News

Published:

April 17, 2019
 

Local Internship: Make the Road NY


by Gabriela Murillo '20

The summer of 2018 I had the pleasure to work alongside Make the Road NY (MRNY) and take part in the detention defense project helping immigrant families across the state. During my internship, I worked with the lead organizer of Make the Road NY, Luba Cortes, and conducted and attended several events, workshops, actions, press conferences and rallies to raise awareness for the ongoing immigrant crises. Make the Road NY has been working on immigrant rights since its creation and has also supported many laws that have made the quality of life of immigrants in NY better. The organization partnered with several other NGO’s such as LegalAid, Bronx Defenders, The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP) to provide legal aid and the NGO Aliadxs to help provide diapers, food, lightly worn clothes, and other necessities.

My work at MRNY was mainly based on immigrant defense. I would follow-up with affected members of the immigrant community who had loved ones that were detained and were in the process of deportation. The help of the legal team at MRNY facilitated this tedious process. Specifically, I answered urgent phone calls from those seeking help and would have to get a series of information from them regarding their loved one’s credentials. If a customer needed help locating their loved one, I would have to track them down using the ICE locator or the hotline. After getting down all the important information, I followed up with the legal team to see if the detainee qualified, for NYIFUP for free legal representation in court. This process was extremely important and time-sensitive because many of these cases were post-order, meaning that the detainee already had a previous order of deportation and was weeks away from getting deported unless they had a good lawyer and case to defend. Many of these cases required one-on-one meetings with the relative or loved one that had someone detained and, in many cases, I accompanied them to attorney’s that MRNY works with in order to translate and represent the organization. I successfully was involved with a series of cases that released those who were detained and at risk of being deported.

One of the greatest achievements I was involved in at MRNY were the popular cases of Pablo Villavicencio, and Margarito and Concepcion Silva that were broadcasted nationwide. Pablo Villavicencio was delivering pizza to a military base in Fort Hamilton when he was asked for ID and later arrested and detained. The similar case of Margarito and Concepcion Silva also received a lot of publicity when these two grandparents went to visit their son-in-law at the Fort Drum military base on the 4th of July and were also arrested and detained for the same reasons. I had the absolute pleasure of working alongside MRNY and other partnering organizations to fight these cases and successfully work towards getting all three released from prison and stop the deportation process.

My time at MRNY was an amazing experience that allowed me to participate in many unforgettable events such as, press-conferences, rallies, a workshop that received publicity on TV and news sites, and an event to help raise awareness of family separation at the 2018 Video Music Awards in partnership with famous rapper Logic and his team. Most importantly, MRNY helped me be more aware of the ongoing immigrant crisis and allowed me to get firsthand experience on what truly happens behind the scenes at these detention prisons and get one-to-one experience with those who are affected by immigration policies. Lastly, I am grateful for the impact I was able to make on some people while working to help get their loved ones released and the involvement I had in making a stronger immigrant community.

 
 
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