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It is a program that walks with immigrants to support them in navigating resources for their diverse needs. Accompaniment is a demonstration of solidarity and puts into practice our values. We recognize the interconnectedness of oppression and know that fighting for justice for others contributes to collective growth.
If you are an immigrant or trying to support a friend and don't know how don't hesitate to get in touch with us at (215) 279 - 7060 or call or text our accompaniment line at (267) 225-8816 one of our available staff will get back to you.
Immigrants leave their lives and all they know behind to enter a country that is not welcoming and unknown. Once immigrants arrive in the US, they are faced with language barriers, lack of work, racism, and many other hardships. We find that most immigrants face the deep reality that everything is unknown and harsh and that they have lost the connection with their communities and systems of support. The goal of our program is to be an open ear to support, orient, and connect people to resources and help lift up and build their skills to navigate hardships with confidence with the goal of resolving their problems. Our hope and goal is that in the future, the same people who knock on NSM’s doors for help become helpers and promoters of resources to their neighbors.
How do we help?
Immigrants from different countries knock on NSM’s doors and call our office or our accompaniment line on a daily basis. Our Accompaniment Coordinator or our available staff will listen to understand what is a type of help the individual needs. After listening, we make an action plan together to connect to the up-to-date resources available based on priorities.
Our Accompaniment Program is key for NSM to ensure we guide and respect the individual’s agency on how they want to move forward. Some cases may need our presence at courts or ICE offices, so in those cases, we mobilize our volunteers to support.
Guide for Individuals at Court
New Sanctuary Movement’s Accompaniment Program is a primary method through which allied member congregations and friends provide solidarity to our immigrant members facing deportation. Through a process supported by NSM’s staff, regularly brings allies to Philadelphia probation, immigration, criminal, family and traffic court in order to provide emotional support and physical presence in a very difficult, and often scary moment. As part of our short term case work we regularly refer immigrants to credible legal services and help them with the process of fighting their deportation case. We work closely with nonprofits and lawyers in the city to support this critical legal work on the case.
- Support the family
- Make sure the court knows that our community is watching
- Bring the visual representation of God’s presence in a place that is violent and has so much power over people’s lives.
- Bearing witness (as opposed to protesting)
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- NSM members and Friends who are interested must call our office at (215) 279-60 for a one on one orientation and a training session.
- After you are a registered and trained volunteer NSM staff will send email alerts with necessary details about the case. In the email alert you will be asked to text one of our accompaniment lines to let our staff know if you can make it and we will coordinate with you.
- Please follow the directions on the email. We usually meet outside of the courtroom or in the lobby for a short prayer and then head to the courtroom to wait for the hearing. You may stay as long as you are able.
- After court, the lawyer or staff will explain the next steps of the case. Afterwards, we shake hands and say our goodbyes. We may also take a picture if the family asks for it. (We don’t publicize the cases in our social media unless they win, it’s part of the case strategy to win, or its the family’s wish)
- NSM staff will always be in close contact with the family and their lawyer to provide support and take action if it is needed to support the legal battle.
BY SIGNING UP YOU AGREE TO:
- Follow and respect the lead of the family whether they want to engage, or remain silent, or pray. If they are nervous you can try to talk to help them relax, if they don’t want to engage follow their lead. A staff or a coordinator from NSM will always be present to guide the process and provide interpretation if needed.
- Respect boundaries refrain from questions about traumatic stories (Ex: how did you crossed the border, how did you end up in deportation proceedings, or probing questions of their case unless you are the coordinator and absolutely need this info to help them) If they want to talk about it, that is fine, but remember, you are there to support only.
- Trust that NSM staff have all the nitty gritty details of the case under control.