Souls Offering Loving And Compassionate Ears
Through the SOLACE Interfaith Detention Center Visitation Project, volunteers provide a caring and compassionate presence and affirm the humanity and value of people held in detention. SOLACE is an affiliate of Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC), a national organization with the goal of exposing and abolishing immigration detention.
SOLACE is a visitation program that comforts and supports persons held in immigration detention, tells their stories, and advocates for humane immigration policy. SOLACE offers a friendly visitor to end the isolation and affirm the dignity and worth of those we visit, not as lawyers, social workers, bankers, therapists, or missionaries. We visit at the Otay Detention Facility owned by CoreCivic (formerly the Corrections Corporation of America), a for-profit prison company. Currently, people in detention are not entitled to legal representation or a speedy appearance in court, are isolated from their family/friends and vulnerable to abuse. They may be held indefinitely while backlogged immigration judges hear their cases. A more humane system is possible, and necessary, and SOLACE seeks to bring to light the suffering in the current system. To this end, SOLACE also collaborates with other organizations that are working for humane treatment and justice for immigrants.
"There are moments when you stand on the brink of a new experience and understand that you have no choice about it. Either you walk into the experience or you turn away from it, but you know that no matter what you choose, you will have altered your life in a permanent way. Either way, there will be consequences." ~ Dennis Covington
Visiting asylum seekers and immigrants detained in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or private prison is challenging and extremely rewarding. First and foremost is knowing that through our simple presence and friendly listening, we can ease the distress of someone isolated from their loved ones. It’s a transformative experience—we make contact with people and worlds we would otherwise never know. SOLACE is a great way to act on your UU principles and "let service be your prayer". We heartily invite you to join us! Please contact the SOLACE Coordinator to get started.