Detention Center Post-Release Volunteers
Every year, thousands of adults pass through the ICE processing center (previously called the Northwest Detention Center) in Tacoma, WA, which is one of the largest in the country. When detainees are released, World Relief volunteers provide a warm welcome, resources, and transportation during a disorienting time.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement detains people for many reasons: some are awaiting their asylum claim to be processed, others may have crossed a border without permission or legally approached a border to request asylum, some may have errors in their immigration documents or expired visas. Detainees are sent to this facility from all over the country and are not necessarily given a time frame for how long they will be detained. Some stay in the center for only a few days or weeks, others up to several years. Some have been living in the US for years or even decades, and all are separated from families on the outside.
Requirements for all post release volunteer roles
- Sensitivity and openness to persons of culturally diverse backgrounds
- High degree of patience, understanding, and flexibility
- Attend a General Volunteer Orientation and role-specific orientation prior to starting
- Record and report volunteer hours, as detailed in the Volunteer Orientation
- Pass Federal Background Check and driving record check (if applicable)
- Clear time and space in your schedule for your commitment
Scroll down for current post release volunteer opportunities
Welcome RV Volunteer
World Relief partners with AID NW, a nonprofit who also welcomes those released from detention, to host a Welcome Center RV just outside the ICE processing center in Tacoma. Volunteers greet released detainees (while socially distanced) with snacks, backpacks and clothing and offer assistance in navigating their next steps when appropriate. This can involve offering phones so that people can contact family and friends, guidance for travel and navigation to host homes.
- Commitment: one Friday a month for at least 6 months
- Location: ICE processing center in Tacoma
- Point of contact: Claudia Sa Souza
- Spanish speakers preferred
- Availability on Fridays from 2:30-8pm
- Able to provide transportation
- Comfortable working outside
On-Call Host Home Volunteer
Volunteers host recently released detainees in their homes for 1-5 days while they navigate their transportation to a destination outside the Seattle-Tacoma metro area. Learn more in our on call host home section.
- Commitment: Once a month
- Location: Your home
- Point of contact: Claudia Sa Souza
- COVID-19 vaccine: required
- Willingness to share your home with people of other cultures and religions
- Communicate with World Relief staff before and during a guest's stay
- Provide transportation for guest to your home and to the airport
- Guest will need to be picked up at the ICE processing center in Tacoma
- Clear the host home screening, training, and background check process
The first step is to fill out a volunteer application. Once you submit your application, follow the steps to complete the online orientation and register for a local training.
All volunteers are required to attend both the general and local orientations, complete an application*, and undergo a background check before starting. At the training you will learn about World Relief's work, the refugees and immigrants we serve, and what it looks like to come alongside them as volunteers in different roles
*Required for new volunteers and returning volunteers who have not submitted an application in over a year. Background checks must also be renewed yearly.