6 Organizations That Are Helping The Nearly 2,000 Children Separated From Their Parents At The U.S. Border
RAICES has raised more than $1.5 million to help provide legal services to help detained parents and children.
People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018. Photo by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP.
From April 19-May 31, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents at the U.S. border and placed detention centers while their parents await prosecution, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The average child spends 49 days at Casa Padre, a child detention center in Brownsville, Texas.
The separation of children from their parents is part of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy and its determination to prosecute every person who crosses the border without proper documentation. The policy has resulted in disturbing images of scared children being taken from their parents and stories of border agents telling them that their “families would not exist anymore” and that they would “never see their children again.”
One Honduran man killed himself after being separated from his child.
Newly uncovered audio obtained by ProPublica reportedly captures the wails of detained children, as well as a border patrol agent who jokes, “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is a conductor.”
People who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018. Photo by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via AP
Cages For Kids
Journalists toured the facilities — and the ensuing footage is sobering.
NBC News’ @jacobsoboroff goes inside the country’s largest immigration processing center where more than a thousand kids have been separated from their parents since the policy began. pic.twitter.com/ueIV6E7a1a— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) June 17, 2018\n
The president is deflecting the cruelty of his own administration’s child-separation policy by blaming Democrats.
Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018\n
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has denied that it’s even happening.
We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) June 17, 2018\n
Echoes Of History
The decision to break up families and put them into detention facilities is eerily reminiscent of some of the most atrocious human rights abuses of the past century (and much of the rest of our country’s history). Democrats and even some prominent Republicans are speaking out against child-parent separation.
Former first lady Laura Bush condemned the policy in a Washington Post op-ed, writing, “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she favors tighter border security but is against the child separation policy:
“What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you. That’s traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country.”
Voices Of Dissent
Some officials say that the inhumane policy is un-American.
“This is inhumane,” Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas told CNN. “I’d like to say it’s un-American, but it’s happening right now in America. And it is on all of us, not just the Trump administration. This is on all of us.”
Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who is running for Senate in Texas, says the process of separating families is “inhumane. I’d like to say it’s un-American, but it’s happening right now in America. And it’s on all of us, not just the Trump administration” https://t.co/kSkxtixb38— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 17, 2018\n
BREAKING: The U.S. government released horrifying footage of a child detention center in Texas. Together, we must defeat this inhumane and un-American action. pic.twitter.com/NGUyhQJ6TB— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 18, 2018\n
Musician John Legend has been blunt about his criticism of the GOP-backed policy.
Seriously, fuck you. Reunite the families at the border and we can talk about father's day. https://t.co/bbG0gVqfzq— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 16, 2018
And Chelsea Clinton spoke out against children being separated from their parents.
How You Can Help
Here are a few organizations who are working to help children who have been separated from their parents:
- The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services has raised more than a million dollars for legal funds to help parents and children who have been detained.
- \nMomastery is raising funds to provide bilingual legal and advocacy assistance for 60 children (aged 12 months to 10 years) currently separated from their parents in an Arizona detention center.
- \nAnnunciation House provides shelter to refugee families in El Paso and Las Cruces, Texas.
- \nLas Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is a nonprofit dedicated to serving the legal needs of low-income immigrants — including refugees, victims of crime, and families seeking reunification.
- \nAl Ortro Lado provides legal services to indigent deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana and Los Angeles.
- The ACLU has a service that makes it easy to contact your senators and ask them to denounce Trump’s family separation policy.