Immigrant Defense and Support Initiatives: to volunteer for any of these initiatives (or learn more about them) , please contact 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.
Toolkit: educational material and tips for organizing here
Petition: Sign the petition to demand that hotels refuse to let ICE turn their rooms into jails for immigrants.
B. Rapid Response Team
You read about the raids in Mississippi on August 7, 2019, 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 future ICE raids 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 Rapid Response coordinating team has several working sub-teams: community education, volunteer training, family needs (material/emotional), spiritual/mental health support, and legal services. Volunteers are needed for the hotline/dispatch teams and for the onsite reponder teams.
C. Bond Packets-Release from Detention
Several dozen immigrants are detained across Ohio in four county jails: Seneca County (Tiffin), Geauga County (Chardon), Morrow County (Mt. Gilead), and Butler County (Hamilton). 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 have been driving 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. Public actions are organized at three main locations: Federal Building (US Citizenship and Immigration Services), Federal Courthouse (Immigration Court), and the ICE headquarters (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) just outside of Cleveland. 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 Immigration Working Group CLE has a defense fund for detained immigrants and their families. 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.