BLAST- Tijuana will send a group of students to Tijuana, Mexico to work with Al Otro Lado, a bi-national, direct legal services organization serving indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees.
There is an urgent humanitarian crisis at our U.S.-Mexico border. Migrant caravans arrive in Tijuana and are met with resistance in violation of U.S. immigration laws. Under U.S. asylum law, asylum seekers who present themselves at the border cannot be turned away. However, the realities on the ground are different. Migrants are placed on an illegal list and forced to wait in Mexico until their numbers are called. This is an important reality law students should witness to see first-hand how laws are applied in perverse ways. It is also valuable for students to engage in direct legal work with migrants seeking asylum. There is a shortage of attorneys and law students that can meet the needs of the thousands of migrants seeking help. Therefore, it is incumbent on us to try and mitigate the shortage of legal help needed.
Law students will have the opportunity to complete client intakes, prepare clients for credible fear and reasonable fear interviews, conduct know your rights presentations, and engage in other services to support migrants in their search for asylum.
Time Commitment: Tijuana BLAST is unique in that it is the only BLAST trip over Winter Break. Additionally, students should be available to travel to Tijuana on the weekends prior and subsequent to the trip, and should only apply if they are available to commit to one full week over winter break (approx. Dec. 15-21). We anticipate that trip participants will have monthly trainings/meetings with some social events throughout the school year. Training will likely be once a month in the 12:45-2:00 lunch slot or in the evenings. The training topics may include asylum law, handling secondary trauma, and working with interpreters. Students will be expected to participate in fundraising (events, online, and others) but there is no required minimum amount that they have to raise.
Note: Please consider all legal work will be done in Tijuana, Mexico and will involve traveling internationally. If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to travel internationally please contact a member of the Pro Bono Program.
For more information, please contact the student leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gaby Bermudez '22
"This experience provided a lot of insight into the injustice happening on the ground in Tijuana and the volunteer efforts attempting to mitigate it. I wish everyone could witness what migrants are facing to better understand the scope of the problem."
Ana Urgiles '22
"I wanted to join BLAST Tijuana because of my personal experience with immigration and to continue my commitment to serving immigrant communities."