On today’s show, I have Haiyun Damon-Feng who is a Staff Attorney at KIND, which stands for Kids in Need of Defense.
Haiyun and I attended college together and lived in the same house and she had recently traveled to the Texas/Mexico border with KIND to speak with parents who had been detained and taken away from their children.
Haiyun shared her experience on her Facebook profile and this prompted me to ask her to come onto the podcast to share what a day in her life is like, what KIND does, what people misconstrue about refugee families, how she handles a career that is very emotionally and mentally taxing, what she struggles with the most and so much more.
At times this episode is gut wrenching but I think it’s an important topic to discuss publicly, especially for those of us living in the States. If you want to talk about this topic more with other listeners, I’d love to have you in the Day in the Life Facebook group.
Haiyun Damon-Feng | Staff Attorney at KIND
In today’s episode, you’ll find out:
- How KIND helps unaccompanied children coming into the United States.
- What her experience was like recently visiting the border and speaking with parents who have been separated from their children.
- What people misconstrue about the refugee families and the children KIND helps.
- How she handles a career that is very emotionally taxing.
- The one thing she struggles with most in her career.
- Ways people can help refugee parents and children in need right now and how you can continuously help.
Haiyun is a Staff Attorney with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), resident in KIND’s Los Angeles office. Haiyun works to ensure that unaccompanied children who arrive in the U.S. fleeing violence, abuse and instability in their home countries are represented by counsel as they go through their immigration proceedings. Recently, she has been a part of KIND’s work with children and families affected by the new immigration and family separation policies. Haiyun received her J.D. from Yale Law School and is admitted to practice law in California and New York. She speaks Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. In her free time, Haiyun likes to go hiking with her husband, Grant, and her and newly adopted puppy, Latte.
Key takeaways from this episodeKids in the U.S. immigration systems are not appointed attorneys in immigration court. - Haiyun Damon-Feng Click To Tweet The bulk of parents hadn't spoken to their kids or didn't know where their kids were and had been detained separately for a month or month and a half. - Haiyun Damon-Feng Click To Tweet
So you can imagine what it is that they’re fleeing. This is not a secret. Everyone know’s this journey is incredibly difficult and what awaits you when you get to the border is a lot of uncertainty. – Haiyun Damon-FengIt was really difficult emotionally. It was a lot more difficult for me working with the parents. - Haiyun Damon-Feng Click To Tweet
These are parents who came with their children and didn’t expect to be jailed or detained for a month and half. They didn’t expect for their kids to be taken from them. – Haiyun Damon-FengIt was really difficult emotionally. It was a lot more difficult for me working with the parents. - Haiyun Damon-Feng Click To Tweet
These are parents who came with their children and didn’t expect to be jailed or detained for a month and half. They didn’t expect for their kids to be taken from them. – Haiyun Damon-FengEach person had a story about how they were taken from their children. It was really difficult watching the parents. - Haiyun Damon-Feng Click To Tweet
It was so hard to hear these parents stories and to know that their kids are suffering, to know that they’re suffering, and not be able to help. – Haiyun Damon-FengWith time, it got easier to be able to compartmentalize job and home life. But when I went to Texas and I came back, I was having nightmares. - Haiyun Damon-Feng Click To Tweet
I think the best that you can do is remember that you’re doing something and that you’re striving towards something. – Haiyun Damon-Feng
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