I have never seen anything like that. I’ve never seen so much love…They’ve been with me all the way even until now.
-Immigrant facing deportation
New Sanctuary Movement’s Accompaniment Program is a primary method through which allied congregations provide solidarity to our immigrant members facing deportation. Through a process supported by NSM staff, the congregation and family build mutual, long-term relationships to stop the deportation, serve as a faithful witness in spaces of injustice, and collectively grow as community leaders in the fight for immigrant rights. We work closely with lawyers to support their critical legal work on the case.
In addition to the long-term Accompaniment Program, we regularly bring allies to immigration court with immigrants facing deportation in order to provide emotional support and physical presence in a very difficult, and often scary, moment. As part of our short-term case work, we regularly refer immigrants to credible legal services and help them with the process of fighting deportation.
How it Works
NSM staff match families facing deportation with allied congregations through a carefully guided process of mutually agreeing to enter into the Accompaniment and adhere to the goals, agreements, and expectations of the program. NSM staff works to build the relationship between the congregational team and family in order to beat the deportation and keep families together. NSM staff also is in close contact with the family’s lawyer to support the legal battle. Through this process, the congregation and family develop critical leadership skills to engage in NSM’s campaign work.
The goals of Accompaniment are to build congregational support for families facing deportation; build long-term relationships rooted in solidarity and mutuality between NSM members facing deportation and ally congregation; build awareness of unjust immigration policies in congregation; develop leadership skills of congregation and family to organize with NSM’s campaigns, and serve as faithful witness in immigration court, criminal court, and detention centers.
How to Help
Many immigrants come to our door seeking support. Since we are unable to help long-term on all of these cases, we provide legal referrals and regularly bring groups of allies to accompany immigrants in court. We welcome volunteers that are able to commit to one court date every three months.
After a brief vetting process, volunteers are placed on an email list to receive updates of upcoming cases that need a partner. Volunteers coordinate logistics and sometimes provide transportation for the immigrant they are accompanying—but never monetary support.