“When a stranger resides among you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. The stranger residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love the stranger as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Lev. 19:33-34).
The Church Council upholds and affirms the rights and dignity of all immigrants and refugees. We decry systems of detention and deportation that tear apart loved ones and devastate our communities emotionally and economically. As a community of faith, we offer a counter-narrative to policies and rhetoric that dehumanize and criminalize entire groups of people. We recognize that we all have a role to play in alleviating suffering and eradicating fear, as part of our “faith that does justice.”
Our participation in the wider immigrant rights movement is grounded in the values of accompaniment, hospitality and mutuality.
The Church Council encourages faith communities and congregations to be places of refuge, welcome and hope for all.
Immigration Appointment Accompaniment
In partnership with other community organizations, Church Council is training accompaniment volunteers who are connected to congregations and faith communities to be a supportive presence to individuals navigating the complex immigration system.
CCGS Accompaniment Hotline: (253) 343-1410
CCGS Hotline Days & Hours of Operation: Mon – Fri 9 AM – 6 PM
➔ Hotline volunteers speak English & Spanish.
➔ Submit your request with as much lead time as possible, and at least 4 business days prior to your appointment.
Feel free to share the information on how to request accompaniment, in English and Spanish below:
Types of accompaniment you can request:
➢ USCIS appointments in Tukwila- biometrics (fingerprints) and interviews.
➢ Ankle bracelet monitoring check-in at BI Inc. in Tukwila.
➢ Administrative appointments in King County. Ex: Social Security cards, driver’s licenses & WA state IDs, passports, name changes, food stamps.
➢ Other types of appointments will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on volunteer & organizational capacity.
CCGS is partnering with the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) to expand our volunteer training for these types of accompaniment requests, starting in 2020:
➢ State Court (non-immigration court) accompaniment where there is a fear of ICE presence.
➢ NWDC Bond Hearings in Tacoma.
The role of an accompaniment volunteer:
❖ Offer a friendly, supportive presence so that the person or family does not have to go to the appointment alone in what are often confusing or hostile environments.
❖ Support the requester as they navigate a complex government process, and when asked, leverage their English skills, citizenship privilege or familiarity with how a process works.
❖ Volunteers cannot provide legal support. If you are seeking legal counsel, we can offer you referrals.
❖ Volunteers have gone through CCGS training and signed confidentiality agreements.
Volunteer Interest: If you’re interested in joining the cohort of accompaniment volunteers with the Church Council, please add your name to the waiting list to find out about future trainings. Volunteers should have weekday and daytime availability, reliable transportation, and be comfortable and calm when interacting with immigration officials. Speaking languages besides English is a plus, especially if you speak Spanish.
Read about national accompaniment efforts: Volunteers accompany U.S. immigrants to court to allay fears, by Claudia Torrens
Below are resources from local and national organizations.
More resources will be listed soon!
Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network
Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) is a Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee rights organizations and individuals that strive to protect, serve, strengthen and support the capacity and resources to build power and a united voice in Washington. The Church Council of Greater Seattle is an active member of WAISN.
- Hotline to report active raids & ICE activity: 1-844-RAID-REP (1-844-724-3737)
- Subscribe to the text alert system by texting JOIN to: (253) 201-2833. Language options in: English, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.
- Legal Representation at little or no cost to those in immigration and deportation proceedings in Western & Eastern Washington. Call 800-445-5771 to see if you qualify. For those detained at the NW Detention Center in Tacoma, call (253) 383-0519.
- Resources & Immigration 101 Training Video & Presentation Slides
- Legal Representation at little or no cost to those in immigration and deportation proceedings in Western & Eastern Washington. Call (206) 931-1514 for more information on other programs or to make an appointment.
- Trainings and workshops to demystify the immigration system and to learn know-your-rights material. Colectiva also does family preparedness for those who may be at risk of deportation.
- Seattle-King County Immigrant Legal Defense Network: Free legal defense assistance for immigrants in detention, facing deportation or in danger of losing immigration status that live or work in Seattle or live in King County AND have a household income below 200% of the federal poverty level.
Know Your Rights (KYR) and Family Preparedness
ACLU Know Your Rights videos: Several short videos on what to do if questioned about immigration status by law enforcement, if ICE comes to your home, DACA status, what to do at airports, anti-Muslim discrimination, and more. You can also order KYR cards in various languages.
NWIRP: Advisory to Nonprofits and Social Service Providers regarding Immigration Enforcement including information on requesting a proper warrant.
Family Preparedness: Immigrant Safety Plan for Youth & Children by Legal Counsel for Youth & Children (LCYC) in English, Spanish and Somali.
National Legal and Advocacy Resources
Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has policy and resource guides for a variety of topics and issues.
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has resources on understanding recent Executive Orders, Legislation in Congress, Enforcement and Due Process, and Humanitarian Protections.
Informed Immigrant: Resources include a family preparedness video and a list of immigrant rights organizations across the U.S.
Melanie Cervantes is a Xicanx artist based out of the San Francisco Bay Area who co-created Dignidad Rebelde, a graphic arts collaboration.
We look forward to having a conversation with you about how you and your congregation can become involved in our faith community movement for welcome and accompaniment. Contact Our Executive Director, Michael Ramos, at (206) 204-3852.