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Frequently Asked Questions - Dilley

Below, please find answers to some of our Frequently Asked Questions.

About Proyecto Dilley

What kind of work will I do?

Volunteers perform a wide variety of tasks that range from data entry and document scanning to representing clients in immigration court hearings. Most of our volunteer work consists of giving know-your-rights presentations and preparing clients for their credible fear interviews with an asylum officer. Prospective volunteers should note that needs on-the-ground can change rapidly, and so it is important to be flexible and be ready to take on different types of work. We ask that volunteers be willing to step outside their comfort zone and dedicate themselves to a challenging, but life-changing, week.

I do not speak Spanish. Can I still volunteer on-the-ground?

The majority of the women and children detained at Dilley speak Spanish. They face daily government efforts to curb their ability to access protection in the U.S. As such, the work on the ground relies on volunteers who can effectively communicate with these women and advocate on their behalf.

For this reason, we are currently recruiting for Spanish speaking volunteers. Exceptions for English-only speaking volunteers will be made on a case by case basis. We ask that such volunteers bring their own interpretation or have remote interpretation available to them.

Are there any Volunteer Restrictions?

All volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Non-U.S. Citizens must be able to demonstrate lawful immigration status. Certain non-immigrant visitors on J, A, and B1/B2 visas are not eligible to volunteer. DACA holders are also no longer permitted to volunteer.

While not a restriction, volunteers with medical conditions should consult with their physician about any safety concerns of entering a detention facility. You could be exposed to certain communicable diseases. Volunteers can only bring in a day’s worth of medicine and there is no way to refrigerate it once insider the jail.

What is the financial and time commitment?

All volunteers must self-fund their trip. We have created an estimated budget for a week on the ground in Dilley. Many volunteers host fundraisers in their community to travel to Dilley.

While the on-the-ground team will provide guidance throughout the week in real time, the typical work schedule is as follows:

  • Volunteers attend an in-person orientation in Dilley on Sunday at 5pm CT. Please make your travel arrangements with that time in mind.
  • Volunteers work Monday-Friday from about 7:30am to 7 or 8pm with a break for lunch from 12-1pm. Please note that things on the ground can change rapidly, so these hours are an estimate.
  • We hold two additional Big Table volunteer meetings on Monday and Thursday nights from 8:15 to about 9:30 PM.

We ask that volunteers book their return flights for the Saturday following the work week to ensure their ability to complete a full day of work on Friday (possibly up to 8pm). Most volunteers fly into San Antonio and then make the 1.5-hour trip in rental cars to Dilley. There is no public transportation. Once you are confirmed to volunteer, you will receive additional trip and logistics planning information.

I’ve applied! When should I make my travel arrangements?

Please do not make travel arrangements until a member of our staff confirms the dates for your volunteer week. You will receive an email from a team member when your dates are confirmed.

Proyecto Dilley

Six Proyecto Dilley volunteers report from their week on-the-ground with the Proyecto Dilley Pro Bono Project

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