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Training volunteers for immigration detention programs
May 21, 2013

Training volunteers for immigration detention programs
"Accompaniment is the defining element of JRS/USA's mission," said Sean Kelly of JRS/USA. "The accompaniment provided by CIVIC's network of visitation groups offers people in detention a sign of hope during a very challenging, uncertain, and stressful time."

(Washington, D.C) May 21, 2013 — Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) — the national immigration detention visitation network — believes that ending the isolation of people in immigration detention starts with being a good listener. CIVIC teamed up with Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA), a longstanding partner of the U.S. visitationmovement, to create two training videos: one on how to be a good listener and the other on how to recruit volunteers to the immigration detention visitationmovement.

"For decades, there has been widespread and genuine ignorance of the U.S. government's practice of detaining asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, and other immigrants with longstanding community ties," said Christina Fialho, co-executive director of CIVIC. "But if each visitor volunteer could recruit just one more person to the movement, our immigration detention facilities would no longer be invisible to the community."

The videos draw on the experience of three detention visitation groups: Conversations with Friends, Friends of Orange County Detainees, and the Hutto Visitation Program

The video on listening skills explains for visitor volunteers the qualities of a good listener and offers practical tips for listening and visiting people in detention. 

The volunteer recruitment and screening video reviews how visitation groups have recruited their volunteers through word of mouth, networking, social media and Spanish language media. Then, it discusses how different groups use their orientations, applications, background checks, and other methods to vet their volunteers.

"Accompaniment is the defining element of JRS/USA's mission," said Sean Kelly of JRS/USA. "The accompaniment provided by CIVIC's network of visitation groups offers people in detention a sign of hope during a very challenging, uncertain, and stressful time." 

The videos are available on the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA website here: http://www.jrsusa.org/multimedia (click the Detention category on the right).

More information on how to start a visitation program or get involved with the U.S. immigration detention visitationmovement, can be found here: http://www.endisolation.org/resources/for-visitors/ 


The Videos

Press Contact Information
Mr Christian Fuchs
communicationsdirector@jesuit.org
202-629-5946