For 10 years, the New Sanctuary Coalition has been led by and for immigrants to stop the inhumane system of deportations and detentions in this country. Our small and scrappy team works with an army of over 500 volunteers to provide person-to-person support to many hundreds of immigrants — the people we call “friends,” not clients — facing detention and deportation.
New Sanctuary springs from New York’s faith-based and social justice communities and forms a unique family of citizens and immigrants, bound by a love of humanity and mutual respect. Operating for a decade on less-than-shoestring budgets, New Sanctuary has done enormous good for our community:
- NSC has stopped the forced isolation of many undocumented people by building a large accompaniment program in which citizens go with immigrants to mandatory ICE check-ins and immigration court hearings. Accompaniment provides citizen-witnesses of ICE’s behavior, emotional support for immigrants and also establishes that our friends have strong ties to the local community, a fact appreciated by immigration judges. Accompaniment has proven to slow and sometimes stop deportations and detention.
- NSC provides legal support and referrals through programs and clinics staffed by volunteer lawyers and trained laypeople who spread knowledge of immigrants’ rights; assist with asylum applications; advise on pro se defense at court appearances; advocate to increase immigrants’ access in detention centers to legal defense tools (faxes, copiers, etc.) and much more.
- NSC maintains a bond fund to free from detention as many as possible of the thousands of immigrants being held in private, for-profit, overcrowded detention centers where obtaining bail has proven virtually impossible.
- NSC is expanding its community-based, citywide “Sanctuary Hood” program to provide outreach and rights training to immigrants and to organize safe spaces for immigrants at churches, businesses and homes.