Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest


We welcome and support people affected by immigration detention by connecting them to resources and the community

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Our Programs

AIDNW icon for Welcome 

Welcome Center

The AIDNW post-detention Welcome Center, located in an RV outside the release gate of the Northwest Detention Center, has been in operation since July 2015. Staffed by trained volunteers, the Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. to serve the needs of released immigrants and their families. Each week,  some 30-40 immigrants are released from the Detention Center.

Welcome Center volunteers provide a welcoming place for immigrants to experience their first moments of freedom, with telephone access to call family or friends, assistance in arranging onward travel, warm clothing as needed, backpacks and document bags to carry their belongings, snacks and soft drinks, and arrangements for safe housing for those who need temporary shelter.

Most importantly,  immigrants released from detention immediately receive a heartfelt welcome by a community of people who reaffirm that they deserve to be treated with dignity.

AIDNW icon for hospitality house 

Hospitality House

AIDNW leases a house in Tacoma to provide housing for immigrants who are released from the NW Detention Center and need a place to stay, whether it be for a night or a month.
Our Post-Detention Accompaniment Network (PDAN) and  office volunteers assist them by helping with transportation, filling out intake and referral forms, and making sure they have enough food and clean bedding.  See PDAN tab for more details.

AIDNW icon for volunteer

Visitation Program

AIDNW volunteers have been visiting detainees at the Northwest Detention Center since 2013. Our Visitation Program expanded substantially in 2018, building on a positive relationship with Detention Center management. Detainees can now telephone AIDNW on a dedicated line to request a visitor. Requests have increased dramatically as a result, and we are actively recruiting and training more volunteers for the program in order to answer this need.

How can visits from a stranger help people in detention? 

The Detention Center holds people for months before they are released or deported. Detainees must await the decision of an immigration judge while their case is pending, or for the final adjudication of their case that may or may not allow them to continue their lives in the U.S. Many detainees come from a great distance and do not have friends or family near enough to visit regularly. They may worry for families left without their support.  In the face of this uncertainty and isolation, friendly and consistent visits from community members can provide a vital sense of connection to the outside world.

AIDNW Visitation Volunteers offer regular visits to immigrant detainees at the Northwest Detention Center. Visitors offer listening ears and compassionate hearts in an act of friendship to reduce isolation and affirm each person’s human dignity and worth. Our volunteers are not attorneys or social workers, but are everyday citizens from all walks of life, who visit in an act of friendship, and the desire to affirm the human dignity and worth of every individual.

How does the Visitation Program work? 

AIDNW office volunteers receive requests from interested detainees and match requests with Visitation Program volunteers. Visitors then plan to visit their matched immigrant partners at least twice a month. Ideally, each match continues for the duration of the immigrant’s detention, but re-matches are made if a visitor must withdraw, or when either party requests an end to the match. It is not necessary for volunteers to be fluent in a language other than English.

Those interested in volunteering begin by attending an AIDNW volunteer orientation session, submitting a volunteer application, and undergoing a background check. One of our two visitation mentors then meet with new volunteers at the Detention Center for one on one orientation and training. Quarterly meetings provide opportunities for Visitation Volunteers to ask questions and discuss any program changes.  Volunteers also share experiences through a Google group email list.

If you are interested in attending a Volunteer Orientation, which are held quarterly, please email

Post-Detention Accompaniment Network

Some immigrants who have been released do not immediately leave Tacoma. These are people who have been granted asylum or been released on bond, and they may be eligible for various social and community services. AIDNW volunteers assist immigrant guests at our Hospitality House in accessing services by providing transportation to:

  • the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) office in Tacoma for food cards
  • the ORCA lift  at DSHS for discounted bus passes (Thursdays only)
  • World Relief offices in Kent for work permits, Social Security Cards, job placement, ESL classes, and permanent housing
  • Tacoma Community House for work permits, Social Security cards, ESL classes and job placements
  • Local medical facilities
  • Local food banks
  • The bus station for onward travel

AIDNW volunteers also offer the simple gifts of companionship and other welcoming support to our Hospitality House guests.
This can include:

  • Taking guests on outings to the park, library, local theater, etc.
  • Cooking a meal for guests
  • Sharing a craft or skill
  • Sorting donations of clothing, household items, toiletries, etc.
  • Cleaning and doing laundry after each guest relocates
  • Gardening and yard work

If you are interested in becoming a PDAN volunteer please contact Deborah Cruz

Phone Access

When immigrants are unable to hear the voices of family and friends because of a lack of resources, we end that silence by providing phone cards to connect them with the outside world.
In 2018 AIDNW provided $1800 in phone cards to immigrants detained in the NWDC.

Stay in Touch

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

Next Meeting is January 15th, 2020
9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
at St. Leo’s
710 S 13th St
Tacoma, WA 98405

Doors open at 9:00  for socializing

Next Overview of Programs

Saturday, January 18, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Peace Lutheran Church
2106 S. Cushman Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98405

To reserve your place, please send an email to:
Light refreshments will be served.  A $5.00 donation is suggested.



Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest

We welcome and support people affected by immigration detention by connecting them to resources and the community

AIDNW office : 253-572-9659
1915 S Sheridan Ave
Tacoma, WA 98405

Welcome Center (2-7 pm) 253-343-4324

Hospitality House resident phone 253-327-1155

Program Manager:
Deborah Cruz

General information:

Join us at our next

Community Meeting and
Volunteer Orientation Session


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