Immigration

Due to requests from the community, PRC began and continues to expand its work in immigration, often responding to immediate needs to fill gaps in the current system. PRC is helping post bond so individuals can be reunited with their loved ones, and responding to the needs of those leaving detention, including requests from the broader Central Pennsylvania community. This includes providing rides and travel kits for individuals as they leave detention, plus long-term resettlement for asylees who are released without sponsorship and could be homeless otherwise.

Learn more about PRC’s work in Immigration:

Bonds

 In July 2019, Kate Good, PRC’s executive director, joined members of various Pennsylvania faith-based and legal services organizations to form the Immigration Bond and Advocacy Effort (IBAE). IBAE provides bond money for undocumented persons detained at the York Detention Center, so that they can remain with their loved ones throughout lengthy legal proceedings. Made up of volunteers and without 501 (c)3 status, IBAE contracted with PRC to provide bookkeeping and financial services for the group.

IBAE is a project coordinated by members of various Pennsylvania faith-based and legal services organizations who feel that no one should be incarcerated, separated from their loved ones, or denied access to basic services solely because of their immigration status and their inability to pay a bond.

Affiliations of the initial steering committee members of IBAE include: Landisville Mennonite ChurchLancaster Friends MeetingParish Resource CenterPennsylvania Immigration Resource Center, and ALDEA – The People’s Justice Center.

What we do

We provide bond money to undocumented persons so that they can remain with their loved ones throughout lengthy legal proceedings. For some, the difference between spending years in jail or with their loved ones, is only a few hundred or thousand dollars.

Release from detention provides many benefits including:

1

Being reunited with their loved ones instead of remaining in detention centers for months or years.

2

More direct access to legal and language services, meaning a greater ability to build a strong legal case.

3

Being eligible for a work permit and employment. They can contribute to their families and to the broader economy.

IBAE’s Average Bond

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M’s Story

M. fled to the U.S. to seek a life free from the slavery and race-based discrimination endemic in his home country, Mauritania. His time in detention was essentially in isolation. M. is a native speaker of the regional language Fulani and was not able to communicate with prison guards, ICE officials, other detainees, visitors, or legal counsel. IBAE was able to help M. post bond. PRC arranged for a volunteer to pick him up from detention and supplied him with some basics like a coat and food for his trip. M. now has full access to Fulani language services and legal counsel. He has the time and legal services necessary to build a proper case for asylum. Most importantly, he has hope that one day he will be reunited with his wife and five children.

Travel Kits

When those held in detention leave the detention center, they have little or nothing in terms of clothing, toiletries, or money. They often spend 12-48 hours on a bus, traveling to join their loved ones. They rarely have clothing appropriate for the local climate, a change of socks, cash to buy dinner, or a cell phone/phone card. They don’t have food or water for the trip. PRC provides travel kits for released detainees, offering them basic hospitality for their journey.

A monetary donation to Resettlement allows PRC to purchase bus tickets when needed and build and customize travel kits for every person, with clothing in the correct size, feminine hygiene products, etc. Please click the link below to download the complete list of physical items needed. Collecting and assembling kits is a great project for church groups! Kits can be dropped off at the PRC office.

Resettlement

Many persons leave the York Detention Center to a community of loved ones, but sometimes an individual is released, but has no community to go to and will be released into immediate homelessness. Occasionally a sponsor is no longer able to host someone who has been bonded out or has received asylum. In these cases, PRC is working with national partners to resettle immigrants into supportive communities who will welcome these individuals to their new lives.

Because of new policies from the Department of Homeland Security, as of July 15, 2019, individuals eligible for asylum are now being granted only Withholding of Removal status. This tenuous status means that these individuals receive no benefits to help start a new life, making it more challenging for them and the community resettling them.

Without your support of this program, individuals seeking a new home where they are safe from threats and harm, will instead become homeless. Your support also allows PRC to continue its work building a network for resettlement across the U.S.

Resettlement

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