How to Help Immigrant Families Being Separated at the Border
Illustration: Joya Logue
As parents, it's easy to feel helpless after reading endless headlines about the over 2,000 immigrant children who've been immorally separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border since May. From the unforgettable photo of the weeping 2-year-old Honduran girl to images of children in cages at detention centers to the story of a breastfeeding baby being taken from her mother, the crisis has rightfully caused an uproar about the inhumane treatment of families seeking a better life in America. But not all hope is lost: People are rallying to help the children and parents being torn apart, like the San Francisco couple who raised $9 million on Facebook to help migrant kids.
CBS News reports that the House is expected to vote this Thursday on an immigration bill that will keep families together while still under Department of Homeland Security custody, and that the Department of Justice is also working on an executive action that will prohibit families from being separated at the border.
In light of the recent hopeful news, we know there's still plenty of work to be done. Want to know how to do your part and contribute to the cause? Below, we've rounded up just a few resources and ways to donate money and time to help keep immigrant families together. Remember to hold your loved ones tight, and stay tuned for a very special Fashion Mamas collaboration announcement in support of this fight.
Update: After this story was published, the president signed an executive order ending his family separation policy, "officially [reversing] his debunked argument that he had no authority to stop separations of undocumented immigrant families at the border," reports CNN.
Call Your Elected Officials
Ahead of Thursday's vote, call your congresspeople and tell them to end the separation of families at the border. Ask your senators to pass the Keep Families Together Act and your House representative to pass the HELP Separated Children Act. If your senators and representatives already supports those acts, please thank them for their willingness to stand up.
Phone shy? You can also text RESIST to Resistbot via SMS, Telegram, Twitter, and Messenger and the service will text your message to your elected officials. (Bonus: No downloads or apps are needed.)
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the nation's largest "guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country." Donate to their efforts to safeguard the rights of refugees and immigrants here.
- Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is Texas' largest immigration legal services nonprofit organization and focuses on underserved immigrant families, children, and refugees. Donate to their Family Reunification Bond Fund here.
- Kids in Need of Defense is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes the protection of children by "[ensuring] that no child appears in immigration court alone without high quality representation [and advancing] laws, policies, and practices that support children’s protection and uphold their right to due process and fundamental fairness," among other actions. Donate to their efforts here.
- The Florence Project "is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit legal service organization providing free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody in Arizona." Donate their efforts to provide attorneys to those in immigration removal proceedings here.
- Al Otro Lado is a U.S.- and Mexico-based organization that provides legal services to deportees and migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, including deported parents whose children are still in the U.S. Donate to them here.
- Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project "prevents wrongful deportations by connecting refugee families to community support and emergency legal aid." Donate to them there.
- Texas Civil Rights Project "uses legal advocacy to empower Texas communities and create policy change." Donate to their efforts to help immigrants here.
Donate Baby Supplies
LA-based nonprofit organization Baby2Baby is "collecting basic essentials to create bundles of highly needed items for immigrant children through our partnership with Kids in Need of Defense." Contribute by purchasing items through their Target registry here.
Attend fundraising events and volunteer your time to help. Below are just a handful of fundraisers happening in our chapter cities as well as online:
The Comfort Campaign
What: "Send each child a handwritten letter of comfort and welcome, along with a teddy bear. Children's artwork especially appreciated. Even the oldest teens in the shelter still love having something soft to snuggle and pictures to hang by their beds."
When: Wednesday, June 20 (4 to 6pm) and Saturday, June 23 (10am to 1pm)
Where: UCB Theatre, 5419 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027
Wiggle & Work's Fundraiser for Families Separated at the Border
What: Enjoy food, an open play area for kids 4 and under, and auctions; all proceeds benefit RAICES. Tickets are $20 per family and available here.
When: Sunday, July 1 from 10am to 2pm
Where: Wiggle & Work, 968 North Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029
In Good Company x The Assembly Fundraising Event
What: Happening at The Assembly in the Mission District, the evening will include a silent auction to raise funds for RAICES.
When: Tuesday, June 26 at 6pm
Where: The Assembly, 449 14th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Still We Rise Online Auction
What: The online auction will raise money for ACLU, RAICES, and Texas Civil Rights Project in support of their efforts to keep immigrant families together. Follow @_stillwerise for updates.
When: Monday, July 2 to Monday, July 9
The ACLU has several petitions to help immigrant families and their children:
- Keep families together: "Tell Homeland Security to end the vicious and inhumane practice of separating children from their families." Sign the petition here.
- Stop the physical, sexual, and verbal abuse of children by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. Hold the Commissioner of UCB Kevin K. McAleenan accountable. and sign the petition here.
Attend a Rally
There are upcoming Families Belong Together demonstrations expected to take place across the U.S. as well as throughout the world in Amsterdam, London, and many other international cities. Below are a handful of events happening in our chapter cities and our nation's capitol; visit MoveOn.org for a complete list here:
- Washington, D.C.: Saturday, June 30 at 11am at Lafayette Square, Washington, DC 20006
- Los Angeles: Saturday, June 30 at noon at Pershing Square, 532 South Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
- San Francisco: Saturday, June 30 at 11am at Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94102
- New York: Saturday, June 30 at 10am at Foley Square to Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10013
- Miami: Saturday, June 30 at 10am at Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St., Miami, FL 33155
Stay Informed and Proactive
Keep posting news and updates about this human rights crisis on social media to keep this heartbreaking issue front and center. You don't need to be a brand or influencer to do your part; if you do have a large social media following, remember that you're also human and that the well-being and safety of these children is of utmost priority over the loss of followers.
There are many other ways to stay proactive; below are just a few resources:
- ACLU: "Fact-Checking Family Separation"
- Time: "Thousands of Migrant Children Are Being Separated From Their Families at the Border. Here's How to Help Them"
- Slate: "Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border"
- Los Angeles magazine: "Here’s What You Can Do to Help Immigrant Children Being Separated From Their Parents at the Border"
- The Cut: "What You Can Do Right Now to Help Immigrant Families Separated at the Border"
- Refinery29: "Here Are The Next Protests Against Trump's Family Separation Policy"
Know of other fundraisers, events, and resources? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.