Casa de Paz, a shelter for recently detained immigrants and their families, was started by Sarah Jackson in 2012. Ms. Jackson responded to a need for temporary housing for immigrants released from Aurora’s immigration detention center, run by the GEO Group “GEO.”
The GEO detention center has a capacity of 1,500. Many of those detained do not live in Colorado. Recently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has transferred detainees from around the country to Colorado because other detention centers, especially those close to the southern border, are full. Detaining immigrants far from their families is very difficult for both the immigrant and their family members. Casa de Paz offers free temporary housing, meals, visits to immigrants in detention, and transportation to immigrants and their families.
Recently, Casa de Paz has experienced a huge influx in demand for its services. ICE has stepped up its enforcement efforts and has conducted a series of raids across the country. In addition, there is a 31,000 per day detention mandate from Congress. On any given day, ICE must be detaining at least 31,000 immigrants. This gives ICE incentive to detain people and to keep people in detention, instead of using prosecutorial discretion or setting a bond if the person is eligible.
As a result of this increase in immigration detention, Casa de Paz has to raise more money to meet rising demand. Ms. Jackson founded a volleyball league called Volleyball Latino in 2012. All the proceeds of the league go to fund Casa de Paz. In the last 2.5 years, Ms. Jackson and Casa de Paz has hosted many families and recently detained immigrants. It has made many meals and visited many detainees. It has trained more than 120 volunteers and it continues to grow each day.
If you have a family member who is currently detained at GEO, or who has recently been released and has no place to stay, please go to Casa de Paz’s website for more information: http://www.casadepazcolorado.org/
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