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Free hotline set up to help migrant mothers released from detention

PHOENIX — Migrant mothers who were separated from their children at the southern border now have a free hotline they can call after they’ve been released from detention.

“It’s a national legal referral number that people can call upon release from detention centers in order to be referred to legal services in whichever legal jurisdiction they’re headed to,” said Julie Schwietert-Collazo, founder of Immigrant Families Together.

“The reason that we’re launching this is because we anticipate that there will be a mass release of women from various detention facilities over the next couple of weeks,” she said.

Schwietert-Collazo’s group created the hotline. She said it will be staffed with volunteers who speak English and Spanish.

“They will be trained in ‘know your rights’ and cultural sensitivity, as well as a general awareness about the trauma and conditions that the people who will have this number have been facing,” she said.

Since its formation about a month ago, Schwietert-Collazo’s New York-based grassroots group has been helping mothers get released from the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona. The group pays for bonds to get the mothers released using donations and then helps them reunite with their children.

As of Friday, they’d helped nine mothers get released from the Eloy facility and were working to help three others.

For now, the hotline will focus on pro bono legal services. Schwietert-Collazo said as they begin to receive calls, they may identify other services that may be offered through the hotline.

The hotline number is 1-833-4-AYUDAS (1-833-429-8327).

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