GUEST ROOM | My Residence Hall Director Taught Me How To Salsa And What It Means To Be Human

In July of 2019, my two hour visit to 1 Federal Plaza, New York City’s Asylum Court, scratched the surface in seeing the true failings of the American immigration legal machine. Unaccompanied children were scattered across the waiting room, sitting on each other’s laps, each of them waiting on their chance at a chance. Many of them were too young to understand the gravity of that day; most of them didn’t have a tight enough grasp on the English language to understand the legal jargon spoken in the ether. A six year old girl timidly filed into the courtroom alone, and with the help of a translator, asked to be deported to reunite with her parents in Honduras; the judge pounded his gavel dismissively and called the next case. As an intern who was merely shadowing an immigration lawyer, I witnessed an indelible moment in this little girl’s life that came about in five fleeting minutes.