New York

Volunteers accompany US immigrants to court to allay fears

Volunteers are stepping up to accompany people living in the United States illegally to court hearings and meetings with immigration officials.

The goal is to guide them through what's often an intimidating process.

Some of the volunteers say the accompaniment is more important now than ever since Republican President Donald Trump has expanded the definition of deportable offenses. And reports have surfaced of immigrants being apprehended during routine check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Trump says the deportations are necessary to keep the United States safe.

In New York, the nonprofit New Sanctuary Coalition had one of its volunteers with a Colombian immigrant last month when he was arrested during his check-in.

The group helped publicize the arrest. The man was released two weeks later after his lawyer requested a stay of the order of deportation.