Social Action Volunteer Opportunities

B'nai Jeshurun Congregation | Pepper Pike, Ohio
By Judy Wright, Social Action Chair

Several Beth Israel – The West Temple members participated in the recent vigil in response to the current crisis of immigrant detention and family separation across the country. There are several different ways to take action to support our local immigrant communities. See the list below for opportunities to get involved. If you are interested in being part of an immigration response team at Beth Israel to work together on some of these projects, please let Judy Wright know at See the message below from our friends at the InterReligious Task Force for details about volunteer opportunities:

We’ve been engaged in a number of immigrant defense and support activities. We need more volunteer help.  Please read below and consider sharing some of the needs through your networks.
Also: Mark your calendar for our monthly Interfaith Vigil to Stand Up for Immigrants on  Thursday, Sep 5, 4-5pm outside the federal building at E 9th and Lakeside, downtown Cleveland. We hope you can join us.
A. Safe Hotels Campaign #NoHotelsForICE
We are asking hotels (chains and their local franchises) to commit to not doing business with ICE. No temporary detention beds. No workplace raids.
We need volunteers to coordinate visits to local hotel managers in NE Ohio (and coordinate those visits with any union workers at the hotels).  Read about the #NoHotelsForICE campaign here and sign the petition here.
If you would like to be part of the Safe Hotels Campaign in NE Ohio, please email
B. Rapid Response Team
You read about the raids in Mississippi on August 7 that led to the apprehension of 680 poultry workers, ripping them from the families. It was the largest single state raid in US history!
We need to get ready here and now. We have a team of people preparing to respond to ICE raids here in northern Ohio. There are many areas of response: getting people to turn out at the raid site, show up at the ICE office and detention centers, collect and deliver material aid to families left behind, provide counseling for children and spouses, hold fundraisers for the families…more.
The coordinating team for Rapid Response has several working sub-teams that meet every two weeks:
-community education/outreach/networking
-volunteer training
-family needs (material and emotional)
-spiritual + mental health support
-legal Services
If you would like to be an emergency response volunteer,  or if you would like to join one of the working sub-teams,  please
C. Bond Packets-Release from Detention
Hundreds of immigrants are detained across northern Ohio. The only way they can get out is to request a “redetermination of custody” hearing where the immigration judge can set a bond (usually $7500-$15,000). Volunteers are working with lawyers and the families of the detainees to gather documents and organize them into packets for the bond hearings. Lawyers say that judges almost always grant bonds to immigrants who present well-organized packets illustrating their ties to the community and commitment from a sponsor (friend or relative).
If you would like to be part of the Bond Packet team, please email
D. Court Monitoring
Cleveland is the site of the only Immigration Court in Ohio. People drive from as far as Cincinnati and neighboring states to present their cases. Several judges hear the cases, including the cases of those detained across the state (via closed-circuit TV). Lawyers tell us that having volunteer monitors in the courtroom helps temper the judges. They encourage us to keep people monitors in the courtroom.
If you can volunteer half a day (twice a month) and would like to be trained to become a court room monitor, please email
E. Bus Reception
We are part of a network of groups across the country who are welcoming migrants at bus stations (e.g., Greyhound) and providing them with food, backpacks, and other needed supplies. Most times they are just passing through; some recently out of detention.  We receive last minute notices from volunteers in other towns that a bus carrying some migrants will be passing through Cleveland in a couple of hours and can we go meet them.
If you can volunteer to be part of the Bus Reception program , please email
F. Public Actions
The public continues to be outraged by the harsh immigration enforcement practices going on across the country. We continue to keep the issue in the forefront: vigils, marches, rallies, street theatre.
If you would like to be part of the Public Actions team to help plan and carry out future actions, please email
G. Sponsor Families
Some immigrant detainees have nowhere to go if/when they are bonded out of detention (assuming they can raise the money).  We are developing a network of sponsor families to host them for a few months once they are released from detention.
If you would like us to speak to your congregation or community group about the sponsor family program, please email
H. Help for Mississippi Raid Victims
The Southeast Immigrant Rights Network is on the ground, helping to coordinate a response to the Aug 7 raids in Mississippi. They have asked for groups who want to help to fill out this form with whatever you can offer:
Interfaith Immigrant Defense Vigil
Our banner, “This Is About Family,” draws attention to the pain and suffering experienced by immigrant families. Near record levels of apprehensions, detentions, and deportations are tearing families apart.
Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building, 1240 E. 9th St. (at Lakeside), downtown Cleveland
Our call:
-end family separation
-end detention
-cut funding to ICE
-give permanent legal status to DACA & TPS immigrants
More here.