Through its constantly evolving, expanding, and interconnected programs, NSC works to ensure that our Friends (the term we use instead of “clients”) receive community support, individualized assistance, and a path for taking on leadership roles within the movement. All of NSC’s programs are offered free of charge, and we are committed to turning no Friend away regardless of their situation, history, or background.
NSC is committed to creating sanctuary anywhere our Friends feel threatened so that they can advocate for themselves and lead lives free of the fear of persecution based on their immigrant status. Accompaniment ensures citizen-witness of ICE’s behavior, offers emotional support to Friends, and establishes that our Friends have strong ties to the local community, a fact recognized and acknowledged by immigration judges.
Volunteers accompany Friends to ICE check-ins and immigration court hearings, as well as to criminal courts and other daily appointments that can feel riskier when one is at risk of deportation.
Pro Se Immigration Clinic
NSC’s weekly pro se immigration clinic works to eliminate the perception of our Friends as passive victims by empowering them with information about how they can pursue their own defense strategies even without lawyers.
At the clinic, trained volunteers and lawyers donate their time to provide legal support and referrals; share crucial information about immigrants’ rights; assist with asylum applications; advise on pro se defense and court appearance preparation; advocate to increase immigrants’ access in detention centers to legal defense tools (faxes, copiers, etc.); and much more.
Friends come to the immigration clinic when:
- they’ve recently arrived and want to apply for asylum
- they want help with employment authorization or other benefits connected to immigration status
- criminalization has jeopardized their immigration status
- a loved one has been detained or threatened with deportation
- they aren’t sure what to ask for or do but have heard that NSC can help
(anti)Detention Program and L.I.F.E. Bond Fund
NSC believes that no one should be deported. The (anti)Detention program fights detention while increasing the visibility of immigration detention by developing a strong base of individuals and allies engaged in anti-detention work, including those with personal, lived experience of ICE incarceration.
Defense committees, organized by staff and populated by dedicated volunteers including faith leaders and other citizens and Friends, work with detained Friends to strategize, advocate for, and secure their release and prevent their deportation. We support, educate, and empower detainees and their loved ones in ways that are mindful of the trauma of detention and separation.
The L.I.F.E. bond fund is used to free our detained Friends from immigration custody once ICE or an immigration judge sets bond and we are notified. Bonds are posted by faith leaders from NSC’s network, and the liberated Friend is connected with NSC’s range of services so they can receive whatever support they need to continue their fight.
Every Thursday at 11 a.m. at 26 Federal Plaza, faith leaders, immigration activists, and community members march in silence and pray in solidarity with the individuals and families whose basic humanity is being denied by our unjust and immoral immigration system. Though we walk in silence, our actions speak to the injustices that our communities face.
Through the SanctuaryHood program, NSC:
- provides Beyond Your Rights trainings to immigrants and their allies
- organizes safe spaces for immigrants at houses of worship, businesses, and homes
- coordinates a Rapid Response Network that mobilizes citizens to stand with and protect Friends threatened by ICE raids
NSC is dedicated to ensuring that our Friends receive the comprehensive support they need. Trained social work interns work with Friends to determine the need for referrals and follow up for issues including:
- healthcare, including mental health
- nutrition programs
- educational enrollment for children
- adult education
- housing and other services
The NYC Department of Health and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Direct also offer direct enrollment services at the pro se clinic.