While They Wait

Nilda and her two-year-old son Keyden fled extreme violence in Honduras only to be separated and detained in the United States. They survived family separation, but now are among more than one million applying for asylum or other legal relief, struggling to survive while they wait.

Watch "I Found You / Nilda's Story"

You Can Help




Immigrants are released in America with no money, housing, food, or clothing, and often without legal or other support services. Donate to the "While They Wait" Fund to help pay for necessities, cover immigration fees, and secure legal services for those who risked everything to be here while they wait to find out if they can stay.

The Fund


Immigrants facing deportation are not guaranteed the assistance of an attorney. Without a lawyer to help navigate the complex legal landscape, people like Nilda and Keyden are often unjustly deported. It is time for a change. Join the movement to demand a universal right to counsel in immigration proceedings.

The Petition




Nilda and her 2-year-old son, Keyden, were forced to flee their home, friends and family in Honduras. Nilda looked to the United States for safety and asylum from domestic abuse and gang violence. Then, she was detained on the border and separated from Keyden. She thought she’d never see him again.

Thousands of miles, five detention centers, and two months later, Keyden was finally returned to his mother, but their struggle for survival continues in America, as they begin to rebuild their lives.


Nilda is far from alone

She is one of over a million people living in the U.S. with open immigration cases, over 300,000 of whom are seeking asylum. Nilda, like so many others, cannot afford housing, food, clothing, and other basic necessities. Nilda must wear an ankle monitor. Nilda has a legal claim to asylum and is fortunate to have a lawyer, but most people do not have a lawyer to navigate the confusing legal maze ahead.



immigrants are living in United States currently seeking asylum. (Source: USCIS)


parents with their children in the United States have ongoing immigration cases. (As of April 2017, before increases under Trump. Source: Syracuse University TRAC)

643 days

is the average time that immigrants have to wait for an immigration case to end. (Source: Syracuse University TRAC)


is the cost to apply for work authorization while waiting. (Source: USCIS)


Overwhelming Odds

Individuals seeking asylum and other forms of legal status are often unable to afford basic necessities. They are prohibited from working without expensive and delayed work authorizations. They are not guaranteed the assistance of an attorney or other support services and are often forced to navigate the legal process alone.



Unable to Make Ends Meet

During the nearly two years it takes, on average, for a case in immigration court to wind its way through the system, people do not have resources for food, clothing, housing, transportation, and other bare necessities. Once basic needs are met, individuals are able to become self-sustaining.



Priced Out of Legal Status

Applying for legal status is expensive. Most people, who have recently arrived, cannot afford to pay the application fees. Yet they are not allowed to work without official authorization, which is costly and takes approximately 6 months to get. Recent refugees are forced to wear ankle monitors, which often come with rental fees.



In Need of Legal Representation

People need help navigating the intricacies of immigration procedures, yet they have no right to a lawyer. Only 37% of immigrants have access to counsel. In proceedings involving parents with children, only 26% have an attorney. But representation makes all the difference. For example, without counsel, only 1.6% of women and their children prevail on their asylum cases. In comparison, when women with children are represented, they prevail over 26% of the time.