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Local group to spend holidays representing immigrant families seeking asylum

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Instead of being with their own families this Christmas, a group of South Bend residents will help other families seeking asylum.

A group of six local attorneys, activists, and Notre Dame Law students are traveling to Dilley, Texas on Christmas Day to volunteer for the Dilley Pro Bono Project.

Volunteers will work to provide pro bono legal services representing immigrant mothers and children held at a Texas immigrant detention center.

The 2,400 bed South Texas Family Residential Center holds many families who are fleeing violence in Central America and seeking asylum in the United States.

Volunteers will work December 25th through December 30th.

Executive director of La Casa de Amistad Sam Centellas says that there are misconceptions about families seeking asylum.

“Specifically with asylum, one of the things people really don’t understand, is they think a lot of these immigrants are trying to sneak into our country. They’re specifically coming to the border to request asylum,” Centellas said.

Eight thousand dollars has been raised to fully fund the holiday trip to Dilley.

Centellas says the trip’s primary goal is to provide legal support to families in need. But in the process, the project inspires others to take action, and gives law students valuable experience.

La Casa de Amistad is still raising funds for what is left of a 12 thousand dollar goal to send another group of volunteers on a spring project.

You can find more information about the fundraiser here.

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