The calls for help started coming in to immigration lawyers across the country just before Memorial Day. Immigrant detainees, many fleeing gangs and violence and seeking legal asylum in the U.S., were flooding courtrooms along the Southwest border.
Dozens were parents reporting that Border Patrol agents had taken away their children, and many were under the impression they would see their sons and daughters again within hours.
“We had to break the news to them that that wasn’t true,” said Efrén C. Olivares, who was among the attorneys with the Texas Civil Rights Project to come to the aid of public defenders in McAllen. “And then the question became, ‘If not today, then when?’
“We didn’t have an answer to that.”
Nine weeks of chaos and confusion later, many still don’t.