Life After Detention
Offering Welcome To Recently Released Migrants
LIRS has long been at the forefront of supporting vulnerable immigrant and refugee families. During the family separation crisis of summer 2018, LIRS liaised with government stakeholders, and was able to coordinate a more humane reunification of separated families on the southwest border. After seeing the immense trauma and complex needs of these reunified families, LIRS launched an intensive case management program to support 148 of these families for their first three months post-release from detention.
In 2019, we have seen record-high numbers of asylum-seeking immigrant families released from detention. These families—many with young children or infants—are released outdoors, in a city they don’t know, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, at all hours of the day and night. In response to ICE’s approach to releasing families in this way, LIRS works with local partners to help ease the transition into life after detention. Our volunteers meet people as they are released from detention, set them up with a temporary place to stay, as well as food, clothing, and any other immediate support we are able to provide.
Through this program, these vulnerable families are warmly received by a community of faith-based organizations and volunteers for one to two nights, before traveling onward to their final destinations across the U.S.
As these families begin to settle or resettle into communities across the U.S., they are often unfamiliar with their surroundings and the resources available for them.
Immigrant families released from detention have a number of intersecting needs, including securing stable and affordable housing, enrolling children in school, obtaining sufficient food for their family, and managing the complexities of their ongoing legal cases.
As a result, released immigrants are at serious risk of exploitation, abuse, and insecurity, and it may take months or years until they are financially self-sufficient.
LIRS continues to develop innovative programs to ensure these vulnerable families have access to the resources and service they need.