ProBAR Children's Project

Spotlight on Volunteers

It Was About The Kids

Yes, it was about practicing immigration law and expanding her knowledge of its many facets. But in the end, Priscilla Olivarez says her three-month stint as a ProBAR volunteer was about the kids – the clients – and seeing their resilience, their composure in meeting with an attorney, their poise in standing before a judge in a U.S. immigration court...

Read more from volunteer Priscilla Olivarez

Texas ProBAR Children's Project Protects Right of Children to Remain in the U.S.

I met Maria a month ago when she walked into a tiny conference room in a children’s detention facility near the US/Mexico border. Maria is sixteen years old and was eight months pregnant.  For the next two hours, she detailed a heartbreaking childhood spent fearing her brutally abusive father. She talked about the day members of the gang MS-13 abducted and raped her and how she eventually fled her home country because of their continuing threats against her and her family. Finally, Maria recounted her two-month journey to the United States, during which she suffered a violent assault by a drunk smuggler, her apprehension after crossing into the US, and her utter joy when she learned that her unborn child had survived the ordeal.     
Maria’s heart wrenching story is not unique. She is one of thousands of children who pass through our immigration system every year unaccompanied by a parent or guardian, each with their own motivation for making the perilous trip...

Read more from volunteer Allissa Pollard

Danny Turns 18

I quiz Danny for what seems like the hundredth time about what he needs to do once he arrives at his permanent home in the United States.  He responds haltingly in Spanish.  Learn to read…and write… and learn English.  I sigh in relief. 
I am worried.  Danny is about to turn eighteen years old.  The children who age out in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody go from the juvenile detention center—a child-friendly atmosphere—and transfer immediately into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and into an adult detention center here in the Rio Grande Valley.  Once there, age-outs like Danny go to a separate holding tank for a few days or weeks before they are transferred into the general population.  Not a place for Danny.  He is just a kid, right? Even as his eighteenth birthday looms, he is still just a kid in my mind...

Read more from volunteer JoAnna Serrato