Immigration Accompaniment Program
Immigrant families trying to secure basic rights for themselves and their families are met with many barriers as they navigate an unknown and hostile legal system.
The Immigration Accompaniment Program, a ministry of Judson Memorial Church in partnership with the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, helps support these families through the immigration process in 3 ways:
- Provides a support structure to strengthen those caught in immigration proceedings
- Keeps families members informed at every step of the process as their loved ones move forward
- Holds legal officials accountable for providing accurate information and serving due process
The program pairs immigrants in final removal proceedings with volunteers who accompany them to their required, periodic check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP).
For more information, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646.450.2770.
Jean Montrevil, immigrant:
December 23rd 2006, two days before Christmas when I was checking in at 26 Federal Plaza, sitting there by myself waiting for my name to be called, after two hours have passed my name still hasn’t been called….. And now I am wondering oh God not today… Please God let me spend the holidays with my family, don’t let them take me away today. I remember being so scared that I wanted to get up and leave and not to ever come back to this place again. But I found the courage to stay and refused to let them intimidate me, make me afraid, because that’s all ICE does, their job is to intimidate you and make you afraid so you can give up. I will always remember that day.
When I came to Judson and told Donna how painful that day was for me and how many humiliations and scare tactics that ICE was doing to immigrants that were checking in, and how much I was afraid every time I go to my check-ins, Donna said you should never have to go by yourself again, and I never have since.
I am no longer afraid to go, no more intimidation, no more scare tactics by ICE because now they know that they are being watched.
Its been 6 longggggg years now going to check-ins and I have experienced it both ways at all levels, from going 3 times a week to once a month. I know the feelings of going by yourself and I know the feelings of having people (my angels) going with me, let me tell you ….. IT’S A different feeling….. Jane Treuhold one of my angels is now more afraid and nervous than me when I go. Now that’s a good thing ……
I feel bad when I see all those immigrants sitting there by themselves and I know how they are feeling. This program would be a blessing to them. I want to thank all my angels, past and future, I can honestly say that I don’t think I could have done it with out you guys, there is no way I would still be doing this and last that long. No way.
I don’t think there’s a better way to help someone that’s going through an ordeal than going through it with them. With this program you will learn first hand about the injustice of the immigration system, thank you to everyone who work so hard to put this together.
God bless you guys for doing this.
Keen Berger, volunteer:
Psychologists and neuroscientists are learning a lot about love, also known as intimacy between one person and another. Love is expressed in many ways – biological sex is only one of them, and not the most important. We now know that love expands the thinking and experience of both people, and helps them biologically as well. Intimacy literally makes people healthier, improving their hearts, brains, and other organs by changing the hormones and other chemicals of the body.
That is the essence of accompaniment, that by being with someone else in a time of stress, we not only relieve some of their stress but also expand ourselves, with biological as well as psychological benefits to both people. Expansion and health – that’s what we gain. When Jean needed to check in three times a week, I phoned everyone in the Judson directory, asking them to schedule one time – and more than 100 people said yes. Directly asking someone is much better than simply making a general announcement, because it allows the biochemistry of human connection to flow. We each need to ask someone.
Ted Dawson, volunteer:
There has been no more meaningful experience I have had as a member of Judson than my involvement with Jean and his immigration struggle.
I came to Judson, primarily, to seek some kind of spiritual meaning in my life. i found that what this church offered me in pursuit of that goal was defined, not so much through personal contemplation, but in a call to action. By confronting the injustice that is so prevalent in so many areas of our lives, we not only help to change the world but we change ourselves.
There is no greater injustice, in my mind as an American citizen, than the immigration policies of my country. I am the grandson of Italian and Irish immigrants who came here, literally with nothing, and were able to pursue their dreams. I owe it to them to stand up to this hypocrisy.
I know Jean thanks me and everyone else for being part of his struggle. But in so many ways the thanks goes to him…… for the opportunity to know him and his family and to better know myself.
Thanks Jean and thank you Judson.