Indiana AID was formed in 2019 when three individuals - a lawyer, a pastor, and a grad student - came together out of their mutual concern over the fact that there was no program in Indiana to support the immigrants who were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in our state. We began communicating with ICE about our interest in visiting the facility in early 2020, but our plans were canceled when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and all in-person visitation was shut down. For the next two years, we slowed down our operations until a friend from the Interfaith Coalition of Detained Immigrants (ICDI) showed us how we could run a virtual visitation program at the jail, which did not require an in-person visit or even ICE permission. We set up such a virtual program at the end of 2021 and have been visiting with and assisting immigrants in the jail ever since.
Affiliations and Values
Freedom for Immigrants is a network of visitation programs across the country that are committed to abolishing immigration detention worldwide and ending the isolation of people who are currently suffering in it. They were the organization that put our founding members in contact with each other, and we have signed on to their values statement as a member of the network ourselves.
Shalom Mennonite Church of Indianapolis, where the pastor ministers, is serving as the fiscal sponsor of our organization. Indiana AID signed an MOU with Shalom in 2020 that allows us to use their facility and infrastructure to get our program started. However, Indiana AID is not a program of Shalom Mennonite Church, but is an interfaith organization that welcomes people of all faiths and no faith who share our values to work with us. None of the money donated to Indiana AID goes into the Shalom Mennonite Church budget, nor does money donated to Shalom Mennonite Church go to Indiana AID.
The Interfaith Coalition for Detained Immigrants (ICDI) is a well-established visitation program that has been serving immigrants in Wisconsin and Illinois since 2007. After a few months of working on our own, Indiana AID reached out to ICDI, who agreed to temporarily run our visitation program and give us access to their training resources, staff, and finances while we build up our organization. They brought some of their own volunteers to help with visits, but they are also prepared to train new volunteers from Indiana who will eventually be doing visits through our program.