As communities across the country continue to discuss how they can work together to end the isolation of men and women in immigration detention, the idea of pen pals keeps surfacing. While there are over 40 visitation programs across the country, there remains over 200 detention facilities without a visitation program. CIVIC’s Pen Pal Program is designed to connect volunteers in any part of the country with people in immigration detention who do not yet have visitors.
To become a volunteer with CIVIC’s Pen Pal Program, you must be 18 years or older. The Pen Pal Program is open to non-U.S. citizens and undocumented individuals. To become a Pen Pal, email Paula Kahn at PKahn@endisolation.org.
“I wish I had a photo of myself with John Ferron, a Vietnam War veteran detained in Eloy Detention Center for over two years. He is in deportation proceedings because he lacks documentation for U.S. citizenship, despite serving our country during wartime, risking his life, and becoming 100% disabled. My partner and I began writing to John over a year ago, and through our letters, I felt compelled to begin visiting him, too. He begs us not to forget or abandon him. He credits us with giving him the strength and hope to continue fighting his case against all odds.
Writing to and visiting John and other people in immigration detention provides a way to build a personal connection with an individual who is among the most powerless in our society. I feel a sacred pledge to maintain contact with John no matter the outcome of his case.” –Marjorie King, CIVIC Volunteer