Seeking Asylum in Delaware County: Boris & Maria’s Story
Fri, Nov 04, 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

TALK / DEMO, FUNDRAISER

Bushel invites the community for an urgent, special event to help two Russian doctors make their way from an ICE detention facility in Louisiana to settle in Delaware County, New York. This event is organized by the Delaware County Citizens for Refugee Support (DCCRS). It is free and open to the public; masks are optional but encouraged.

Maria and Boris are Russian dissidents and medical doctors who have been active supporters of Alexei Navalny’s opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime and campaigners against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. After constant harassment by Russian police Maria and Boris fled to the US and requested political asylum. They ended up at a privately run detention camp in Louisiana where they have endured horrific mistreatment including limited drinking water, substandard meals, and overcrowded and unsafe conditions. Throughout their 6-plus month detention, DCCRS member Dan Gashler (SUNY-Delhi history professor) has been speaking with Maria and Boris as a volunteer advocate. To be released from the facility, Maria and Boris must secure bonds and have a plan in place for resettlement. DCCRS has welcomed Maria and Boris to resettle in Delaware County.

During this event, Gashler will give context on our broken refugee processing system and share an interview he conducted with Boris describing his and Maria’s situation in Russia and now in US immigration detention. There will be time for a Q&A and volunteer sign-ups to aid and welcome Maria and Boris in our area.

DCCRS has initiated a GoFundMe campaign to raise $25,000 to help Boris and Maria transition from asylum seekers to productive and valued residents of Delaware County. They will need accommodation, medical attention, legal assistance, and financial support until they are able to secure work permits. In addition DCCRS seeks housing options and volunteers to help with food, transportation, supplies, translation, and neighborly support. Please email DCCRS if you can help in any of these areas.

About Delaware County Citizens for Refugee Support (DCCRS)
Formed in 2021 by Delaware County residents Sangeeta Pratap, Esther Lee, Dan Gashler, and Mina Takahashi, DCCRS is a burgeoning community-based organization founded with the aim of helping to support refugee resettlement efforts in Delaware County. They have conducted a community reading group to learn about US immigration history and have consulted with like-minded organizations nationwide. DCCRS welcomes others in the community to join in this work. (email: delcocrs@gmail.com; website in formation)