DENVER — The sudden increase in the number of families being released from the Aurora Contract Detention Center has left an organization in Colorado short of volunteers and basic supplies.
Casa de Paz is a non-profit organization that seeks to reunite families who have been separated by immigration detention centers by providing post-release support to people once they have been released.
"Often times, new immigrants to the United States seeking asylum are admitted to these detention centers and transferred across the country and then when they end up in Colorado, if they win their case or if they are released on bail, they are free to walk out the back door of that prison, but many times they are far from home," said Sara Jackson, founder and executive director of Casa de Paz, or House of Hope.
But the past two months, the center has unexpectedly hosted an increased number of families.
"In June and July 2020 we received 27 guests, in June and July of this year we received 217 guests."
According to Jackson, families leave detention centers with no money, no phone, no food, without a sense of direction and some can't even speak English.
Casa de Paz volunteers pick up the families from the detention center and take them to the "casa" where they offer overnight shelter and the basic supplies that they need until they can reach their final destination.
>Video above shows a story about lost immigrants finding peace in a house near Denver
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Aurora Contract Detention Facility in Aurora, Colorado has seen an increase in the number of noncitizens being transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody from border facilities resulting in greater numbers of individuals being released. ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy. The decision to detain or release an individual is based upon the individual facts and circumstances of each case. ICE will continue to follow the civil immigration enforcement priorities directed by DHS on Jan. 20, to focus available resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety.
Jackson said Casa de Paz needs drivers who can pick up families from the detention center and people who can bring food, water bottles, sleeping bags, pillows and clean the center.
People who are interested in volunteering can visit this page. You do not need to be a volunteer to be able to bring supplies to the center.
For people who want to get involved, but don't want to go to the center, they have the option of playing in a volleyball league to raise funds.
"The volleyball league, known as Volleyball International, is another way to support the house if you don't want to bring food, but want to play volleyball and all the money we earn will be donated to the house," Jackson said.
NPR said in a report released on July 28 that the Biden administration has a plan that aims to expedite the consideration of many asylum applications.
If the president's plan is executed, the number of applicant approvals could grow rapidly and as a result more families will be released from detention centers across the nation.
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