Visitation Matters

Rebuilding Hope, April 2016 edition
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Immigrant in detention holds bars.

Visitation volunteers offer hope, conversation, and dignity to those who are in detention.

It is hard to imagine a much more gratifying moment for volunteers and friends in our detention visitation ministry than the one that occurred last November. One of the very first people that our visitation program volunteers began visiting in November 2013 was a man we’ll call Manuel.

Manuel struggled because of his difficult childhood experiences and the effects of trauma on his family in his home country. He ended up in some minor trouble with the law that eventually caused him to be threatened with deportation.

While in detention, Manuel matured and came to deeply regret his past. He also recommitted himself to his religious faith as well as caring for and supporting his family. It took about two and a half years for his legal claims to be resolved in state and immigration courts.

For most of that time, Manuel was detained about three hours away from family and friends. As a result, the people closest to him were rarely able to visit him in person.

Manuel came to form close relationships with a couple of our volunteers, and decided that if he had the chance, he wanted to contribute to our efforts.

On November 30, 2015, Manuel finally won his case in immigration court, was released from detention, and had his green card reinstated. He is readjusting to life outside detention and plans to volunteer with the visitation program in the near future.

He and his family have expressed their thanks many times over for our visitation program’s visits and support that helped Manuel keep up his spirits and persevere throughout his long stay in immigration detention.

Thank you for walking alongside of detainees like Manuel in their darkest hours. Your gifts help detainees know they are remembered, cared for, and prayed for as they face an uncertain future.

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