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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
- 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