President Trump has been trying to take a hardline stance on illegal immigration since he started running for president in 2015. Since then, He’s proposed building a border wall, cracked down on sanctuary cities, threatened the naturalization rights of green card and passport holders, and has already gone about the business of separating families who have lived together in the U.S. for decades. But, separating children from their parents as they try to cross the border illegally or to seek asylum — the very thing that’s taking place in our country right now — is a travesty.
It’s hardly unprecedented, ergo the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II or the forced repatriation of Mexicans during the Great Depression, but a travesty no less. As images of the thousands of children being detained by the U.S. government after being ripped from their parents’ arms are plastered across televisions everywhere this very moment, it can be hard to know what to do, or how to help. But this isn’t over, and there are still moves left to make.
Contact Your Elected Official
Members of Congress are accustomed to criticism, so typically the act of inundating them with angry phone calls is only marginally effective. But, that being said, 2018 is an election year, and a majority of Americans from both sides of the aisle disagree with the act of separating parents from their children at the border. If there was ever a year where the future of a congressperson’s tenure could rest on a single issue, this is that year.
Beyond that, there is already a bill on the Senate floor right now that would prohibit Border Patrol from separating families, dozens of Democrats have sponsored and co-sponsored the bill, but Republicans won’t touch it. You can go to USA.gov to figure out how to contact the offices of legislators all across the country. There’s even a number for the White House switchboard.
Donate to Organizations Working at the Border
- In just a few days, the ACLU has raised over one million dollars to provide legal representation to families being separated at the border. You can donate directly to them or donate through the ACLU Foundation. The money won’t go directly to the children, but rather to the parents who will have to do battle in court to get their children back.
- The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Service has also raised more than a million to pay bonds for parents who have been detained at the border. As of right now, most parents are being held on a $5,000-$10,000 bonds that almost none of them have any hope of paying.
- South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (PROBAR) is another organization looking to provide free legal counsel and representation for the over 1,000 immigrant children in detention centers across Texas.
Know What Skills You Can Have That Can Help
PROBAR isn’t the only group looking for help. Smaller groups working close to the ground like the Texas Civil Rights Project are in need of translators who speak Spanish, Q’eqchi, and Mam. So many of these groups that are seeking out donations are also on the hunt for lawyers, law students, and legal aids as they sift through literally hundreds of cases.
Know the Law
This issue is going to be discussed for a long time and for every person who thinks that what’s happening at the border is an atrocity, there are several more who don’t recognize that people seeking asylum are not breaking the law. Many of the people seeking asylum are coming from awful situations in countries like El Salvador, and are actually turning themselves into the proper authorities at the border.
Not only is this the lawful thing to do, but the U.S. is legally required to take in those seeking asylum. The U.S. is not required to separate asylum seekers from their children. If you see someone at risk of losing their child due to their immigration status, contact any of the groups on this list or your local ACLU chapter.