Every year, thousands of people pass through the Northwest Immigration Detention Center in Tacoma, WA, one of the largest in the country.
When detainees are released, World Relief volunteers provide welcome, resources, and transportation in an important and disorienting time.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detains people at the Detention Center for many reasons: some are awaiting their asylum claim to be processed, others may have crossed a border without permission, and often their immigration status documentation contains errors or expires. Detainees are sent to this facility from all over the country. Some stay in the center for only a few weeks, others up to several years. Some have been living in the US for years or even decades, and many are separated from families on the outside.
Volunteers come alongside those recently released from the Northwest Immigration Detention Center by providing transportation assistance. Often detainees are new to the area and do not have access to a vehicle. When public transportation is limited or unavailable, volunteers assist those who need a ride to the airport or bus station so that they can be reunited with loved ones within the U.S. Additionally, volunteers provide transportation to and from appointments for asylees who are resettling in the greater Seattle area. To schedule a volunteer training, fill out a volunteer application and contact Stephanie Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org
Post-Release Services (Tacoma)
World Relief partners with AID NW to host a Welcome Center RV just outside the Northwest Detention Center. Volunteers serve by receiving released detainees and helping them navigate their next steps. This involves helping people contact family and friends, guidance for travel and navigation to host homes. Additionally volunteers welcome guests by offering snacks, backpacks and clothing.
Volunteers host recently released detainees in their homes for 1 to 3 days while they navigate their transportation to a destination outside the Seattle-Tacoma metro area. Volunteers often help these detainees, and their family across the country, understand how to purchase more affordable tickets, and navigate SeaTac airport.