“I am a woman with a foot in both worlds; and I refuse the split. I feel the necessity for dialogue, advocacy and critical advisement. Sometimes I feel it urgently.” These are the words of Chicana author Cherríe Moraga, in the intersectional feminist masterpiece This Bridge Called my Back (1981). Moraga's words exemplify what we Rutgers law students – Mumbi Ngugi and Cindy Guaman - hope to do in our upcoming spring break trip to the US-México border.
Passionate for social justice and yearning to make an impact, we are thrilled at the opportunity to travel to Juarez to provide legal assistance to asylum seekers waiting to apply for protection in the U.S.
Forced to remain in Mexico due to the Trump administration’s implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocol, also known as the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, certain foreign individuals seeking admission or entering the country from Mexico must now wait in deplorable and life-threatening conditions for months or years in Mexican border cities. In our trip to the US-Mexico border, we Rutgers Law Students and Immigrant Rights Clinic Staff Attorneys will work with Estamos Unidos Asylum Project of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) to provide legal immigration assistance, in Spanish, to asylum seekers who fall under this policy.
We are so excited to be of service to immigrants seeking protection from the horrors they endured back in their country. Below please find a little bit about what we are individually looking forward to regarding this opportunity.
I, Mumbi Ngugi, a Social Justice Scholar at Rutgers Camden campus, feel strongly about the importance of listening to the subaltern to speak. I look forward to the Immigrant Rights Clinic’s trip volunteering to assist asylum seekers as an opportunity to use the law to affirm the agency of the systematically marginalized—in order to help get their presently speaking voices heard. I look forward to being moved by the stories I get to hear and I hope, practically, that migrants will be aided by the work we’ll get to do, such that people will feel equipped with the tools they need to advocate for themselves.
I, Cindy Guaman, President of the Immigrant Rights Collective and Vice President of Community Affairs for the Association of Latin American Law Students (ALALS) at Rutgers’ Newark campus, look forward to making a positive impact in the lives of people who are seeking the protection of the United States, only to be turned back to a country they do not know. I hope we are able to assist as many people as we can so they have the knowledge necessary to tell their story.
Our volunteer group has set up a donation fund which will serve the dual purpose of providing a donation to migrants, or an organization or shelter assisting migrants, in Juarez, Mexico via cash or Costco gift cards so that they can purchase food, medicine, and other necessities, as well as to funding future similar volunteer trips hosted by Rutgers Law School. Those interested in making a donation can visit our GoFundMe page. We will also be hosting fundraisers on both the Newark and Camden campuses in support of our shared goals to be able to continue to provide the opportunity for students to engage with this border trip in the coming years.
We believe that what our country is making migrants endure is unconscionable. The country has turned their back on those that need it the most and we have a duty to do something about it.