Asylum Initiative

The Asylum Initiative serves detained immigrants at Mississippi’s Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility

Sally Joyner . (Mid-South Immigration Advocacy)

Human Rights

Our story

Asylum seekers are under attack. Harsh new policies force families and children to live on the streets in Mexico for months before they are given the opportunity to enter the U.S. Those fortunate enough to make it to the U.S. are then separated from family members and transferred to isolated, rural prisons to begin the legal process.

Traumatized and disoriented, asylum seekers detained in these facilities often have no idea where they are, where their family is, what is happening next, or why they are in prison.

This may seem like a distant nightmare—but the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility in North Mississippi is right in our own backyard.

At any given time, around 1,500 fathers, teachers, farmers, doctors, husbands, sons, students, grandfathers, human rights activists, and other survivors from all over the world are detained at the maximum-security facility, awaiting the first screening interview in their claim for asylum.

Whether they “pass” or “fail” this interview, the asylum seekers are only in Mississippi for around a month before being transferred to one of the many prisons in Louisiana, either for an immigration judge to have a full hearing on their case, or for their deportation.

We provide critical information to each asylum seeker

Three times each week, staff and volunteers with MIA’s Asylum Initiative visit detained asylum seekers to provide critical information on the legal process, their rights, and asylum law. This information is essential for these men as they prepare for their telephonic interviews with an asylum officer. The purpose of these interviews is to determine whether they will have the right to see a judge; our guidance sets them up for success.

Help us to provide further legal support and family reunification

Although providing legal orientation is essential for asylum seekers to successfully navigate their screening interviews, we want to do more. The people detained at Tallahatchie are in need of services we cannot currently provide with our limited funding and capacity.

With your support, our Asylum Initiative can expand our services to this vulnerable population, including comprehensive legal screenings and referrals to pro bono attorneys in Louisiana, representation during interviews with asylum officers, and preparation of parole requests so these men can be released from detention and reunited with family while going through the legal process.

A $20 donation can cover water and lunch for volunteers or staff on the road.

A contribution of $150 funds transportation to the detention center.

$200 provides a comprehensive legal screening for an asylum seeker.

A gift of $350 helps fund one parole packet for an asylum seeker requesting release from detention.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 by the end of 2019 to support this project. Your gift helps us fight back against the relentless attacks on immigrants seeking freedom and safety in our country.



Sandra Gibbs

Thank you for all your hard work, keep up the good fight! Merry Christmas!



Thank you for your work--and for spreading hope. This donation will be matched 2:1 by my company.



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