It was a moment we never thought we’d see: our client, an asylum seeker with severe disabilities, boarding a plane to meet his sponsor family in New Jersey.

Only a month ago, Manuel Amaya Portillo was nearly deported back to Honduras, where he faced persecution because of his disabilities. But we fought back and won. At the private detention center where he was held, Manuel suffered discrimination and abuse. He told us about his heartbreaking experience in detention:

“...there was a time when I thought that my life had no meaning anymore because I didn’t have the money to pay for a lawyer to take me out. When... they told me that I wasn’t eligible for asylum, I cried the whole day.”

When we first met Manuel, he was languishing in a cell being denied basic accommodations. And now, because of our work, he's free and we got to send him off to a better life. 

Moments like these are why we do the work we do. And we can’t lose sight of the fact that there are thousands more asylum-seekers suffering in brutal conditions all across Louisiana. 

Seeking asylum is a legal right, and we will not stand by as the Trump administration detains and abuses vulnerable people exercising their right to seek asylum at our borders.