Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees has been a volunteer-run organization for the past 5 years. Over the years our work has expanded to include our 4 initiatives. Our first and longest running initiative is a visitation service at the Krome Service and Processing center. Our mission is to end isolation, curb abuse, spread awareness, and end immigrant detention. We support the immediate needs of detained immigrants by providing money for phone calls, books, connecting with family, clothes for deportation, and at times free legal consultations. For over a year we have helped sustain the Circle of Protection in Miramar, FL. where immigrants are forced to report to ICE. Every week we stand outside and bear witness to silent raids and inhumane conditions while we comfort our friends and resist ice. Our Women’s Empowerment Group was started by our volunteer Dr. Peggy, who facilitates a mutual aid support group for women affected by the Detention and Deportation Industrial Complex. Finally, in July, we participated in a peaceful protest, outside the Miramar ICE facility, where 17 people were arrested, including two of our volunteers. Even though all charges have been dropped these volunteers have been banned from visiting at Krome. This is a direct violation of their 1st amendment rights and sparked our Shine A Light campaign that’s goal is to restore our visitors access while pressuring ICE to admit that they cannot and will not retaliate against community members for exercising 1st amendment rights. With your support, we could more effectively provide the necessary resources to the immigrants we help, recruit new volunteers, and provide safe transportation to support groups. We hope to achieve systemic change by protecting the rights of immigrants and activists, getting ICE out of Miramar, and ending immigrant detention.
If you would like to know more about us check out our Strategic Plan.
Who Our Friends Are
People in immigration detention are isolated from their friends, family, and the outside world. As they are in civil, not criminal custody, they have no right to a court-appointed attorney or a free phone call. People in immigration detention at Krome include victims of human trafficking, asylum seekers, and legal permanent residents with longstanding community ties. We have visited men from over 85 different countries.
Who We Are
Our team is a diverse group of community volunteers. We are college students, academics, retired public school teachers, realtors, and businessmen and women.
Bud Conlin– is a retired public-school teacher, transplanted to South Florida from Northern Michigan for climate and diversity. After a tour of the Krome Immigration Prison in 2013, Bud and a small group of activists formed Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees, a visitation and advocacy service at the prison. This has been and continues to be, an uninterrupted service for the last 5 years. Since that time, Bud has also helped to form coalitions to comfort immigrants, bear witness to their pain, and to resist the inhumane practices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He is a founding member of the Circle of Protection at the ICE Miramar, FL check-in center and has encouraged the establishment and growth of new initiatives to support those in immigrant prison or in danger of imprisonment. He has served as coordinator or co-coordinator of the group since its inception. Bud has been connected to his partner and accomplice, Jeanne for 46 years. When they are not visiting, marching, making signs, bearing witness, or offering support, they enjoy spoiling both their grandchildren and their cats.
Karina Livingston– is a Ph.D. candidate at Florida International University. As a cultural geographer, her research focuses on the wellbeing of men transferred between immigrant prisons in the United States. While researching deportation she ran across Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees visitation program and has been volunteering with them ever since. Over the last 2 and a half years, she has witnessed the negative impacts imposed on immigrants by the U.S. Immigration System. She has witnessed countless transfers and how those abrupt movements impact those detained both mentally and physically. In a time of political turmoil, visiting has given her a sense of fulfillment in knowing she can do something concrete to help the vulnerable. She currently serves as the co-coordinator alongside Bud Conlin.
Margarita M. Mustelier– is of Hispanic (Caribbean) decent, and lived in Guatemala, Central America from age 6-12. She completed High School in the U.S. and graduated from Tulane University with a dual degree in Psychology and Gender Studies, and a minor in Philosophy. Graduate education Included an MS and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University and an internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital (UM/JMH). She completed a second postdoctoral specialization in psychodynamic psychotherapy. As a graduate student and intern, she had a voluntary externship, internship and fellowship rotation at the Camillus Health Concern (CHC) Clinic for the Homeless and indigent populations. These experiences progressed into a deepening interest in working with the immigrant and undocumented population. During her training, she gained experience completing Vocational Rehabilitation Reports for Latin-American immigrants. She also completed psychological evaluations for children and adults seeking asylum. In 2014, Dr. Mustelier joined Friends of Miami Dade Detainees (FOMDD) as a volunteer visitor for men in immigration detention. Her work with FOMDD opened doors to connecting with wonderful dynamic and compassionate community members and organizations striving for social justice. FOMDD has continued to expand in services and in its ongoing support for the immigrant community. It has provided many opportunities for diversified projects serving those who have been uprooted and disenfranchised. Among these, in April of 2016, she had the opportunity to represent by providing medical and psychological assistance at a refugee camp in Greece. Later that year, following the presidential election, the need for increased support and protection gave birth to the Undocumented Women’s support group, “Mujeres Unidas y Empoderads” for individual’s coping with domestic violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, sex trafficking, and problems of daily living. Future directions will include healing groups for children and adolescents; these will serve the dual purpose of providing childcare and emotional support.
Angela C. Rincon– was born in New York but raised in Colombia where she lived for approximately 10 years from the age of 6 until she was 17 and came back to settle in the United States. Angela, has worked in the real estate industry for over twenty-five years and co-owns and operates a title company as well as her own Brokerage, Ganesha Realty, Inc. in Miami. Her love for yoga, prompted her to take the teacher training with a studio in Miami that focused mainly in community programs and training their teachers the skills to teach with a focus on emotional trauma in shelters and to victims of domestic abuse and youth at risk. Angela became involved at the time with the initial birth of their community program and non-profit.
On January of 2017, Angela met this wonderful group of volunteers participating in the visitation program for immigrants detained at Krome. She was inspired and immediately started visiting and not long after, found herself once again organizing what is now our 501c3 non-profit organization, Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees. Angela is currently a board member acting as CFO.