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July 20, 2018

Morena Vasquez called Georgia her home for 23 years after escaping the violence and murder in El Salvador.

A mother to six children, Morena, 38, held two jobs. She moved her family from a trailer into a five-bedroom rental home after her husband – a Mexico native – was deported.

Through it all, she remained happy, and was grateful that she no longer lived in fear.

One evening, though, the life she loved, the life she had so preciously crafted, irrevocably changed.

June 22, 2018

After a 1,500-mile trek from Honduras, Moises and his 6-year-old son, Carlos, crossed the border together in May.

Immigration officials stopped them near McAllen, Texas. After only a few hours together in custody, immigration officials took the boy without warning to a separate area and placed him in a cage. Moises was handcuffed and taken away, too.

They never had a chance to say goodbye.

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.