I’m encouraged that things are aligning on Capitol Hill for immigration reform, but policy is not the only arena where faith communities are standing for welcome. The Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants in Chicago, one of LIRS’s detention visitation partners, is transforming a former convent in a nearby suburb into housing for people coming out of immigration detention. Housing will be available for undocumented immigrants, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable migrants who are released from detention while undergoing immigration court proceedings.
ICDI is a partner in LIRS’s Community Support Network, a program of legal and social service providers offering holistic integration services to migrants released from detention. Not only does LIRS advocate to end the harmful practice of arbitrary detention, we work with local partners who walk alongside migrants at every step of their journey.
It is wonderful to see the compassionate response of the Illinois faith community to a need often overlooked. For those of you interested in standing with migrants in your home communities, one powerful way to do so is through detention visitation. Regrettably, there are far too many migrants in detention, in far too many jails across the country. Immigration officials detain approximately 34,000 migrants and refugees each day in a system made up of hundreds of jails and jail-like facilities.
Given the startling scale of immigration detention, the need for detention visitation is enormous. LIRS has developed a comprehensive guide to starting and engaging in detention visitation ministry. Check it out today!