First they came for the immigrants…
Originally posted in The Cut.
Under the Trump administration’s extreme “zero tolerance” immigration policy, immigrant families are being separated at the border. The policy, which was officially announced on May 7, has led to more than 2,000 immigrant children being ripped from their parents while attempting to cross into the U.S. The stories are horrifying: federal agents allegedly taking away a mother’s baby as she was breastfeeding, asylum seekers listening to their children scream from another room, and a man killing himself after being separatedfrom his wife and child.
“The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” said a spokesperson for the U.N. human-rights office.
To find out how the general public can fight this horrific policy, the Cut reached out to various organizations that advocate for immigrants’ rights. Below, here’s what you can do to help.
Volunteer at organizations
Many organizations in border states are actively looking for volunteers who are willing to complete tasks like organizing legal intake and interviewing families, especially if those volunteers are Spanish-speaking and have legal experience. The Texas Civil Rights Project, for example, is seeking “volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistant experience.”
If you can’t volunteer, donate
For those who don’t live in southern states or meet the qualifications for volunteering, a simple way to help is by donating to organizations. In addition to the Texas Civil Rights Project (donate here), there’s the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), the largest immigration nonprofit in Texas that provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrants; the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, which advocates for many of the separated and unaccompanied children; Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, which provides legal representation to low-income immigrants and families seeking reunification; and the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, which organizes to oppose migrant detention and border militarization. You can also make a single donation at ActBlue, which will give money to eight organizations that are working to protect migrant children separated from their families at the border. And, as always, you can donate to the ACLU.
Attend a protest
On June 30, cities across the country will host protests against the family-separation policy. A number of organizations including the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the ACLU, the Women’s March, and MoveOn, among others — have organized the event. The main demonstration is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. Here’s how to join.
“We are ready to have a mass mobilization,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who announced the protest on All In with Chris Hayes. “This has to be taken right to the White House and to Donald Trump’s doorstep.”
Ongoing demonstrations are also being organised by local grassroots organizations. One group that has coordinated protests all over the U.S. is Families Belong Together.
To see if there’s a march near you, click here.
Contact your elected representatives
Manoj Govindaiah, the director of Family Detention Services at RAICES, stressed the importance of contacting your local politicians to voice your disapproval.
“The general public needs to make their elected representatives know that they will not tolerate this treatment for anyone, let alone victims of persecution,” he told the Cut. “We recommend that the general public contact their elected officials and express their outrage against these policies.” He also suggests that people arrange and organize meetings with their elected officials when they’re in their home states during congressional recesses “to speak in person about how these policies have affected themselves and their families.”