New program called CALEB created to help immigrant families pay jail bond
A program aimed at keeping families together by helping them post bond in immigration courts is coming to Chattanooga.
The announcement was made during a press conference on Thursday.
Sarah Berestecky with the group Chattanoogans for Action, Love, Equality, and Benevolence, or CALEB, says most undocumented immigrants are being held in jail on minor charges and can't make bail.
Then they are taken away to ICE detention centers before their trial.
She says its hurting families in Hamilton County every day.
"It's important because I feel like we are not having big ICE raids here in Hamilton County and in Chattanooga. But weekly, numerous people are being separated from their families,” Berestecky said.
Berestecky says in one case the person wasn't even transferred from Silverdale Detention Center for their court appearance more than a week after the arrest.
Failing to secure release, these defendants were turned over to ICE custody and transferred to detention facilities.
"It really gave us a view of what was happening in the LatinX Community here. And the immigrant community here. And the kind of the things affecting them I don't think a lot of us would know what was happening,” Berestecky said.
The bond fund is set up to help those with minor charges like traffic violations or non-violent crimes.
Though not everyone is eligible, Berestecky says anyone who has had a loved one taken to a detention center should never be afraid to reach out for help.
"I think this will be a process of learning and even reaching out to other organizations around the country that are doing this and see how they are setting up theirs,” Berestecky said.
The group's goal is to reunite families instead of separating them.
"The courage to feel like we are safe. We are safe people to reach out to and share their story I think would be important for them to," Berestecky said.
They are still trying to reach their goal of $20,000 to get the bond going.
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