Parole and Sponsorship

Volunteers are often asked to help someone in detention find a sponsor for release on parole. This post briefly discusses how to help someone find a sponsor.

Those in detention who are eligible for parole typically need a sponsor. Those seeking asylum often do not have family members in the U.S. who can sponsor them, and are often unable to successfully apply for parole even though they are not a flight risk and pose no threat to the community. This leaves them languishing in detention, where they are less likely to be successful with their cases.

What do sponsors do? Sponsors must write a letter in support to be included in an individual’s parole request. They must indicate that they will provide housing and financial support, and help ensure that the individual, if released, will attend all scheduled immigration hearings. Volunteers may be asked to be a sponsor, or asked for help in finding a sponsor. Not everyone is willing to be a sponsor. But, you can try to connect individuals in detention with people willing to sponsor them.

Freedom for Immigrants, in partnership with Showing up for Racial Justice, organizes and runs a database for those seeking a sponsor. The individual’s information can be entered on this web-based form. While people in detention do not have access to the internet, volunteers do. AVID has a tri-lingual letter (English/Spanish/French) that can be mailed to individuals in detention so that they can provide the information necessary for someone to enter them into the database. Reach out to the Program Coordination Team to get the letter.

Be very clear with individuals in detention that getting parole is not easy, can take a long time, and that their request may be denied. The El Paso ICE Field Office is one of five ICE field offices that have been sued by the ACLU for denying parole to asylum seekers. Despite ongoing litigation, ICE continues to violate their own parole directive.