Let My People Go

We can't let COVID-19 become a death sentence for the thousands of New Yorkers still in jail or ICE detention.

Even at baseline, ICE detention centers are crowded, unsanitary, and inhumane, and the immigration bond system that puts a literal price on a human life is arbitrary and harmful for immigrants’ health and their chances at winning their cases. And with COVID-19 sweeping through all incarcerated populations, ICE’s policies have engendered a humanitarian crisis.

That’s why, beginning in the month leading up to Passover, JFREJ and its partners—Never Again Action and New Sanctuary Coalition—took inspiration from the Black Mama’s Bailout and joined forces with Brooklyn Community Bail Fund to launch the Let My People Go campaign. Together we would free our neighbors from ICE detention and call for mass abolition: we demand a world without ICE, where no one is caged for their immigration status.

Our original fundraising goal was to raise $180,000 by the end of Passover and hopefully free at least 16 people. When the campaign concluded on June 30, and with the support of over 60 grassroots fundraisers, 3300 donors, and 20 synagogues and Jewish organizations, the Let My People Go campaign had raised over $370,000 and helped bond out over 50 people from ICE detention across three states.

And because we understand that our federal immigration system is--and has always been--deeply intertwined with policies of aggressive and racist policing, as well as mass incarceration in the criminal justice system, we are also supporting COVID Bail Out NYC and our allies’ demands to Defund the Police.

Listen to the words from our neighbor Israel Adeyemi Adeniji who shares his experiences of being arrested and held in ICE detention and calls on each and every one of us to rise up. The whole system is irredeemable. We must #FreeThemAll.

But our work isn't done — far too many of our neighbors remain incarcerated, without the ability to socially distance or practice even the basic hygiene necessary to protect themselves.

Join us and help them, before it’s too late.

A special note of gratitude to Southerners on New Ground (SONG), who shared valuable advice from their own grassroots bail out fundraising experience with us early on, when we were still building out our campaign, as well as encouraging us to think critically about and learn to speak on our personal stakes in dismantling these systems of oppression.