Congregations Offer Housing for People Recently Released from ICE Detention

The risk of COVID-19 spreading is especially pronounced in the close conditions of jails, prisons, and ICE detention facilities.  Activists are putting pressure on the criminal justice system and on ICE to release those detained and incarcerated, including asylum seekers and other immigrants.

One of the primary needs, for ICE to release someone from detention, is for the detainee to have a “fixed address” to which they can be released.

Congregations and other religious facilities are ideal sources of temporary housing, especially since worship services and other gatherings cannot be held under current shelter-in-place rules and social distancing requirements.

Read our FAQ to learn more about how your congregation may be able to help.

An article in The Jewish News describes the experience of Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont, CA, sheltering a person recently released from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. Read below, or read here in Spanish.

From ICE detention to quarantine in an East Bay synagogue


Like most people in California, Luis is sheltering in place. He whiles away the hours listening to music on a Spanish-language radio station and scrolling through websites on an old, borrowed cell phone. But instead of being at home, the Honduran immigrant is spending his days on the ground floor of a pandemic-shuttered shul, at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont.

At 63, Luis, who asked that only his first name be used, has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years. He was recently released from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center near Bakersfield, where he had been incarcerated for six months. He’s been in quarantine at Kehilla since May 1.

Every day or two, a masked volunteer from the synagogue’s Immigration Committee delivers home-cooked meals and groceries…


Luis, 63, an immigrant from Honduras, is currently sheltering in place at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont.