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freedom
January 09th, 2019

Migrants do not belong in prisons. Demand their release today!

type:NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

As Republicans and Democrats quarrel over the funding of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a rising number of migrants languish in detention facilities and are stuck in a perpetual limbo upon their release, dealing with a shattered and erratic immigration system.

It is easy to get caught up in the vortex of accusations and misinformation being hurled across the political realm concerning the issue of immigration. And as the president relentlessly depicts migrants as dangerous criminals seeking to inundate the United States, many seem to forget that the vast majority of those crossing the border are innocent human beings seeking shelter and safety. It also seems to escape us that while life goes on as usual for millions of Americans, such migrants suffer inhumane treatment on U.S. soil and have very little hope to cling to in the dark thicket of the American immigration system.

Reports abound of migrants suffering from undernourishment, abuse, disease under the federal and privately-run overcrowded detention facilities. Last month alone, two young children died from health complications while under the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.

Alas, those released from detention do not seem to fare any better- as they often grapple to find shelter and the proper tools to navigate the complex immigration proceedings and lodge asylum requests.

While the government is slow to respond to public places to alleviate the plight of migrants, privately run, non for profit organizations are toiling to fill in the gaps created by the chaotic immigration policies of the current administration.

One such organization is Freedom for Immigrants, a nonprofit NGO fighting to defend the rights of migrants both while in detention and upon release.

Through an extensive network of volunteers who carry out visits to immigration prisons and operate a national hotline, the organization monitors and reports on conditions and human rights abuses suffered by migrants in detention.

Founded by those who suffered themselves at the hands of the immigration system, the NGO also engages in community-based operations to assist migrants who were released from prison, develop alternatives for detention, advocate for their rights, and help them assimilate into the American society.

The organization’s mission is to utilize their support and monitoring efforts on the individual and communal level to advocate for and inspire change on a systemic, national level. Their end-goal is to see the abolishment of the immigration detention system.

One of the organization’s many initiatives is a virtual map of all immigration detention facilities in the U.S., which details the location, population, and information regarding each prison. Such a map could provide crucial data for individuals seeking to apply pressure on their local authorities and representatives, and monitor the plight of migrants as it unfolds in their own back yard.

Visit their website to learn more about their work and find out how to get involved and volunteer.

Image credit: Freedom for Immigrants

freedomforimmigrants.org