Introducing “Freedom for Immigrants” (formerly CIVIC)

Technical issues resolved, the El Cerrito Progressives newsletter is again online. We thank our followers and readers for your patience.


The City of El Cerrito being a Sanctuary City places an importance on progressive news coverage to include successive updates on issues related to sanctuary.

El Cerrito City Council supports CIVIC

Therefore, as an introduction to our readers who have not been previously apprised, and in respect to issues involving the detention of undocumented individuals in California, in their own words meet Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC):


(March 21, 2018) – Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC), a national nonprofit working to abolish immigration detention, announced its new name today [Freedom for Immigrants].

In fewer than six years, Freedom for Immigrants has:

  • Built a national network of 43 community-based and volunteer-run visitation programs that provides people in immigration detention with a connection to the outside world and documents rights violations.
  • Launched the largest national immigration detention hotline, connecting people for free to their loved ones and a community of advocates that provides support.
  • Drafted and passed two laws that place a moratorium on immigration detention expansion in California – the first laws of their kind in the United States.
  • Created and disseminated award-winning storytelling projects, such as IMM-Print — a publication by and for people directly impacted by detention.
  • Conducted independent investigations in detention facilities, uncovering systemic abuses such as widespread sexual assault, medical neglect leading to dozens of deaths in detention, and physical abuse by ICE officers and contracted facility guards.
  • Worked with Santa Ana community leaders to shut down the only dedicated transgender immigration detention facility in the country and successfully won a commitment from the city to instead identify as a sanctuary for immigrants.

“History has taught us that freedom is something worth fighting for, and we believe that no individual should be imprisoned for crossing a border,” said Christina Fialho, the co-founder and co-executive director of Freedom for Immigrants. “We want to reclaim the word freedom and shift its meaning to one of empowerment, not disenfranchisement. Freedom is not just for the privileged few — it is a right for all.”

“Today [March 21, 2018], Freedom for Immigrants launches a new website, providing the public with:

  • timeline on the history of immigration detention dating back to the 18th Century;
  • An up-to-date interactive map of the immigration detention system and accompanying statistics” immigrants, visitor volunteers, and journalists; and
  • A short history on prison abolition and how it relates to the movement to end immigration detention;
  • New resources for immigrantsvisitor volunteers, and journalists; and
  • how-to-guide for running a successful “Dignity Not Detention Act” campaign in your home state to abolish or stop the expansion of immigration detention.

As part of our transformation to Freedom for Immigrants, we are launching an international organizing component to build a global movement of immigration detention visitation programs and support groups.

The United States maintains the oldest and largest immigration detention system in the world and other countries have drawn on its structure to model their own responses to migration.”

In the coming year, Freedom for Immigrants will be focused on:

  • Growing our network of U.S. visitation programs, family support groups, and our hotline to monitor immigration detention facilities and provide people with a connection to the outside world;
  • Launching policy campaigns at the state and federal levels to stop the expansion of immigration detention and educate policymakers on the detention system;
  • Setting up public-private immigration bond funds that not only work to free individual people from detention but also challenge the supposed need for immigration detention entirely; and
  • Building connections and our collective power with visitation programs already in existence across the globe.

We hope you will join us in building a world where freedom for immigrants is a reality — because together, we will end immigration detention.

Check out our new website and show your support for Freedom for Immigrants. Make a tax-deductible donation today:

Share this news on social media by:

tagging @MigrantFreedom on Twitter or Instagram, or @FreedomForImmigrants on Facebook.”

Find more information on the history and looking forward with Freedom for Immigrants, on their site (also mentioned in this article),, or  visit FRIENDS OF CIVIC, and CIVIC: Blog.

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