IMMIGRANT DEFENSE AND SUPPORT
The Cleveland Immigration Working Group is a collaborative of representatives of faith communities and immigrant defense organizations—as well as committed individuals—that meets regularly to share information and coordinate strategies to meet the needs of immigrants in our communities (particularly those at risk of deportation). We’re engaged in a number of immigrant defense and support activities.
We need more volunteer help.
Please read below and consider helping with some of these needs. If you would like to learn more about any of these initiatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (216) 961 0003.
A. Safe Hotels Campaign #NoHotelsForICE
We are part of a national campaign pressuring hotels (chains and their local franchises) to commit to not doing business with ICE. No temporary detention beds. No workplace raids.
We need volunteers to coordinate visits to local hotel managers in NE Ohio (and coordinate those visits with any union workers at the hotels). Some national chains have signed onto the campaign, but the local franchise owner and management might be unaware or unwilling to enforce the pledge. Read about the #NoHotelsForICE campaign here and sign the petition here.
Petition can be found at https://actionnetwork.org/
Pledged: Some of the hotels that have signed onto the pledge include Choice (Comfort Inn, EconLogdge, Quality Inn), Hilton (DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Homewood Suites, HomeStead Suites, Waldorf Astoria), Marriott (Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, TownePlace Suites, Westin)
B. Rapid Response Team
You read about the raids in Mississippi on August 7 that led to the apprehension of 680 poultry workers, ripping them from the families. It was the largest single state raid in US history!
In the summer of 2018, we, too, had large ICE raids in Ohio: June 5: 114 apprehended in Norwalk/Sandusky (Corso’s Nursery), June 19: 146 in Salem (FreshMark Meats). There was an overwhelming outpouring of support from Ohioans to those families. One of the organizations formed in response, Los Niños de Corso (Children of Corso), continues to respond to the needs of vulnerable immigrant families in Ohio and beyond.
We need to be ready for the next big ICE raid in northern Ohio. A coordinating team has identified several areas of response: getting people to turn out at the raid site, show up at the ICE office and detention centers, collect and deliver material aid to families left behind, provide counseling for children and spouses, hold fundraisers for the families…more.
The coordinating team for Rapid Response has several working sub-teams that meet every two weeks: community education/outreach/networking; volunteer training; family needs (material and emotional); spiritual + mental health support; technology; legal services.
C. Bond Packets-Release from Detention
Hundreds of immigrants are detained across northern Ohio: in Tiffin (Seneca County Jail), in Chardon (Geauga County Jail), in Youngstown (NE Ohio Correctional Center, a for-profit prison). The only way they can get out is to request a “redetermination of custody” hearing at which the immigration judge can set a bond (usually $7500-$15,000). Volunteers are working with lawyers and the families of the detainees to gather documents and organize them into packets for the bond hearings. Lawyers say that judges almost always grant bonds to immigrants who present well-organized packets illustrating their ties to the community and commitment from a sponsor (friend or relative).
D. Court Monitoring
Ohio is one of 29 states with a US immigration court, and Cleveland is the site of that court. People drive from as far as Cincinnati and neighboring states to present their cases. Several judges hear the cases, including the cases of those detained across the state (via closed-circuit TV). Lawyers tell us that having volunteer monitors in the courtroom helps temper the judges. They encourage us to keep people monitors in the courtroom.
E. Bus Reception
We are part of a network of groups across the country who are welcoming migrants at bus stations (e.g., Greyhound) and providing them with food, backpacks, and other needed supplies. Most times they are just passing through; some have recently been released from immigration detention. We need volunteers who can respond within an hour or two. We receive last minute notices from volunteers in other towns that a bus carrying some migrants will be passing through Cleveland, asking if we can go meet them.
F. Public Actions
The public continues to be outraged by the harsh immigration enforcement practices going on across the country. We continue to keep the issue in the forefront: vigils, marches, rallies, street theatre.
G. Sponsor Families
Some immigrant detainees have nowhere to go if/when they are bonded out of detention (assuming they can raise the money). We are developing a network of sponsor families to host them for a few months once they are released from detention.
H. Help for ICE Raid Victims and those in detention
The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network is coordinating assistance for families impacted by the Aug 7 raids in Mississippi. See how you can help: http://bit.ly/StandWithMS. The Immigration Working Group CLE has a defense fund for detained immigrants: Donate at https://www.facebook.com/iwgcle or
I. Prayer Support
Immigrants, especially the undocumented, are extremely vulnerable at this time. This takes an incredible toll—emotional, psychological, economic—on them and their families. Please keep them in your prayers.