About the Site

This website was created collaboratively by students at the University of Vermont in 2018-9, supervised by Professor Sarah Osten, with the goal of supporting the work of the Dilley Pro-Bono Project (DPBP) and its volunteer attorneys. This is the only organization providing legal representation to detained asylum seekers at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, which is the largest detention center for asylum-seeking women and their children in the United States. Legal representation for incarcerated women and children at this facility is provided by teams of volunteer attorneys and interpreters organized by the DPBP, which is part of the Immigration Justice Campaign of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  Read more about the project and their work here: http://caraprobono.org

As part of their research for Dr. Osten’s course on the history of drugs in Latin America in the fall of 2018, numerous students chose to contribute historical briefs to this site. The goal is to provide volunteer attorneys (and others) working on asylum cases for Central American migrants with easily accessible, readable briefs that introduce numerous historical topics related to the ongoing migrant exodus out of Central America, along with annotated suggestions for further reading on each topic. 

The site was curated, edited, and compiled by David J. Smith (class of 2019), along with his own research and writing, as his capstone historical research project with Dr. Osten in the spring of 2019. It was significantly revised and updated by Alexandra Smith (class of 2020) the following year.

Please contact Sarah Osten (sarah.osten@uvm.edu) to get involved or with any questions about this site and this ongoing project.

Curator’s Note: Major thanks are in order for Sarah Osten for organizing and coordinating the logistics of this joint project. The website could not have happened without your supervision, help, and dedication through every step of the process. Additionally, thank you to the Dilley Pro Bono Project for their essential work of providing volunteer legal services to Central American asylum seekers, the importance of this work can not be overstated. Thank you to Emma Lightizer for contributing significantly to the content, and, finally, thank you to all the students who provided research and writing for the website, this would not have been possible without y’all. We sincerely hope this website helps provide historical and present-day context for what is happening in Central America and the US/Mexico border.

Skip to toolbar