How to Give to Migrants and Refugees on #GivingTuesday

They need our help.

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Migrants along the border and across the world need our help. In the United States, some 13,000 children are being detained by the government in tent camps. The day after Thanksgiving, U.S. border patrol opened up tear gas on hundreds of migrants, women, and barefoot children after they approached the border, causing some infants to faint and others in the area to suffer burning eyes, lungs, noses, and even inducing vomiting. Although in June, the Trump administration did eventually halt their systemic policy of detaining all immigrants who crossed or approached the border and claimed asylum, separating them from their children and putting those kids into detention centers of their own, there are still kids who might never be reunited with their parents or who still live detainment today.

Across the world, there are about 23 million refugees looking for a permanent place to call home, 1.2 million of those who urgently need resettlement. Migrant children and their parents are fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria and Yemen and have been living long-term in tent cities without adequate access to medical care, food, water, diapers, or education. The problem is immense and is not helped by the continuing starvation of Yemeni citizens — some 85,000 kids have died from starvation as a result of the war there. The problem is neither helped by the increasingly draconian immigration policies which have led to some fleeing on unsafe boats that fatally capsize; continued bombings on Middle-Eastern countries that lead parents to seek safer land, and ethnic genocides like of the Rohingya people in Myanmar.

If it feels like there’s too much happening — and clearly nothing can be done to fix the problem, save an overhaul of immigration and refugee policy across the world — that’s understandable. But even the busiest and most strapped of people can make a small amount of difference, especially on a day like Giving Tuesday, where many prominent nonprofit organizations are matching donations, therefore extending the charitable and giving reach.

Texas Civil Rights Project

The Texas Civil Rights Project is exclusively focused on the Texas to Mexico border. In their work, when family separation was just beginning to ramp up as a policy, TCRP attorneys noticed that many parents at hearings had been separated from their kids with no knowledge of where they were or when they would be reunited with them. One attorney named Efren Olivares, along with his aides, started going to as many hearings as possible in Brownsville, Texas and courtrooms in the surrounding border areas and, when time allotted, writing down all of the information of detained immigrant children and the names of their parents in the hopes that they could help reunite them, someway or somehow. Although the TCRP focuses on many things — voting rights and criminal justice reform being two of them — their immigrant’s rights work is deeply important.

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres)

Doctors Without Borders is, to be sure, a massive nonprofit, which operates in 50 countries across the world, including in war-torn Yemen, in the migrant camps on the Greek Islands, in South Sudan, Syria, Mexico, and Honduras. Their work is instrumental in making sure that people on the move from oppressive regimes and violence have access to medical care. These are physicians who often work under the threat of terror and violence themselves and their efforts to support the health and lives of people who are fleeing devastation is deeply important. DWB is matching the first 150,000 dollars in donations for Giving Tuesday.

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Amnesty International

Amnesty International works globally on a number of issues, including political disappearances, torture, international justice, the protection of indigenous people, and the proliferation of reproductive rights to name a few. They also focus heavily on the survival and dignity of migrant populations. The nonprofit works, among other things, to pressure governments to process asylum claims properly, ensure that migrants are not exploited by employers or human traffickers, and to reunite families.

Border Angels

Border Angels is an all-volunteer non-profit based in San Diego, the town that surrounds the border of Tijuana and California, where hundreds of women and children were recently tear-gassed. In their work, they reach out to Day Laborers to ensure that they are not being abused by their employers, set out gallons of water along common migration routes in order to ensure that migrants who are seeking asylum do not die of dehydration. Most recently, they have been providing support to the Tijuana Caravan that has stalled at the San Diego border. People who would like to donate can donate specifically to Caravan Aid support, the day laborer outreach, or the desert water project.

International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee works with those who are fleeing war, conflict, and natural disasters as well as those who must stay in areas that don’t typically receive aid. They also work to help resettle refugees coming to the United States. In healthcare, the IRC works with community health workers to cure treatable conditions in migrant or war-torn populations and to reverse malnourishment in children. They also focus on sexual violence perpetrated against women in refugee crises and help ensure that kids (and adults) on the move have access, ultimately, to educational opportunities. In short, they do a lot of good work. Unlike some non-profits, IRC also gives people cash assistance so they can have the funds to make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives — and continue to educate migrants on their rights in foreign countries. Today, all donations are being matched.

Annunciation House

The Annunciation House in El Paso has been running for four decades and in its tenure has provided shelter for migrants, the homeless, and the vulnerable on the border. Today, with some 1000 families coming it within the next week or two, Annunciation House is in desperate need of assistance to provide food, clothing, housing costs, and transportation assistance to migrants staying there. The Annunciation House exists solely on a volunteer basis and works in conjunction with Casa Vides, a long-term stay house, and Nazareth House, which is for short-term guests just released from ICE custody. Without these essential shelters, migrants waiting to be reunited with their kids or process their asylum claims would likely be homeless. Cash donations would be essential to helping the Annunciation House do its important work housing children and migrants.

The Young Center for Children’s Immigrants Rights

As John Oliver so depressingly satirized, the reality that children as young as two are expected to defend their asylum claims in court against a fully-grown judge to prevent themselves from being deported, is a mind-blowingly horrific part of our justice system. The Young Center for Children’s Immigrants Rights aims to right that problem. The non-profit exclusively serves the needs of unaccompanied migrant children from detainment throughout deportation proceedings. The Young Center is comprised of bilingual volunteers who translate between kids and attorneys, attorneys themselves, child advocates, and more. They have offices around the U.S. in such cities as Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, and Los Angeles and are currently accepting referrals for the appointments of Child Advocates who work with kids in the legal system to help them understand and comprehend what is happening to them. Their larger goal is, of course, to reform the immigration system and the way that it fails to serve children in general. Quite a lofty goal, yes. But a fantastic one. Today, a donor is matching all donations up to $20,000.