Conversations with Friends visits, writes cards and letters to, and provides safe release and accompaniment to people detained in immigration custody.
Visitors meet with people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Minnesota’s Freeborn County Adult Detention Center who are awaiting their next immigration hearing, their deportation or, if the immigration judge’s decision was appealed, the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals in Virginia.
Letter writers correspond with detained individuals, committing to writing one card or letter each week. They provide compassion and hope to people held in ICE custody.
Through the Circle of Compassion, individuals, groups, and congregations of various faith communities hold those being detained by ICE in thought and prayer. The list includes the first names (in order to maintain confidentiality) and countries of birth of each person with whom we have visited who has requested prayers and good thoughts on their behalf, as well as some people with whom we have not visited, e.g. they are out-of-state or in a MN jail where we are not yet permitted to visit, but who are being written to by CWF letter writers and have indicated their interest in also being added to the list.
Safe Release/Accompaniment volunteers help ensure that people released from the Whipple Federal Building in Fort Snelling who do not have family or friends readily available to assist them have a safe place to go in the immediate hours after release. Our assistance might include providing a celebratory meal, a backpack with supplies and clothes for the journey, and/or a bus ticket and a ride to the bus station.
After receiving requests from people who expect to be deported, we make ‘Dignity’ Backpack Drop-offs at the Whipple Federal Building that include the requested clothing, e.g. jeans, shoes, shirts, etc., as well as hygiene and other items. The backpacks also include space for their legal documents.