Our private online community is growing! The group has expanded by nearly 100 members this past month, bringing our total membership to more than 2,600 mothers seeking asylum in over 30 states. Through the online community, the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) and CLINIC connect women who live in areas with little-to-no access to legal aid with legal information about the asylum process and the tools they need to defend their case.
Each day in the community, mothers exchange experiences building roots in a new place, ask questions of legal experts, and build collective power through the shared experience of fighting for their safety and the future of their families. Women’s posts are typically viewed by more than 1,000 other women across the nation. In just this past month, we’ve seen over 7,000 posts, comments, and reactions on the group and noted a 50% increase in overall activity.
ASAP provides approximately 50-100 referrals per month around the country, helping members to contact local nonprofit organizations and visit local pro se help desks where possible. ASAP also identifies members in need of emergency legal assistance and intervenes to represent members when there are no local options.
This was the case for a Salvadoran mother whose deportation order was recently reversed with ASAP’s help. ASAP connected with this mother through our online community, where we informed her that she needed to attend all of her court hearings and explained how to check if a hearing had been scheduled. This mother, like many others in our group, had not received information about the asylum process until joining our community. When she called to find out her hearing date, she realized she had already missed her hearing and had received a deportation order for not attending. ASAP mobilized to file an emergency motion to reopen her case and stay her deportation. Recently, the mother was excited to learn that she won her motion. She will now have the opportunity to have her asylum case fully heard and to fight alongside her daughter to find safety in the United States away from her abusive husband.
Our online community is a safe place for mothers to share heartbreak, loss, triumph, and power. Many women approach the space feeling alone and scared, but in seeing their experiences and fears reflected in the posts of other women, mothers find a powerful reminder that their struggle is not singular and is shared. Every week we see mothers lift each other up and encourage each other to continue fighting. The resilience of these mothers teaches us that one of the strongest tools we have to fight for justice for asylum seekers is and will continue to be community.