New Bedford Immigration Support Network
The New Bedford Immigration Support Network is a group of volunteer drivers from various faith and grassroots organizations who are led by volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fairhaven, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church and the Community and Economic Development Center (CEDC). The Network has been assisting immigrants with transportation to immigration appointments in the Boston and Providence areas. Immigrants who live in the New Bedford area often must report to the Massachusetts ICE office in Burlington for check-ins. The office in Burlington is not accessible by public transportation. It is located behind the Burlington Mall. Sometimes immigrants must go to an office in Worcester or Cranston to be fingerprinted in order to be approved to get a minor relative out of detention at the border. Occasionally we have accompanied immigrants to appointments in court in South Boston.
We are also supporting the community effort to get a bill, H3012, passed that will allow immigrants to get driver's licenses in Massachusetts. This licenses can not be used as IDs for voting. A similar law already exists in 13 other states in the United States. Our neighbor state, CT, has done this for a few years and has found it not only allows these folks to get to work without fear of being deported but also has reduced the numbers of uninsured motorists ( they have to prove insurance to get the license) and also a reduction in hit and run accidents. You can learn more about this campaign as well as others here.
Additionally, a smaller group of us have been working to support one local woman individually. We met her after giving her a ride back in January. Her story has struck a chord with us for many reasons. She has become more than just a neighbor we are helping but also a good friend. Unfortunately, she arrived here to discover that the family member who she came to live with was really looking to take advantage of her. Check out her story here