to going:

  1. Faculty/Staff who are volunteering will need fill out forms for the ICE code of conduct to be granted access to the facilities and have proper identification.
  2. Faculty/Staff who are volunteering will need to be trained on what they need to observe and report on with regard to the Flores Settlement.
  3. I am working with Social Work train volunteer faculty, staff and students on Secondary Trauma Stress.

I am working with the city and the Center for Human Rights to coordinate our missions and logistics and I am reaching out to USC administration for resources and support.

What we need now:

At this point, we are looking for faculty who are interested to joining. see the following link for roster:

You may join more than one inspection.

If you do not speak Spanish and have a friend, co-worker, colleague etc. who can serve as your interpreter and they wish to attend please let us know. The Center for Human Rights will also be arranging interpreters.

2- Speaking Out Today:

Today is the World Refugee Day, our immigration clinic at the law school is co-hosting an event at City Hall with the Mayor’s office and several community organizations to talk about refugees and community response to immigration crisis in the absence of federal government support. I will be tweeting about the event from @ellefersan

Retweeting and quoting tweets will be very helpful to get the word out about community resistance to this policy of Internment of families and vulnerable people. In fact, CHIRLA and other community organizations have asked us to keep the pressure mounting on social media to continue putting the light on this issue. The executive order is just a distraction.

3- Expert and Academic Voices:

  1. We need volunteers to write an open Letter signed by Faculty. Professor Jody Vallejo and Doctoral Student Blanca Ramirez are putting together a fact-sheet round-up which we will be sharing with you soon.
  2. We need Faculty to sign up to write Op-Eds about the new executive order or the practice of family separation, the draft bills of immigration laws currently in discussion at congress or opinion pieces about the erosion of due process, abuse of asylum seekers, violations of the international human rights laws and UN conventions, etc. We will be helping faculty to place these Op-Eds in major newspapers. Here is a sign-up sheet for those who want to participate in this effort:
  3. We need experts in mental health, law, social work, trauma, public health, emigration, policy, national security, who are available to speak to the media. You can find the sign-up sheet here:
  4. If you think you can help in any way that has not been mentioned here, please sign up here with your idea and I will reach out to you ASAP:
  5. Spread the word to other faculty, staff and Students. We need different skillsets and many people to cover several shifts and help with logistics and community organizing. We appreciate all the help we can get. People can sign up here:

I am available by email on If you receive requests from community organizations please field them to me as well.

I am expecting we will be hearing from folks soon about financial help and donations. We will keep you posted on this front.


In solidarity,

Elle Fersan