Lauren Connell Interviewed on Work with Central American Asylum Applicants
Akin Gump associate Lauren Connell was interviewed by NPR affiliate KQED-FM for its program The California Report. The corresponding article, “Lawsuits Challenge Detention of Central American Families Seeking Asylum,” describes the challenges faced by Central American families fleeing violence in their home countries.
The article describes conditions at the Karnes City, Texas family detention center as well as lawsuits filed to stop U.S. government agencies from incarcerating asylum seekers with children. It also notes statistics showing that, of more than 7,000 family immigration cases reviewed in a Syracuse University study, 99 percent of those who did not have legal representation ended in deportation.
Connell, who, in 2014, spearheaded Akin Gump’s pro bono efforts on behalf of the Karnes City detainees, described the challenges in getting legal representation in Karnes City, “These women are not only detained—but they’re detained in a place that’s isolated and not easily accessible.” The first time she drove from the firm’s office in San Antonio, where she was coordinating Akin Gump’s and other organizations’ efforts, to Karnes City, she thought, “Wow, this is far from where people are and can really help.”