Interviewee: Kimberly Dominguez-Barranco, Accompaniment Program Coordinator at the Church Council of Greater Seattle
Interviewer: Paco Diaz, host of Realidades for Plataforma Latina
May 18, 2021
What is accompaniment?
Accompaniment is the practice of walking together, side by side, through daily life, and difficult and uncertain times.
Accompaniment is an invitation for us to practice offering our presence in the community.
Accompanying our people in the fight for dignity and security while navigating a deeply broken and inhuman system.
What is the Accompaniment Model?
The message of Accompaniment: You are not alone!
Mission: Continue the fight for the dignity, respect, and safety of our immigrant brothers as they navigate a deeply broken and inhuman system
We strive to be deeply present, listening and walking with our immigrant neighbors in times of need. Providing moments of relief that there is a community here for them.
What is the purpose of Accompaniment?
Offer a friendly and supportive presence so that the person or family does not have to navigate confusing or hostile systems alone.
In some situations, the presence of a volunteer serves as a way to hold immigration officials and court authorities accountable so that decisions that affect our community do not happen in private.
Solidarity with the immigrant community shows immigration judges, ICE officers, and court personnel that there is a community mobilized against their deportation and that they say they are valued members of the community.
What are the values of accompaniment?
We all have a shared humanity and our physical presence is a manifestation of our solidarity.
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their past actions.
Everyone has the right to due process and equal access to justice.
There are no “good immigrants” or “bad immigrants”, just people who are doing the best they can with what they have right now.
What are the types of accompaniment that the immigrant community can request?
USCIS Tukwila Appointments- Biometrics (Fingerprints) and Interviews.
Bracelet control registration at BI Inc. in Tukwila.
Administrative appointments in King County. For example: Social Security cards, Washington state driver’s licenses and IDs, passports, name changes, food stamps.
Accompaniment to state court
Hearings at the Tacoma Detention Center.
Browse and access coronavirus support resources
What is State Court Accompaniment?
Means accompaniment to a non-immigration court, includes municipalities, counties, districts and superior courts. The term “State Court” extends to each and every one of the matters that are carried out in a court.
In response to the surge in immigration-related arrests, including recent immigration-related arrests in Skagit County jails and other local county detention facilities that violated the Keep Washington Working Act and the Open to All Courts Act, this was the reason for having this approach also here in King County
Photograph / documentation of the ICE application
Activation of local rapid response teams
Accompaniment and support to the court
Information and referrals on community and legal resources
Family safety planning
Navigating the criminal justice system
Register for court orders (i.e. probation, court fees, mandatory treatment, etc.)
Facilitate access to justice for immigrants by helping them understand and navigate their cases;
Provide an additional way for advocates for justice to supplement their own client services and allow attorneys to operate “to the fullest of their licenses”; Y
Activate a variety of advocates for justice to better understand the criminal justice and immigration system, and accompany them in managing the often unfamiliar and overwhelming judicial process.
What is the role of the Accompaniment Volunteer?
Offer a friendly and supportive presence so that the person or family does not have to navigate an unfamiliar system alone
Support the applicant as they navigate a complex government process and, when prompted, use their English, citizenship privilege, or familiarity with how a process works
Volunteers cannot provide legal support, but we can offer referrals
Volunteers have undergone Council training and signed confidentiality agreements.
How can you Request Accompaniment?
Seattle Council of Churches Accompaniment Request Form: https://airtable.com/shrbavezNpeqQawsU