Since October 2015, we have been visiting, in a group of about six CWF volunteers, the men in immigration detention at the Freeborn County Jail in Albert Lea, MN, two Sunday nights each month in a large classroom setting. The men are originally from Mexico, Central America, Somalia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Sudan, Colombia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Burma and other countries.
Since March 2011, we have been visiting people in ICE detention at the Ramsey County Jail in St Paul on the second and fourth Sunday evenings of every month. Ramsey County just recently announced that effective January 1st, 2018, the Ramsey County Jail will no longer be housing ICE inmates. This is especially good news for ICE detainees since there are no windows, no opportunities for fresh air, and no exercise facilities there.
Nonetheless, the number of people in ICE detention continues to grow in Minnesota. Increased detention capacity in the area means that hundreds of men and women await removal hearings or deportation from the United States in isolation. Conversations with Friends’ visitors and letter writers make a difference.
Read more by our colleagues at CIVIC (Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement), who describe the CWF visit program at the Freeborn County Jail. The link also includes beautiful tributes to Rev. John Guttermann who started CWF in 2010 and died on December 29, 2016.