Immigration detention is big business and this coupled with the fact that immigration detainees are not subject to the same rights and protections afforded prisoners means immigrants in detention face special circumstances. As disciples of one who was imprisoned and abandoned, we are uniquely positioned to respond to the immigration detention crisis and remember Christ’s words telling us that when we visit those who are imprisoned we visit him.
Detention centers are located throughout the country and often found in rural communities, far from the families and support systems of the immigrants housed in them. One Presbyterian pastor visited a stranger in detention at the request of his mother who lived in Brazil and found out about the pastor from another person. The man in detention started to cry and exclaimed that he was certain now that God had not forgotten about him.
Presbyterians can join the work being done by:
- Learning the facts about immigration detention
- The impact of for profit prison corporations
- Finding out if a detention center is located in your community
- Consider setting up a visitation program to visit people in detention
- Watch a recent webinar on visitation programs
- Learn about deportation (in Spanish)
- Listen to stories of detention
- Educate the local community by using our Detention Tool Kit
If someone you know is detained but you are unsure of their location, use ICE's Online Detainee Locator or call their Community Helpline at 1-888-351-4024. Be sure you have the appropriate information, including Name, Country of birth, and date of birth. If you know the person's "A Number," that information will also be helpful.