Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Edwardo Morfin is working for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) helping undocumented immigrants obtain legal status in the United States.
July 24, 2013
People literally almost dying just to have an opportunity to better their lives and the lives of their children — these are the people I represent this summer. The stories I have heard instill a passion inside me to help those that give all they have to a country that does not even think that they are deserving of due process. While crossing the border unlawfully is a civil infraction, the people who are put in deportation proceedings are certainly deprived of their liberty, and sometimes deprived of the only life they know. This is one of the reasons why working with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project has been so rewarding — we are truly defending the defenseless.
I hear harrowing stories about how entire families risked their lives in search of a better one in the United States. One such family (mom, dad, and five kids ranging in ages from 2 to 12) risked their lives through the Arizona desert in search of the "land of opportunity," only to be stuck in the desert for five days and only moments away from death before being able to find help. And now, after years of working hard, going to school, and being law-abiding people, the kids can finally live in less fear thanks to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
In U visa applications, victims (survivors) of crimes are granted U visa status so that they can help in the investigation of crimes without fear of deportation. One client was robbed at gunpoint, and, due to his assistance to law enforcement, he helped bring criminal charges against a group of young men that had been victimizing people in rural Central Washington for several weeks. There are also many brave clients who escape the cycle of domestic violence by reporting their abusers, and getting their families out of a bad situation. The U visa certainly helps those families move on and become independent, productive members of our society.
Perhaps the most touching and stressful case I have encountered while working at NWIRP is the asylum case of a 5-year-old boy from Mexico. This little boy was conceived through sexual abuse and was abandoned by his father before he was even born. The little boy's mother cared for him until her untimely death when he was only 1. His elderly grandfather then cared for him as best as he could until his death when the little boy was only 2. An uncle, who was ill himself, tried to care for the boy, but was unable to, and decided to send him to live with his other uncle in Washington state. After a failed attempt to smuggle him into the United States at the age of two (through no fault of his own) to reunite with the only family he has left, he was placed in deportation proceedings. After he was unfairly denied SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status), it seems the only hope this little boy has left is an asylum claim. Though he is currently with his uncle in the United States, it's distressing to think that he may be deported and out on his own at only 5 years of age, in a country he doesn't know and where he has no one. Although I try my best to do all I can to help, I wish I was able to do more. I only find comfort in the thought that I am helping defend those that were once defenseless — who once had no one.