Bring the Sky: The LIRS Detention Visitation Guide

"I was in prison and you came to visit me." What if Jesus Christ were actually in prison? Would you take the time from your busy schedule to visit Him? Participating in a detention visitation ministry is one way to answer His call. In the U.S. immigration detention system, over 360,000 people are detained each year. That's 360,000 opportunities to visit Him.

Visitation Resources

LIRS Access Toolkit - How to Use the New Access Procedures for ICE Detention Facilities

Webinar Series - Quarterly webinars designed to coach visitation basics and share best practices.

Immigration Detention Visitation Ministry Map - Find ICE Detention Facilities, LIRS visitation partners, and additional visitation ministries.

The guide includes five modules:

Why Visit? A Theology of Detention Visitation Ministry - Explore what the Bible has to say about ministry with the oppressed, standing against injustice, welcoming the stranger, and visiting those in prison. We are called to be like Jesus, who is God with us, by being a compassionate presence to others. And we are called to minister to Jesus as we see God's image in the people who are oppressed.

Realities: The Impact of the U.S. Immigration Detention System - The U.S. government uses detention as its primary means of immigration enforcement, indiscriminately detaining asylum seekers, torture survivors, undocumented immigrants, trafficking victims, long-term residents, families and parents of children who are U.S. citizens. Non-citizens and their families feel the greatest impact of this practice. Communities suffer, too, and taxpayers foot the enormous bill.

Ministry Basics: Establishing a Visitation Program for Detained Migrants - Make a path through the red tape and past the razor wire to the imprisoned people who need support and encouragement. Learn how to get information about your local detention center, organize a ministry leadership team, develop administrative and information management tools, recruit and train volunteers, and identify migrants who need and want visits.

Being a Visitor: Practical Guidance on Visiting Detained Migrants - Be encouraged in your desire to visit migrants in detention. Explore your role as a compassionate presence, and avoid common missteps that may proceed from the best of intentions. Understand the need for confidentiality and how to protect detainees’ privacy. Learn how to navigate challenging situations and maintain appropriate boundaries.

Steps Beyond: Education, Advocacy & Community Care - Explore more ways to minister to detained and recently released migrants. If visitation isn’t the right ministry for you, or if you want to provide even more support, there are many ways to serve. Work to change the laws and policies that oppress newcomers. Create community care systems that meet practical needs such as housing. Study the issues more deeply through additional educational resources.