Over the past few days quite a few of my friends and acquaintances outside of the country have asked how they can help reunite migrant children with their families. I understand that it can often be hard to navigate through the sheer amount of information and links that are shared with us via different sources, and US legislation is often hard enough for citizens to wrap their heads around, let alone those who live in other countries.
Before I go into more detail on US immigration issues below and lose you, here are the ways you can help from abroad:
1). Join a protest in your city in your country, or organize one. For example, a friend of mine just protested in front of the US Embassy in Wellington, NZ. There are massive demonstrations planned in the UK in July when Trump visits.
2). Continue to talk about the terrible things that the US administration is doing in terms of human rights. There are many of them, so feel free to pick the one that affects you the most. But don’t stop sharing, discussing, and talking about these major issues. Children who are being ripped from their parents is something that we cannot allow to be normalized. We know what happens next. Black kids being shot in the back by law enforcement is another. While news outlets have been focused on family separation another unarmed black teen, Antwon Rose, was shot in the back by a police officer this week.
3). Donate to different charities that are raising money to pay for the bonds and legal representation of those who are currently detained and separated from their children. Bonds go between $1,500 to upwards of $10,000 so every little bit counts. RAICES is one of these organizations who are trustworthy, and have hit the ground running. KIND help protect migrant children, whether they arrived with parents or unaccompanied. There are quite a few others listed in this article here and here.
The fastest way for parents to get out of detention centers in order to search for their kids if is their bail is posted.
4). Sign petitions. A friend was concerned because she thought that she wasn’t allowed to sign an ACLU petition because she isn’t here in the US. I told her that I sign petitions and contact my representatives all the time band I am not American. Sign away!
Here are some good ones:
- ACLU – Separating Families is Inhumane
- Stop Separating Families – Amnesty International
- Change.org – Keep Families Together
- ActionAid UK
5). You can email Trump if you want to get a load off your chest here, but honestly, I doubt he reads anything that isn’t less than 280 characters long anyway.
6). If you speak any Meso-American indigenous languages such as Zapotec, Nahua, Ma’am, Quich’e, Maya, Mixe, Mixteco - not Spanish), contact RAICES to volunteer your skills as this can be done remotely.
In a nutshell the current president based a lot of his campaign on cracking down on immigration from the southern border and from countries where the main religion is Muslim. He also promised to build a wall along the southern border to “protect” US citizens from the people that he seems to think are running in droves across the border every day. Obviously anyone in their right minds knows that his rhetoric is false, ridiculous, and disgusting, but unfortunately many people believe it. Trump and his sidekicks are white supremacists and are working hard on implementing the promises they made in 2016. For the past year Congress has been in a deadlock on immigration reform, with the Republicans holding first the Dreamers, and now migrant minors, hostage. Most of the Democrats (currently in minority) refuse to pass hardline bills that include sections such as funding a border wall, and ending family immigration processes that currently exist (what Trump likes to call “chain migration”). So while these bills keep getting shut down and discarded, Trump and his cronies try to find loopholes by implementing new policies such as the recent “zero tolerance” policy. And while he signed an Executive Order this week to end the separation of families at the border, it hid some other dark new policies that we need to continue to fight. In addition to this, the thousands of children who have already been separated from their parents have not been reunited with them, and no one can tell us if they will ever be.
The immigration system in this country is a huge mess, and a mess that the government profits from, whether it be from the millions they recoup in immigration fees, the billions they collect in taxes from undocumented immigrants, or from the private prisons where they detain immigrants for months on end for the sole misdemeanor of crossing the border illegally. Having lived here for well over a decade on a temporary visa, undocumented, and finally with a green card, I have seen the system in and out and I know what it’s like to live in the shadows, on the edge of my seat fearing deportation. I still breathe a sigh of relief when I come back into the country without being sent into the secondary room for interrogation.
But I have never had to fear my children being taken from me when I leave the house (although I do nowadays because I know where this administration is heading). I am not running from violence, abuse, and/or poverty. I can’t stop thinking of these children screaming for their parents, thrown into cages, of the parents, ripped away from their little children, some still exclusively breastfeeding. Who does that? Evil does that. If you didn’t believe it before you had better believe it now.
You can read more of my immigration stories and articles here. Feel free to contact me if you would like me to add yours to the collection.