Ranjana Natarajan

As interviewed by Ronan Rolston, February 20, 2015
"I think that the power of the state sometimes to detain people, and to deprive people of their physical liberty, that's a very awesome power, and it needs to be constrained and very limited."
Ranjana Natarajan

Introductory Profile: Intro

Ranjana Natarajan is a civil rights attorney with a strong sense of justice. I met her through my younger sister’s school, where she is very involved in volunteer activities, especially promoting diversity in the school community.

Ranjana’s goal is to make the law a tool for good instead of something to keep people where they are. During our interview, we discuss the current state of the law and especially immigration. Ranjana doesn't give a lot of personal anecdotes, but she does talk about the current condition and what happens to illegal immigrants, and what kind of things she wants to change. She talks about how people can wait for over a decade to get visas, even with relatives in the United States. If an illegal immigrant is detained, they can wait for over a year for a chance in court. Inmates of immigration detention centers get harassed, but the perpetrators don't get persecuted. Children are held in detention facilities with minimal services, not being allowed extra food or clothing. The US immigration system just isn't good enough to handle the huge influx of people from other countries, which causes a lot of injustice and bad situations. Ranjana is dedicated to to helping people who find themselves in these kinds of situations.

I expected the interview to be a lot more subjective, telling about all Ranjana’s experiences with immigration cases. But surprisingly, it was a lot more objective, focusing on how the situation is now and the kinds of things that happen often but don’t get talked about much – the kinds of things that, a lot of times, nobody does anything about.