LOS ANGELES, CA — On this year’s World Refugee Day, Freedom for Immigrants stands in solidarity with those individuals and families who’ve been forced to flee their countries and calls on all people in the United States to open up their homes to those in need of refuge. Together, we will show the rest of the country that caging people is not only immoral — but also unnecessary.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees defines an asylum seeker as someone who “seeks sanctuary in another country and applies for the right to be recognized as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance.” We have witnessed the Trump administration systematically attack and attempt to dismantle the entire process of seeking asylum in order to take away a person’s right to be recognized as a refugee. Meanwhile, the number of asylum seekers languishing in U.S. immigration detention has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels as a result of these harsh policies.
“This is a critical moment for our country’s history to demonstrate that viable solutions exist that don’t require incarceration,” said Christina Fialho, co-founder/executive director of Freedom for Immigrants. “It is our responsibility to demand and build an alternative to our current system of prisons and jails that guarantees the suffering of immigrants. Welcoming immigrants isn’t just a concept. It’s something we can do right now in our communities and in our homes.”
For Noheli, a Venezuelan woman who requested asylum, being bonded out and then welcomed into several volunteers’ homes made all the difference after spending four months in a California immigrant jail where she developed an infection.
“I never thought I’d be detained just for asking help. There’s no way to truly express what you experience while in detention. It’s hell,” said Noheli in a new video documenting her story. “It’s so nice to be able to be outside without someone yelling at you, without having to be confined to four walls. Freedom is the best thing there is.”
Noheli won her right to be recognized as a refugee a few months ago.
Freedom for Immigrants is developing community-based alternative to detention models and working with legislators to make sure that, as a country, we can help more people like Noheli.
But we need your support to make this happen.
Here are a few ways you can help right now.
Support asylum seekers released from ICE detention by pledging to welcome them into your community and home
Donate to Freedom for Immigrants’ National Detention Bond Fund to help secure freedom for asylum seekers
Work with us to educate the public and lawmakers about community-based alternatives to detention (one-pager attached)