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Harris Freeman: Cites activists for helping transgender asylum seekers

  • jacoblund


Monday, July 02, 2018
Cites activists for helping transgender asylum seekers

As one of the founders of ACLU of Massachusetts’ Immigrant Protection Project and part of the cohort of affiliated lawyers who assisted the transgender asylum seekers on the southern border, I thank the Gazette for giving this effort the attention it deserves (“Area lawyers go to bat for asylum seekers,” June 23).

I also want to highlight the people who really are driving the bus. Lawyers receive an inordinate share of media attention. But it is the grassroots activists and organizers who are appropriately raising hell about the Trump administration policies that deserve most of the credit.

The multistate collaboration we joined for these detained asylum seekers in New Mexico would not be possible without the activists and organizers.

The unsung local hero in this effort is Javier Luengo Garrido, the coordinator of the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Immigrant Protection Project of Western Massachusetts. He has been the behind-the-scenes mastermind of this endeavor.

His tireless organizing efforts made it all possible, bringing together the immigrant rights activists across the United States who stepped up to sponsor these women and connecting them with lawyers here in the Valley and on the U.S./Mexican border. Hats off to those activists who became sponsors for these women and to Garrido for doing the critical work that made our legal advocacy possible.

All those in the Valley who oppose the debacle unfolding on the souther border are in debt to the organizers and activists in the immigrant rights movement.

Harris Freeman

Northampton