Hello, Supporters of Immigrants!
It is with great gratitude for your money, your time, and your shout-outs in various places that Harper Strickland and I must announce that the Immigrant Freedom Fund of Colorado is coming to an intentional end. We are making connections with other dedicated bond funds and the National Bail Fund Network to continue to support and bond out people in the ICE prison in Aurora, Colorado.
What we have accomplished together
Teaming with you, we were instrumental in paying the bonds of 92 immigrants with a total of $456,500. Many of the people we assisted are asylum seekers and several of them are people who have lived in the United States for years before being incarcerated by ICE. They have come primarily from Mexico and Central America with a few people from African, Caribbean and South American countries. Four of the 92 have had cases that were resolved, and their bond money was returned to the Immigrant Freedom Fund. Three did not show up at their immigration hearings, and we had to forfeit the money we contributed to their bonds.
What led to the decision to end the fund?
I began a search for a new fiscal sponsor and new administrator in October of 2020, knowing that I would move back to California in the summer of 2021. Harper took over administration of the fund and has done a wonderful job cleaning up and maintaining records and bonding out people from the Aurora ICE prison. Now Harper has also found a home in California.
We did not find a fiscal sponsor with the 501(c)(3) status that is required by ICE in Aurora. Beyond Bond and Legal Defense Fund in Boston generously lent us their name and 501(c)(3) status while we looked for a permanent fiscal sponsor.
What will happen to the money?
Your mighty donations will continue to get people free.
A portion of the bonds we posted are currently in the name of Beyond Bond and Legal Defense in Boston. The organization will continue to support those who were bonded out in their name and use funds that are eventually returned to them to bond out others who apply for their assistance. The rest of the bonds which are still held by Homeland Security will be transferred to the Prairielands Freedom Fund, formerly known as Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project. They will track the resolution of immigrant cases and use money returned to their fund to pay bonds within the prairieland states they cover.
Where can we make referrals for bond assistance?
The National Bail Fund Network will take applications for bond assistance at http://bit.ly/NBFN-bondreferral. They contact bond funds throughout the country to assist with bond for people imprisoned in or heading to states that have no dedicated bond fund. The Immigrant Freedom Fund of Colorado has assisted in paying bond for several people who were heading from Louisiana ICE prisons to Utah, for example. The Prairielands Freedom Fund will ask the NBFN coordinator to refer applications for people in Colorado or who are heading to Colorado to them. They will make it a priority to assist people connected to Colorado whenever their resources permit them to help people outside of the prairieland states.
Where can we donate toward bonds?
Continued donations are needed to assist the many people still being held by ICE. As of November 10, 2021, Rep. Jason Crow reported on his website that 786 people are being held in the Aurora ICE Processing Center alone. This includes 68 women who are all held in the “annex” and five people who are transgender. You can check these regular reports at https://crow.house.gov/about/ice-accountability-report
The National Bail Fund Network suggests that you look at the bond funds which are part of the network on their website https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/en/nbfn-directory and choose one for your donations. If you would like to choose the Prairielands Freedom Fund, please go to their website at https://www.prairielandsfreedomfund.org/ to find out how to donate there. Our allies Beyond Bond and Legal Defense Fund also have a website, https://www.beyondbondboston.org/
Tying up loose ends
Over our two+ years of operation, several family members and personal friends donated to specific bonds. We have received a grant to return the money to these families and friends so that the Prairielands Freedom Fund won’t have to keep track of who is owed what. We will need help finding all family members and friends, and we will particularly need Spanish speakers to help us find them and explain why we are sending them money. If you can help in this regard, please contact me at this email address or by phone at 970-391-2547.
We also need to make all bond refunds payable to the Prairielands Freedom Fund. To do this, we will need to have the obligor for each bonded person fill out and notarize the Designation of Attorney in Fact form found a https://www.ice.gov/doclib/.forms/i312.pdf. If you have been an obligor, we will be contacting you soon with details.
It has been an honor to provide bond assistance and to work with the many fantastic individuals, agencies and non-profit organizations supporting immigrants in Colorado. Our hope is that work will continue until ICE is abolished and private prisons are a thing of the past. May immigrants be welcomed to share the bounty of our country, and may our country learn the value of justice and inclusion.
With lasting hope for the future,