Immigrant Freedom Fund of Colorado

Opening Doors for Justice

Author: Francey Liefert (page 1 of 2)

April 2020 Update

Three People Bonded Out Today

We received a sizable check today from the Loretto Literary and Benevolent Institution as well as a one from our faithful donor, Mary Peckham. As always, we are grateful for all donations of whatever size. We cannot pursue this project without donations from all of you.

Before we bonded out people today, we were able to bond out a second transgender woman, who was transferred from New Mexico.  She has rejoined friends on the east coast with help from Casa de Paz.

The people bonded out today are a couple of local folks from Fort Collins and Greeley, Colorado and a man who lives with his wife and three children in Montrose, CO.  I’m so happy that the Immigrant Freedom Fund could reunite them with their families. The man from Fort Collins is only twenty-two and much missed by his mother in particular. The man from Greeley is needed by his wife and four kids and will appreciate having medical care available due to his seizures and fainting spells.  The man from Montrose is 46, and you can imagine that his wife will be glad to have him home to help with their three young sons.

We are grateful to the folks who referred these people to us, two law students from the University Denver Strum College of Law, an immigration lawyer from Louisville, KY and a volunteer from Casa de Paz in Denver, CO.

Other Good News

The next person we want to assist is a woman, who is anxious to get back with her children. They have been placed with relatives she does not trust to take good care of them. Her bond is $5000. A church friend of hers has raised half of that, and we hope to raise the rest with your help as soon as possible.

Please continue to send checks to the Immigrant Freedom Fund, 745 East 5th St., Loveland, CO 80537 or donate from our website.

Stay healthy as best you can during these weird times.

With hope for the future,

France Liefert
970-391-2547

Covid-19 Detention Hotline Toolkit

Toolkit (pdf)

More March 2020 Updates

One More Bonded Out

Your donations helped bond out the forty-third person the Immigrant Freedom Fund has assisted! This twenty-two-year-old man from Guatemala was brought to our attention by the Colorado Immigrant Resources Coalition (CIRC), of which we are a member. He has been living in Colorado Springs and was arrested by ICE at the end of January this year. His girlfriend contacted CIRC and raised $1500 toward his $6500 bond. The Immigrant Freedom Fund will pay her back this money once the immigration case is resolved and the Department of Homeland Security returns the bond money to us.

More Good News

ICE and GEO, the for-profit prison in Aurora, will be releasing all of the women in one of its pods this evening! There are about twenty women still held in detention in Aurora and all of them will be released. The heroes at Casa de Paz are working hard to pack bags of essentials for each woman and to enlist volunteers to get them to the airport and their new homes in the US.

And…

The woman who answers the phone at the office of Homeland Security in Denver says that no new detainees are being processed into GEO in Aurora. There are still some people being moved there from other detention centers if they are not suspected of contact with anyone who is infected by the coronavirus.

The Flip Side

One of the ICE officials at GEO Aurora has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Because of this, immigration court inside the prison was closed yesterday. One of our applicants was scheduled for his bond hearing. Since his case was not heard, he will have to stay in ICE jail until bond can be set.

Donations

We do not know what effects the pandemic will have on the ICE prison system.  We want to be ready to bond people out as they become eligible. Please donate what you can through a check to Immigrant Freedom Fund, 745 E. 5th St., Loveland, CO 80537 or use the Donate button on this site.

March 2020 Update

One More Bonded Out

This morning the wonderful Margaret Bobb bonded out a young man from Mexico who has been living in Colorado for a while. He had earned DACA status and has a US citizen fiancée and an eight-month-old US citizen child. He is grateful for your contributions toward his bond as well as to his family, who were able to supply $1000 toward the total of $5000. (When family members contribute to a person’s bond, the Immigrant Freedom Fund issues them a Memorandum of Understanding that the contribution will be returned to them once the case is resolved and the bond money has been returned to us.)

Another applicant we had from Jamaica was bonded out by his family, who came up with the total $6000.  We hope they did not take out an expensive loan.

Client Pending

A man who continues to wait for our assistance with bond is a twenty five year old from Mexico, who has also been living in Colorado. He was stopped by police for a traffic violation and turned over to ICE. His bond has been set at the ridiculous amount of $10,000. His family first sought a loan from a bondsman. They were told they needed a credit card with a $10,000 limit or the deed to a home as collateral. This is a family that lives in a mobile home park. Fortunately, the immigration lawyer they consulted told them about the Immigrant Freedom Fund.

Currently, we have a little over $8,500 toward this young man’s bond.

Coronavirus and GEO

Although no confirmed cases of COVID-19 inside the GEO jail have been reported, several Denver newspapers (Denver Post, Colorado Times Recorder, Colorado Independent) have reported that ten people who are suspected of being exposed to the virus have been isolated from the rest of the inmate population. Visitation to all inmates has been stopped. We have heard through our applicants that those incarcerated are living in fear of the epidemic sweeping the prison. GEO has done a notoriously poor job of healthcare before now, and there is no reason to believe they are doing any better in these circumstances.

