Separated From Her Children

Karla* didn’t know where her 13-year-old daughter was for 25 days.  When she was being separated from their kids, their 6-year-old girl didn’t want to let go.  Holding back tears, she shared her traumatic journey with World Relief staff and volunteers.  She did this while sitting in the AIDNW Welcome Center only a few feet outside the fence of the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA where she had just been released. 

Fleeing El Salvador, Karla and her family sought asylum at the border and she was quickly separated from her family.  Karla was one of the mothers who had been taken to the federal prison in SeaTac, WA.  Later she was transferred to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.  While in the federal prison, she didn't know where her oldest child had been taken for over 4 weeks..

Karla was released from the Detention Center on bond and her first call was to her family who were now all together waiting for her in California.  A plane ticket had been arranged for her the next day.  That evening, she went to a World Relief church volunteer’s home to receive a warm meal and a welcoming place to spend the night.  The volunteers took her to the airport in the morning and helped her get on her flight.  Karla is now back with her family, but more mothers are still separated from their children. 

*Karla’s name has been changed to protect her identity.


To apply to host or help transport detainees when they are released from the detention center, please fill out an application.

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Join us for an event in Ballard on August 9th to learn more about our Immigration Legal Services and ways you can support immigrant and refugee families.


You can support World Relief's work at the Northwest Immigration Detention Center by giving funds that help pay for goods and support services to detainees - select Detention Center.



Family Reunification Fund

By now you have probably heard of immigrant families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Given the complex environment, we have set up a national "Family Reunification Fund" which will give us flexibility to respond as the situation changes. 

Send Legal Help to the Border

We currently have more than 35 attorneys and accredited legal representatives throughout our network. Many are able to be deployed to assist families on the border -- some as early as this week.  It costs us $5,000 for 2 legal professionals to be on the border for a week.  In that week they will:

  • Help 7-10 families.
  • Help families with asylum petitions so their petitions do not result in family separation.
  • Visit and represent families in detention.

Support Families in Detention

World Relief currently leads a large scale ministry for immigrants in detention here in Tacoma, WA.  We want to expand this work - but it's hard to gain access to the these facilities! A gift of $30,000 will deploy a staff member to lay the groundwork for piloting our work in 3 new immigrant detention centers.  We will explore the following in each center:

  • Legal Services
  • Spiritual Care
  • Post Release Services

Build Legal Capacity

Every day the demand for our legal service increases.  As we expand our services across the country, including sending staff to the border, we grow the need for training and technical support.  We are seeking to hire another full-time Immigration Attorney to increase the capacity of our 60+ Immigration Legal Services centers around the country.