About the Lancaster Neighbor Fund
The Lancaster Neighbor Fund, which is administered by the Parish Resource Center, provides direct financial support to immigrants who are vulnerable to deportation from Lancaster County.
We provide small grants to families suffering from hardship related to deportation proceedings in Lancaster County.
From 2018 until 2020, thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, we provided emergency funding to sixteen families who have family members in detention or deportation proceedings. We have given over $21,000 to these families, all of whom are in crisis due to the nation’s xenophobic policies implemented during the Trump administration. The average grant is $1,400 and offsets legal and bond fees.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit Lancaster County, we also raised funds to assist 68 families who could not access federal assistance. In total, approximately 335 individuals received gift cards to offset the cost of rent, groceries, and other household supplies.
Did You Know?
- The number of people detained by ICE is increasing.
- ICE has detained immigrants with no criminal history at a steadily increasing rate.
- Since the issue of Executive Order 13,768 in January of 2017 there have been 143,470 administrative arrests conducted by ICE. This is the highest number of arrests in three years. (ice.gov)
- ICE arrests in Lancaster County have tripled since 2016. Journalists report that the majority of these arrests are non-criminal. Immigrants are going to work or driving the state highways and get pulled over. The number of removals from Lancaster County has quadrupled since 2016.
- As of November 2020, approximately 300 people are in deportation proceedings in Lancaster County.
How Funds Are Used
Family grants are available for up to $2000. This can help offset the costs of detention, and be used for bond, rent, utilities, childcare, transportation, or groceries. If the applicant is using the funds for bond, we welcome recipients to return the refund to the fund to help another family, but they are not required to. If the applicant is using the funds for other costs, such as rent and utilities, we can pay bills directly.
Detentions in Lancaster
According to TracImmigration, as of November 2020, approximately 300 people are currently facing deportation in Lancaster County. This reflects a steady annual increase since 2016, when ICE began to arrest non-criminals at much higher rates. Clearly, ICE detention efforts have gotten even more aggressive since Trump was elected and created Executive Order 13,768 (“Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”), and Lancaster County has been negatively affected.
Furthermore, we know that Pennsylvania is one of the hardest hit states in the country. Propublica reports that Philadelphia’s ICE office is “the most aggressive in the nation” in arresting immigrants with no criminal convictions. The report states that “the immigrants arrested in this region last year were simply hapless: They lived in buildings or worked in restaurants or traveled on rural roads that ICE was staking out. They were mushroom pickers in vans that got pulled over without cause; dishwashers in pizzerias that got raided without warrants; Latino men who loosely resembled other Latino men who were ostensibly ICE’s intended targets.”
Once detained, immigrants are taken to a detention center where they are processed. After formal processing, and if ICE determines that the person is eligible, there is a hearing to release the person (“bond hearing”) while they wait for their formal trial in immigration court. Before Trump’s election, local immigrant bond hearings generally included a $2000-$4000 bond payment for release. Since 2017, bond hearings in the York County Detention facility generally releases people on bond after $10,000-$15,0000 fees are paid.
This increase in ICE activity is troubling considering Lancaster City, the heart of the county, is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, with a long history of welcoming and resettling refugees and immigrants. There is also a large and growing foreign (more than 23,000) born population that makes significant contributions to the generation of wealth (see “New Americans in Lancaster,” 2016). In a study commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce, it is estimated that in 2014, immigrants and refugees contributed $1.3 Billion to the GDP of Lancaster County. These people are our friends, family, and neighbors and must be supported during this ugly moment of our country’s history.