ICOM is a dedicated, grassroots, 501c3 non-profit organization that formed in 2008 in response to state and national policies which unfairly target immigrants and refugees.
Guided by our faith values, ICOM stands in solidarity with immigrants, refugees and their families and our active volunteer network provides a variety of compassionate support while advocating for systemic justice through policy change.
ICOM was born in the fall of 2009 when a United Church of Christ pastor led an interfaith group of people concerned about immigrant injustice in a series of monthly vigils at the Ramsey County jail, which ICE was using as a detention center at the time. The group gathered to pray and to distribute flyers to visitors, sometimes providing legal resources as well. Later the group got permission from the county sheriff to conduct regular visitation of detainees by a trained, bi-lingual team. When Ramsey County ended its contract with ICE in 2016, ICOM moved its vigils to the Whipple Federal Building, the home of immigration courts and ICE headquarters for a five-state area. We passed out flyers on the Fort Snelling Metro station platform until Fort security stopped us. However they also informed us that we could obtain permission to gather in front of the building. Since then we have held vigils at the Whipple Building at 7:30 AM on the second Tuesday of each month.
Following the 2016 election, participation in our vigils and monthly meetings jumped dramatically as people became more aware of renewed threats to immigrants, particularly asylum seekers and the undocumented in our country. We began our AID program to provide direct support to detainees and their families, relying on fundraising events for two to four clients each year. At the same time, we started to engage in advocacy on behalf of immigrants, supporting MIRAC’s immigrant bill of rights campaign in Minneapolis,and helping to organize the Sanctuary State Coalition to advocate for immigrant-friendly state legislation.
In 2019 we filed for and obtained 501(c)(3) non-profit status so that we could raise the funds needed to bring on paid staff to lead our advocacy and AID efforts. Since then ICOM has been funded by generous grants from local faith communities and regular donations from our supporters, who along with our growing team of volunteers, have made it possible for ICOM to expand its programs far beyond what we had originally envisioned.
As of 2023, the AID program has 15 active volunteers and is on track to accompany over 40 clients, providing them with a wide range of services. We are playing a leadership role in the North STAR Alliance, a broad-based group of immigrant-led and faith-based organizations working for state-level legislation that would, to the extent possible,separate civil immigration enforcement activities from the activities of state and local government agencies. We are also playing a leadership role in the Decriminalizing Communities effort, which is pursuing similar separation ordinances in Hennepin County.
In order to live out our mission statement effectively. ICOM members must agree to adhere to our code of conduct.
Greg King, President
Michele Steinke, Secretary
Nancy Hassett, Treasurer
Advocacy Coordinator — Greg King
AID Coordinator — Sara Adams
Fundraising Coordinator — Tom Haigh
Vigil and Courtwatch Team — Joy Nelson and Pam Brethorst