VIDA: Volunteers for Immigrants in Detention - Albuquerque (formerly Civic ABQ)
Sample Letters to those in detention
My name is Kelly and I’m a volunteer with VIDA: Volunteers for Immigrants in Detention - Albuquerque. I’m writing to you to say hello and to tell you that I don’t find it fair that you are in detention. Our organization tries to support those in ICE detention by reminding you that you are not alone.
I understand that you are from Nigeria. What part are you from? Are you from the big city or the countryside? I myself have lived in Albuquerque for most of my life. It’s a big city of 800,000 people, but it doesn’t have that big city feel. I like visiting big cities, but I’m ok with living somewhere that is a little calmer. What languages do you speak? I am a French and Spanish teacher and really love both languages.
How are you doing? What are things like for you at the detention facility? Our organization is not able to visit right now, so we are focusing on writing letters instead. I am on summer break right now because I am a teacher. I teach high school students and I also have three teen daughters, so I am surrounded by teenagers! What about you? Do you have younger siblings? I have one brother myself. He lives in San Francisco.
The weather has been very hot in Albuquerque this week. It has been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit all week, or around 37 degrees Celsius. Do you like hot weather? Are you able to go outside often? What is the weather like there? I actually like hot weather, but I find that most people don’t. How does the weather where you are compare to what you’re used to?
Tell me more about yourself. What do you like to do under normal circumstances? What hopes do you have for your future? I wish you all the best with your case. In the meantime, I would enjoy writing to you and getting letters back.
Sample Letter #2
Thank you for returning the application to be part of our visitation program. I look forward to meeting you!
I see that I misspelled your last name on my previous letter. I apologize.
We plan to visit next Thursday, December 12, probably in the morning. We coordinate our visits through Chaplain Compton there at the detention center. If our plan changes I will ask him to let you know – or you can check with him if we are not there when you expect us. Snowstorms are the event most likely to cause a last minute change.
How are things going for you? Do you have family or friends in the United States who you write and call?
I am a retired teacher and live in the mountains not too far from Estancia where you are. I have visited other people who are in detention while seeking asylum, and have very much valued getting to know them. I am very sorry that the asylum process is so long and frustrating. What are the things that help you keep going?