September 13, 2018

By: Anna Berry

Attorney Susanne Gilliam, right, spent a week in July volunteering in Texas and is pictured here with her translator, Rosa Marie. (Courtesy photo

For attorney Susanne Gilliam, a spur-of-the-moment trip to Texas wasn’t your average summer vacation — it was life-changing.

Gilliam was volunteering with the Immigration Justice Campaign to help families detained and separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, many of whom are seeking asylum. She spent a week in El Paso just as the government faced a court-ordered deadline to reunite families on July 26.

“[I]n the 61 years of my life, I can tell you that the only equally significant event was the birth of my first child,” she says of her service.

Gilliam, who has a solo practice of elder law and mediation in Sudbury, Massachusetts, called Gilliam Legal, had no prior experience in immigration law and graduated from law school three years ago.

The Immigration Justice Campaign has a mission to fight for due process and justice for detained immigrants and is an initiative of the American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the American Immigrant Representation Project.

Read more in the next Bar News issue published Sept 19, 2018, with additional diary entries only published here online.