New LI Immigrant Rapid Response Network

Participants in the “Day without Immigrants” march in February 2017 in Hampton Bays. (File photo by Denise Civiletti via RiverheadLOCAL)

A new organization on Long Island, the North Fork Rapid Response Network, supports undocumented immigrants and their families by accompanying them to court and keeping a watch on ICE actions, reports Denise Civiletti for RiverheadLOCAL.

The group, which has about 50 members, is one of 10 such networks on the island organized by Long Island Jobs with Justice. The majority of the volunteers come from faith-based communities.

Members of the network volunteer to accompany undocumented immigrants to various court proceedings and other encounters with authorities — everything from “check-ins” with immigration officers to proceedings in immigration court in Manhattan or one of the justice courts in the East End towns.


An outgrowth of the accompaniment program is the witness program. Volunteers may sign up to be witnesses to Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions in the local community. Long Island Jobs with Justice maintains a hotline (516-387-2043) for reports of ICE activity. Reports are forwarded to community coordinators, who in turn contact volunteers who live or work closest to the reported action. The volunteers, trained by Long Island Jobs with Justice, then go to the scene of the action to watch and document what is going on.

Go to RiverheadLOCAL for more on how ICE has changed their tactics in detaining people and a meeting between local immigrant advocates and the new Suffolk County sheriff who announced that the county will continue to honor ICE detainer requests.

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