New Sanctuary Movement’s Accompaniment Program is a primary method through which allied member congregations and friends provide solidarity to our immigrant members facing deportation. Though a process supported by NSM’s staff, regularly brings allies to Philadelphia probation, immigration, criminal, family and traffic court 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 their deportation case. We work closely with nonprofits and lawyers in the city to support in this critical legal work on the case.

GOALS ARE:

  • Support the family
  • Make sure the court knows that our community is watching
  • Bring the visual representation of God’s presence in a place that is violent and has so much power over people’s lives.
  • Bearing witness (as opposed to protesting)

BY SIGNING UP YOU AGREE TO:

  • Follow and respect the lead of the family whether they want to engage, or remain silent, or pray. If they are nervous you can try talk to help them relax, if they don’t want to engage follow, their lead. A staff or a coordinator from NSM will always be present to guide the process and provide interpretation if needed.
  • Respect boundaries refrain from questions about traumatic stories (Ex: how did you crossed the border, how did you end up in deportation proceedings, or probing questions of their case unless you are the coordinator and absolutely need this info to help them) If they want to talk about it, that is fine, but remember, you are there to support only.
  • Trust that NSM staff have all the nitty greedy details of the case under control.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

  • NSM members and Friends sign up online sanctuaryphiladelphia.org
  • NSM staff will send an email alert with necessary details about the case. In the email alert you will be asked to email or text one of our staff working on the case to let them know if you can make it.
  • Please follow the directions on the email. We usually meet outside of court room or in the lobby for a short prayer and then head to the court room to wait for the hearing. You may stay as long as you are able.
  • After court, the lawyer or staff will explain the next steps of the case. After, we shake hands and say our good byes. We may also take a picture if the family asks for it. (We ­don’t publicize the cases in our social media unless they win, it’s part of the case strategy to win, or its the family’s wish)
  • NSM staff will always be in close contact with the family and their lawyer to provide support and take action if is needed to support the legal battle.