On the border
Law students assist immigrants being held in Arizona detention centers
During the first week of March, before the COVID-19 pandemic began to restrict person-to-person contact in the United States, 11 Loyola law students spent their spring break volunteering to assist immigrants being held in detention centers in Arizona. The social justice experience will have a lasting effect on their law careers and on the lives of the people they helped.
The glaring early-March sun heats up the asphalt and surrounding desert on the highway from Tucson to Eloy, Arizona. It’s a bleak route for the Loyola law team traveling between two federal detention centers in the south-central part of the state. But it’s nothing compared to the long and harrowing journey most immigrants endure as they come to America’s borders in search of a better life.
“Our big-picture goal was to provide as much legal assistance to as many as possible in a week’s time,” says Professor Katherine Kaufka Walts, who, along with eight student volunteers and a few professional colleagues, spent spring break providing free legal aid to some of the state’s 7,000 immigrants—2,500 of whom are held at the Enforcement detention centers in Eloy.
Students share their stories about working with immigrants and refugees. Learn more about their experiences.