5 Ways You Can Help Families at the Border
At least 2,300 children were separated from their parents between May 5 and June 9 last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security — and the crisis at the border has not gone away since then. In early June 2019, the New York Times reported that "border facilities and migrant shelters are dangerously overcrowded, and the staff is overburdened. Dysfunction, disease and even death are a growing reality."
While pundits debate on TV and Twitter over whether or not the migrant detention centers at the border can be called concentration camps, people, including children, are dying. As the Independent reported last month, "A 10-year-old girl from El Salvador has died in US custody, it has emerged, bringing the total number of migrant children to have died after being detained by border authorities in the last eight months to six.
In an op-ed, former First Lady Bush said the photographs of children and families detained reminded her of images of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, "now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."
So, what can we do to help?
Call your elected officials.
5Calls has information on how to call your elected official to demand that they "seek and publicly report information about the facilities housed or planned in your state." Go here for information on your senators, and here for information about members of congress.
VIDEO: Nearly 2,000 Children Have Been Separated From Their Families During Trump Border Crackdown
Donate to any number of organizations working to protect the children.
If Chrissy Teigen has proven anything, it's that no donation is too small. After calling on her followers to donate to the ACLU, Teigen reported that more than $1 million had been raised in under two days.
In addition to the ACLU, you can also donate to The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a Texas non-profit which is using donations to pay the bond (between $1,500 and $10,000) for parents held in detention, as well as related legal fees. Similarly, the Texas Civil Rights Project is raising litigation funds to assist separated families.
ActBlue has compiled the below list of groups actively working to assist families at the border. You can donate to each group individually, or donate to ActBlue's Kids at the Border page, which evenly splits your contribution between the organizations.
We Belong Together: "Women for commonsense immigration policies."
United We Dream: "The largest immigrant youth-led network in the country."
Womens Refugee Commission: "Advocating for the rights and protection of women, children, and youth fleeing violence and persecution."
ACLU: "Fighting attacks through the legal system."
Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) "Protecting unaccompanied children who enter the US immigration system alone to ensure that no child appears in court without an attorney."
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project: "Providing asylum seekers with legal aid and community support across the country."
Human Rights First: "Helping refugees obtain asylum in the U.S."
La Union del Pueblo Entero: "Founded by Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, a community union that works in the Rio Grande Valley from the grassroots up."
If you're in a border state, volunteer.
The Texas Civil Rights Project is currently looking for volunteers "who speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistant experience" to assist and interview families. The Immigrant Children's Assistance Project is also seeking volunteers with a law background to assist with "Know Your Rights" presentations for asylum seekers in Texas.
Share your story.
Many of the most heart-wrenching reports from the fallout of the policy have come from firsthand accounts. If you have a story to share, and feel comfortable doing so, reach out to the media. Or post your account on social media.
Join a rally.
If there's one thing that we've learned since the 2016 election, it's that marches, protests and rallies can be effective. Find a local Families Belong Together event here.