In addition to donating what you can to the Immigrant Freedom Fund to bond as many people out as possible, please write to your representatives and ask that all immigrants being held by ICE for wanting to live in our country be released. According to a recent TRAC study at Syracuse University, 99% of immigrants show up for their hearings whether or not they have paid bond. There is no reason to hold people, especially with an epidemic threatening health and lives.

Google “how to contact your elected officials” and demand the release of immigrant prisoners.

Donate

In addition to needing $1500 toward our current applicant’s bond, we anticipate receiving more applications quickly over the next few weeks. Please donate what you can through a check to Immigrant Freedom Fund, 745 E. 5th St., Loveland, CO 80537 or use the Donate button on this site.

February 10 News

Dreamer Bonded Out

Our most recent bond was $5000 for a young father who lost his DACA status because he didn’t have the $500 to pay for his renewal when it was due. His wonderful family from the Caribbean was able to pay some of his bond, and your generous donations covered the rest.

Applicants Waiting

The next person we want to assist is a woman, who is anxious to get back with her children. They have been placed with relatives she does not trust to take good care of them. Her bond is $5000. A church friend of hers has raised half of that, and we hope to raise the rest with your help as soon as possible.

The next man who has applied for assistance is also from Mexico. He has been working on his immigration case since 2014. It was delayed because ICE lost his file for a while. He has three young children and a wife, who need him. We want to bond him out before his individual hearing, which is set for April 2 of this year.

Transgender  Women in Aurora

The ICE jail in New Mexico has recently sent several transgender women to the Aurora ICE jail. People who are transgender receive notoriously poor treatment while in detention. They face discrimination from other inmates, as well as from prison staff. We want to be ready with money if any of them become eligible for bond. Currently, they are being kept in a segregated area of the ICE prison and are not allowed to work with the rest of the inmates.

What Can You Do?

  • Please pass this email on to friends who might be interested in helping immigrants who have been arrested by ICE. Let them know that people who are bonded out have a much better chance of winning their immigration cases and may not have a decisive hearing at immigration court until well after the November elections.
  • Invite us to speak about the Immigrant Freedom Fund to your faith-based organization or any service club you belong to. Many people do not realize what immigrants are going through in detention and that raising bond is a way to help some of them.
  • Donate.

Gratitude

Thanksgiving!

Yesterday Kathy Hartman and I were able to bond out three people from the GEO detention center in Aurora, Colorado, thanks to continued generosity from the Immigrant Freedom Fund donors. Two of them are asylum seekers from Honduras in their early twenties, and the other is a twenty-two-year-old woman from Cuba. All together they needed $12,000 in bond money. The two men describe the horrendous conditions inside the GEO jail. They worked in the kitchen for $1.00 a day and needed to pay $2.50 for any phone call they made. They reported that the guards were brusque and cruel, even the ones who looked Latinx. No one would answer their questions. They are grateful to our donors for their freedom. They are reuniting with family and friends on this holiday when we celebrate gratitude in the United States.

The steering committee of the Immigrant Freedom Fund is deeply grateful for the opportunity you give us to bond out immigrants. No one belongs in immigration jail.

Partner Organizations

We are also grateful to the organizations that support people before and after we’re able to provide bond.  One is the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network, RMIAN, a group of lawyers who co-ordinate pro bono services to people in the ICE jail.  They frequently refer people to us who cannot afford their outrageously high bonds. They also walk us through problems that come up while we bond people out.  You can read more about them at https://www.rmian.org 

The other organization that we could not operate without is Casa de Paz, a hospitality house in Denver.  Sarah Jackson, the founder and director, trains volunteers for Casa once a month. She has been generous in sharing her stage with the Immigrant Freedom Fund, as well as letting Casa volunteers know when the Immigrant Freedom Fund needs help.  You can read about Casa de Paz here:  https://www.casadepazcolorado.org

As always, we depend on donations to continue this work.  Please give what you can.

Number 23 Bonded Out!

Another asylum seeker from Honduras is having a good evening thanks to the donors to the Immigrant Freedom Fund. Special thanks go to the the Sisters of Loretto Community and Maureen Flanigan of the Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church in Littleton, CO.  The young man, who fled Honduras, is twenty-two years old.  He’ll now be able to join his sister in the South of the US to plan his immigration case with her support, better access to legal counsel and with more time to prepare since his case will be transferred to an immigration court close to where he will be living.
 
Immigration Hearings
 
People frequently ask how the Immigrant Freedom Fund decides the  order in which to bond people out. When we first started bonding people out last April, it was easy; we just bonded them out in the order they applied for assistance. Due to our stance that no one belongs in immigrant jail, we helped them as they applied.  Now that we are better known and have more applications, we bond people out according to when their individual hearings are coming up.  Hearings held in ICE jail are notoriously harder to win than hearings outside of ICE jail.  We are particularly sensitive to watching for hearings inside ICE jail being moved forward, hoping that we can activate enough donors to help people avoid rushed case hearings inside detention.
 
