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Detention Dialogues starts first immigration detention visitor program in CA

December 30, 2011
via Christina Fialho & Christina Mansfield of Detention Dialogues:
As we celebrate this holiday season with our family, friends, and loved ones, we look back at the accomplishments and events of 2011. This has been an amazing year for the immigration detention visitation movement!

On a local level, Detention Dialogues successfully started the first immigration detention visitation program in California. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the West County Detention Facility (WCDF) approved Detention Dialogues as an official visitation program. Detention Dialogues trained 40 visitor volunteers throughout Northern California, and began to connect visitors to detainees held at WCDF as well as at Sacramento County Jail and Yuba County Jail.

Christina Fialho (pictured on right) with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and SCU Law Student Naoko Kumada at a Detention Dialogues-­‐sponsored event.

Detention Dialogues also answered dozens of phone calls from detainees at WCDF able to call us at no cost using a four-­‐digit extension provided to us through the ICE detainee pro bono telephone system. We connected these detainees to visitors, pro bono attorneys, and family members located both in the United States and abroad.

In 2011, more and more young people stood up for immigrant rights on their high school and college campuses with Detention Dialogues’ support. Students from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Chabot College, California Institute of Integral Studies, and Santa Clara University (SCU) volunteered as visitors and helped raise awareness on their college campuses through events, fliers, college newspaper articles, and small group discussions. For example, Detention Dialogues’ volunteers at SCU organized a showing of the film, The Visitor, and led group discussions on the effects of immigration detention on their campus.

On a national level, Detention Dialogues has helped strengthen a growing network of sixteen visitation programs. Detention Dialogues co-­‐founders Christina Fialho and Christina Mansfield joined forces with Rev. David Fraccaro to lead monthly conference calls with visitor volunteers across the United States. In 2012, Christina and Christina look forward to leading the network’s expansion and continuing to provide a communication platform for communities supporting immigration detainees.

As we look back on these successes and celebrate them together, we remember that each day in our country 33,000 men, women, and children are detained for violating a civil immigration law. As we remember these individuals, we look forward into 2012 determined to do more to protect our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our old friends and our new friends.

Thank you for all your support and for caring so much about ending the isolation of immigrants in detention. Without you, there would be no Detention Dialogues. As 2011 comes to a close, we are thrilled to share with you highlights of accomplishments, photos, and stories made possible by your support.

Join us in 2012, as we stand together to create a country that values and protects every human being!

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