Supporting Immigrants with Dignity while in Detention and Upon Release


Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest


Supporting Immigrants with Dignity while in Detention and Upon Release

many ways to support

Donate Now

how you can help

Get Involved

learn even more

our events

Who We Are

A largely all-volunteer organization, we visit detainees inside the Northwest ICE Processing [detention] Center, greet them as they are released, then help them to reach their loved ones all over the country.

AIDNW has been doing this work since 2005

Vision Statement

We offer a welcoming community that affirms the dignity of all immigrants and facilitates a pathway toward independent and productive lives.

Mission Statement

Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest supports immigrants in detention and when released through welcoming services focused on transitional support and connection to vital resources for resettlement.

What We Do

We provide assistance:

Our Phone Access and Volunteer Visitation end the isolation of detained immigrants.
Our Welcome Center and Post-Detention Accompaniment Network (PDAN) volunteers offer safe release services and support.
Our Hospitality House offers safe and welcoming temporary housing to those who need it.

We increase awareness:

Many people are unaware of the Northwest Detention Center on the Tacoma Tideflats. With 1,575 beds, it is the nation’s fourth largest.
We offer educational programs on detention issues and give presentations to churches, schools and universities, civic groups and community organizations.


Sharing Common Goals

· World Relief
· Northwest Immigrants Rights Project (NWIRP)
· Tacoma Community House
· St. Leo’s Catholic Church

Many local congregations offer us continued, vital support.


Tim Chen, Chairman/President
Sharon Olson, Treasurer
Bob Spangler, Secretary
Stteffany Duran
Len Johnson
Tonia Honeycutt
Kendall Burch
Louisa Beal
Patti Kilpatrick


Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest (AIDNW), is a 501©(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving detained immigrants at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC)

Our Impact

Monday was a pretty light night. We greeted one man from Cameroon who was granted asylum and was picked up by his brother. Two Indian gentlemen were taxied off to the Sikh Temple. Then we met one man from Pakistan and one from El Salvador, both needed to go to the airport, both out on bond.

The journey to the US was a horrible ordeal for married couple, D from Ukraine and M from Russia. Once they finally arrived in this country and claimed asylum they were separated. He was sent to the Detention Center here and she to San Diego.  He was not told where his pregnant wife had been taken. “Here in Tacoma you get released and there are volunteers waiting to help you. In California you are released to the nearest train station and they didn’t care if you have money or a ticket”.

At 3:45 two men were released, one from Kyrgyzstan who had won asylum after being held for 6 months.  When we took his information we noticed how much he had changed from his ID photo and he told us that he had lost 21 kilos (46 lbs ) during his stay because the food was terrible. He spoke very little English but we were able to patch together his flight arrangements with his sister in Philadelphia, recruiting an English speaking neighbor to help clarify the plan.

The other man was from India but had been residing in Mississippi for the past several years, where he was the owner of two gas stations. He had come out to Washington to attend a family wedding.   He was held for 4 days and then released as he had been held by “mistake.”  As he waited for a friend to pick him up, we talked about AID NW and as he thanked us and left, he handed us a $100 bill.

Last Friday at the Welcome RV was certainly a joyful one! Two women from Guatemala, and three men, one from India and two from Guatemala, were released. All gladly received backpacks, toiletries, and snacks. Four of the five also accepted new clothing. The two women, both young ladies, looked so pleased to pick out fresh clothes – including trendy shoes, jeans, and fashionable tops – and gave no backward glance as they threw away their old clothes.


One of these young women was only 19. She had been at the detention center for three months and held in a federal prison before that. Her next stop was to meet family in Florida. She remarked to S that this airplane trip would be noticeably different from her last one, when she had handcuffs on her ankles and wrists.

Yesterday at the Detention Center, nine were released, with seven visiting the Welcome Center.  A woman from Cuba was released at 11am and was waiting at the RV.  A daughter in Houston provided a plane ticket, and she was taken to the bus for a ride to the airport.  She was going to see a two year old grandchild that she had never met.

A woman from Honduras was released after spending 3 months in the Federal detention center at Seatac and a week at the NWDC. She needed to get to her aunt’s in Orange County, CA. After a lot of phone calls and texts, her aunt was able to pay for her ticket to CA. She spent the night at the Hospitality House and will get a ride to the bus station in the morning. I was a little worried as she doesn’t speak any English and has never flown before. The ride from NWDC to the Hospitality House was her first sight of the US. She was quite awed by downtown Tacoma. She said that she left Honduras with her brother because it was very dangerous. Her uncle was killed. Both she and her brother were detained by ICE at the Texas border. His bond was $1,500. hers was $12,000. He was held for a week, she for over 3 months.

Another great crew witnessed amazing things last night. J visited with a gentleman who was sitting in his car. He had driven all the way from California to pay his cousin’s bond because it was to be set at $25,000 but if he came and vouched for the relative, the lawyer felt that the bond could be reduced. He paid $17,000. He came into the RV, and helped us translate for the 7 Sikh people who eventually came out!

Tuesday evening began with the release of a young man who dropped to his knees a few feet after his release and with arms lifted, prayed for several minutes.