A few times we have made an exception to this procedure.  When a pro bono lawyer let us know that her client was on suicide watch, we moved him forward in line.  We also hurried to bond out a young man who had serious medical problems that were not being addressed inside the GEO jail in Aurora.
 
Applicants Waiting for Assistance
 
Three men have been waiting weeks for assistance with bond, and we just received an application for assistance for a young woman as well, whose family can help with $1000 of her $3000 bond.  The total amount we need to bond all of them out is $14,500.
 

Hello, Fellow Justice Seekers!

Another Immigrant Bonded Out

With your donations we have bonded out the 21st immigrant to apply for assistance from the Immigrant Freedom Fund. Dhi Good, Irene Thomas and Kathy Hartman are the heroes who formed a relay team to get the bond to GEO for this young man. His talented lawyer, Laura Lunn of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), persuaded the judge to set his bond at the lowest point allowed, $1500.
 
This 26-year-old man is originally from Mexico and has been incarcerated in immigrant jail since Sept. 2018.  That’s too long.  Any time in immigrant jail is too long. 

Volunteer Opportunities

The Immigrant Freedom Fund needs volunteers to act as obligors. The obligor is the person who delivers the bond in money orders or cashiers checks to GEO jail in Aurora. Until we open the Immigrant Freedom Fund bank account in Aurora, there is no way for us to transfer bond money electronically to obligors in Aurora and Denver. Our fiscal sponsor, the Namaqua Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Loveland is working on providing all the documents required by the bank to open the account as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization.
 
Meanwhile, if you can assist us in the driving between Loveland and Aurora and in acting as obligor, which takes around two hours, please respond to this email.
 
And let us know if you are available to sign onto our new account in Aurora once we have it.  We need volunteers in Aurora who can access the account to procure the cashiers checks and get them to those who act as obligors.

As Always, Donations Needed

We are coming to the bottom of our bank account right now in spite of a steady, lovely trickle of donations coming in through our website.  Please donate what you can at www.immigrantfreedomfund.org or send a check to Immigrant Freedom Fund, 745 East 5th St., Loveland, CO 80538.
 
With hope for the future,
Francey Liefert
970-391-2547

Celebration Time!

The Immigrant Freedom Fund bonded out another asylum seeker from Honduras. He is a nineteen-year-old man who will now join his brother and his family in the southeast United States. Several family members of his were killed by gang members for refusing to join the gang. His sister-in-law reported that gang violence in their small town was worse than in the cities because the gangs control everything there.

(Earlier we reported that we had bonded out six people, but we meant to say that we had bonded out the tenth person.)

Successful Fund Raiser

Thank you, Dana Miller, for launching a fundraiser for the Immigrant Freedom Fund on Facebook. We have received over $19,000 from that effort directly and more through our website from people who heard of us on Facebook.

The need continues…

We will never have enough funds to cover all of those in detention who cannot afford the outrageous bond amounts being set by immigration courts. Please donate what you can when you can and let others know about this project. Your donations are providing hope for immigrants, their families and their communities.

 

Time to Celebrate!

With your donations the Immigrant Freedom Fund has bonded out our tenth person from immigrant jail! He is a young man from Honduras who has a rare autoimmune disease that caused him to have a bleeding rash that wasn’t cared for properly while he was detained. He has joined his community in the Midwest to get the care he needs while his case is pending.
 
Contributions Welcome!
 
None of the people who have been bonded out by the Immigrant Freedom Fund has had a chance to resolve their case. That means that we haven’t been able to petition ICE to return the funds you have so generously donated. In fact it may be another year and a half to two years before we see that money again. Please donate whenever you can and encourage those you know to help us free people from the horrors of immigrant jail in Aurora. Donations and applications for funds are both accepted at www.immigrantfreedomfund.org.
 
Benefit for Immigrant Freedom Fund in Denver
 
The Party for Socialism and Liberation has organized a benefit on behalf of the Immigrant Freedom Fund this Sat. Aug.3 at the Goosetown Tavern, 3242 East Colfax Ave. in Denver.
21+. Doors at 8:30, bands begin at 9. $10 suggested donation
Featured musicians:
  • Los Mocochetes (Xichan@ funk)
  • Hangman’s Hymnal (devilgrass/doom country)
  • Giardia (jazz metal)
  • PostNihilist (post metal)
  • Techno Allah (electronic trap)
  • Flesh Buzzard (harsh noise)

Immigrant Freedom Fund in the News

https://www.westword.com/news/immigrant-freedom-fund-helps-aurora-facility-detainees-bond-out-11428591

 

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