By Ashley LaRiccia, Equal Justice Works Fellow , sponsored by McGuireWoods and Dupont, placed with Lutheran Services of Georgia
Our message to the legislators was and continues to be that America needs a better immigration system. We stressed that immigration enforcement must reflect American values and should include protections for unaccompanied children and families seeking asylum. I was able to speak to the offices about the unique ways in which Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG) serves immigrant and refugee families in their own congressional districts. Congressman John Lewis’s office was especially interested in issues affecting unaccompanied minors and the concerns raised by our AILA cohort about the low approval rate of asylum cases in the Atlanta Immigration Court.
During our lunch break we heard from a number of congressmen, congresswomen, and senators about their stances on immigration policy and law. A message emphasized in many of the legislators’ speeches was that America should not be detaining mothers and children seeking asylum and that such detention centers are in conflict with American values and basic human rights.
Later in the afternoon, my team met with the offices of Senator Isakson and Representative Price in order to emphasize the message that America needs immigration reform and an enforcement-only approach is not a solution. The other members of the AILA chapter met with the offices of Senator Perdue and Representatives Bishop, Austin Scott, David Scott, and Westmoreland.
If you would like to learn more about the details of AILA’s message to our Congressmen and Senators, please follow the link for an electronic version of this pamphlet that we left behind at all of our visits. http://www.aila.org/File/Related/15041400a.pdf.