Two men from Egypt and Nepal went straight to the airport  A man from El Salvador had his family waiting for him. Despite a horrific history of torture, he was denied asylum and was released on $25,000.00 bond. His wife and her children were very excited to see him.

A gentleman from Costa Rica has lived here 21 years and got picked up two weeks ago. He was very upset that he had never committed ANY kind of crime or misdemeanor and had to spend two weeks in detention. He has a 21 year old daughter who is a US citizen.

Finally, a gentleman from Eritrea came out. He had asylum ! …We now had 2 men and a woman who needed a place to stay… Stephanie from World Relief had called to say they were set up for someone, if we needed… F and I closed up the RV and were thankful for another night of blessings.

We spoke to the Haitian man’s relatives in NYC who got him a plane ticket NYC for 9PM. so J hustled him to the bus so he could make that plane. 

Two men from Sudan, one who had been living in the states for 23 years, were taken to Hospitality House.

We gave ice-cold Cokes and backpacks to all three released, and enjoyed visiting with one young Gujurati man, locating his hometown on the map.

A wife with her newborn and a friend drove from Bellingham to pick up her husband.

A gentleman from Costa Rica has lived here 21 years and got picked up two weeks ago. He was very upset that he had never committed ANY kind of crime or misdemeanor and had to spend two weeks in detention. He has a 21 year old daughter who is a US citizen.

A young male from Eritrea had no relatives in the US. He was taken to the Hospitality House.  The gravity of all the decisions he need to make seemed to weigh on his elation at being out.

A male from Vietnam (whose father was a GI who he had never met) was released. He was picked up by his Latino cell-mate’s wife, who was taking him to Seattle. When the car door opened, her 4-year old daughter screamed out, “Uncle Chong”.

A male from Vietnam (whose father was a GI who he had never met) was released. He was picked up by his Latino cell-mate’s wife, who was taking him to Seattle. When the car door opened, her 4-year old daughter screamed out, “Uncle Chong”.

What we learned was horrifying: People are now being released on $45,000(!!!!!) and $30,000(!!!!) bond! There seem to be “visiting judges” who come in one day a week and seem to be responsible for these aggressively high figures.

Total tonight: 17 released, 15 visiting the van, at least 24 family members present 1 attorney, 2 other visitors.   A busy, satisfying day at the Welcome Center.

News and Events


AIDNW volunteers have been serving as many as 30 released detainee guests each day.  Large numbers of immigrants requesting asylum are being brought to Tacoma's NW ICE Processing Center from the southern border, given a court date and released after a short time.

Our volunteers are working in shifts at the AIDNW Welcome Center from 2:30 to 7 PM Monday through Friday and sometimes later, helping guests plan travel all over the country to reach their family members.

This uptick in guests is straining our resources, and ICE has told us that this level of releases is expected to continue indefinitely.

We ask for your support. We are looking for:

  • Additional volunteer drivers
  • Welcome Center volunteers
  • Supplies
  • Monetary contributions.
You can see our program descriptions and services here:
our Amazon wish list  and donation link here:

our volunteer application on this page:

You can also send checks to our office at 1915 Sheridan Ave Tacoma, WA 98405.

It takes a village!  We are grateful for all of our community support.

AIDNW is on Radio Tacoma!

AIDNW Monthly Reports are a new feature on Radio Tacoma.

Tune in to hear the reports, which feature monthly program statistics, excerpts from nightly Welcome Center reports, interviews and more

You can listen to the reports at

or, if you are in the vicinity of Tacoma Mall, tune into Radio Tacoma at 101.9 FM on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5 pm or Wednesday at 7 pm.

Program archives are available anytime at

AIDNW Speaker's Bureau

Want to learn more?
Would your school, church or community group like to learn more about immigration, detention, the Northwest ICE Processing Center and the work of AIDNW? AIDNW Speakers Bureau volunteers are available to make presentations--currently only by Zoom. If you are interested please contact:

Community Meetings

Join our Google Group

Join our email Google Group to receive notification of news and events, current volunteer opportunities and donation needs.

Next Community Meeting

July 20, 2022

9:30 – 11:00 a.m

Featuring Guest Speaker Dr. Yael Schacher, Deputy Director of Refugees International in Washington DC, speaking on asylum at the southern border.
Dr. Schacher is the author of MPP as a Microcosm: What’s Wrong with Asylum at the Border and How to Fix It. MPP is also known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.


Please save the date

The meeting will be held on Zoom. Please email to register and receive a link

Community Meetings are held every two months and feature a short presentation on topics relating to the detention center as well as updates from AIDNW. Community Meetings are currently held via Zoom. Here are recordings from recent meetings.

AIDNW Community Mtg March 16th, 2022

Featuring a presentation from Lutheran Community Services Northwest

AIDNW Community Mtg January 19, 2022

Guest speaker Julie Braker, Staff Attorney Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)

AIDNW June community meeting

AIDNW Community Mtg August 18, 2021

Three presentations on the immigrant detainees held and released from the Northwest ICE Processing Center

AIDNW June community meeting

AIDNW Community Mtg June 16, 2021

Guest Speaker  Stephanie Murray, detention center post release coordinator for World Relief

AIDNW Community Mtg April 21, 2021

 "Passages: Immigrant Experiences" by the artist  Patti Kilpatrick and poet William (Bill) Fay