People seeking asylum in the United States often wait many months for their cases to be adjudicated. They usually have limited resources or connections in the U.S., many do not speak English, and they often have trouble finding work, even if they are lucky enough to obtain a work permit. One organization that has been helping asylum seekers for almost 30 years is Freedom House in Detroit. Now, the Detroit Metro Times reports that Freedom House is facing a severe financial crisis that could cause it to shut its doors:
[Freedom House] unexpectedly lost a major grant, and Deborah Drennan, the executive director, is worried they may have to close. “I’ve laid off six of my eight staff members, and both myself and the other two are working without a paycheck,” Drennan told [the Metro Times] last weekend. “As you know, sending people away from Freedom House is in many cases a death sentence. I can’t let this happen,” she said.
If Freedom House did close, it would be a mini-global tragedy. People come here, somehow, from all over the world. Rwanda, Cameroon, Libya, Russia. When they arrive at this century-old, redbrick house (a former convent)… they are often a malnourished, dehydrated mess. Most have been tortured, physically and psychologically; many have been raped
Freedom House provides them with shelter, food, social and legal service, job placement, ESL, and safety. The comprehensive nature of its services makes Freedom House unique. Freedom House can accommodate 35 people at a time, but because they do not turn anyone away, they are often above capacity. Over the last three decades, the organization has helped hundreds–maybe thousands–of asylum seekers establish new lives in the United States.
Given the current financial crisis, the future of Freedom House seems uncertain. The loss of this organization would be a great misfortune for asylum seekers in Michigan. If you would like to send a donation, please visit their website here. Even a modest contribution of $25 will pay for meals for all the home’s residents for one day. Hopefully, with contributions from friends and some new grant money, Freedom House will be able to continue its works for many years to come.
Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
Jason Dzubow's practice focuses on immigration law, asylum, and appellate litigation. Mr. Dzubow is admitted to practice law in the federal and state courts of Washington, DC and Maryland, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Eleventh, and DC Circuits, all Immigration Courts in the United States, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition. In June 2009, CAIR Coalition honored Mr. Dzubow for his Outstanding Commitment to Defending the Rights and Dignity of Detained Immigrants.