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April 10, 2018

On the sunny, brisk morning of the first day of Vanderbilt spring break, I am cramped in a bronze minivan with six other students, cruising along the highway out of Nashville.

All of us are Vanderbilt students, but we have only just met. My six companions are all law students. I am the lone graduate student on the trip who is helping as a Spanish interpreter, although I have taken immigration law courses. To break the ice, we go around one by one and introduce ourselves, including where we are from.

March 29, 2018

When I volunteered for SIFI at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, I didn’t know what to expect. But I certainly didn’t expect this.

I didn’t expect to be afraid when I entered the first gate and it shut behind me, as the second gate in front of me remained closed. I was literally trapped between the two outside entry gates, like one of the hamsters I used to own.

February 27, 2018

Shortly after the Trump administration’s anti-immigration strategy began to take effect last year, the SPLC launched SIFI. With four bare-bones offices in Georgia and Louisiana, SIFI is helping undocumented immigrants by getting them released from detention on bond.

February 26, 2018

Roberto Bladimir Peraza Tobar came to the U.S. from El Salvador in 2008 on an H2B visa for temporary, non-agricultural workers. He thought he was going to Louisiana to do reconstruction work, but found himself entangled in a cruel human trafficking scheme.

He spent his first four months in the U.S. crammed into various apartments – at times sharing a single apartment with up to 20 men – with limited access to food. He was forced to work for almost no pay.

February 26, 2018

This client, who did not wish to be named, came to the U.S. from Mauritania in 2013 on a tourist visa. He came here because he wanted to practice Christianity without fear. While studying abroad in Tunisia, he converted from Islam to Christianity. He began translating religious videos into Arabic, and published them on YouTube.

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