How You Can Help Migrant Families Separated at the Border

More than 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in April that anyone caught crossing the border illegally would be criminally prosecuted and jailed, which would require children to be held separately at government-run facilities — many of which are in other states, hundreds of miles from where their families are detained.

The zero tolerance policy has overwhelmed the federal agency charged with caring for the new influx of children who tend to be much younger than teens who typically have traveled to the U.S. alone. The Associated Press reported some recent detainees are infants, forcibly taken from their mothers and placed in at least three "tender age" shelters in South Texas.

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The policy has drawn criticism from lawmakers, civil rights groups, religious groups, the American Medical Association and the United Nations, as well as business leaders and celebrities.

Caving in to mounting pressure, President Donald Trump Wednesday announced he would be signing an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to keep families together in detention after they are detained crossing the border illegally.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have proposed several bills to stop the child separation at the border. The American Civil Liberties Union is urging people to call their senator to advocate against the Trump administration directive and has set up a page on its website to help connect constituents with their senator's office.


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Here are some other ways you can help migrants families separated at the border.

ACLU: The national nonprofit's Immigrants' Rights Project works to protect civil liberties of immigrants and combat public discrimination against them through litigation, advocacy and public outreach. The ACLU is currently raising money to help "defend asylum-seeking parents forcibly separated from their children."

You can donate to the ACLU, sign petitions, or become a member.

RAICES: The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), based in San Antonio, Texas, provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrant and refugee families.

The nonprofit is accepting donations for its Family Reunification and Bond Fund, which in part is used to bond migrants out of ICE custody to help reunite families, and volunteers. 

A viral Facebook fundraiser organized by a Silicon Valley couple has raised more that $10 million dollars — and counting — for RAICES. The "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child" fundraiser launched Saturday became the social networking site's largest crowdfunded campaign ever, a Facebook spokesperson said.  

Additionally, the #postcards4families campaign will donate $5 to RAICES for every postcard kids write to help the separated immigrant children.

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CLINIC: The Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) helps secures free legal representation to migrant children released from detention, helps refugees gain asylum in the U.S., reunites families and provides legal services to immigrants.

Donate to CLINIC here.

Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights: Based in Chicago, the nonprofit advocates for unaccompanied migrant children who cross the border. The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights recently launched a project geared toward helping children separated from their parents at the border. 

Learn more about how to donate here. To become a Young Center child advocate, you can volunteer here

Kids in Need of Defense: The national nonprofit works to ensure that kids appearing in immigration court have legal representation. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) also lobbies for policies that protect immigrant childrens' legal interests.

To give KIND a monetary donation, click here. KIND has also partnered with Baby2Baby to set up a baby registry at Target to send bundles of basic essentials like diapers, wipes, shampoo and blankets to migrant children. 

Women's Refugee Commission: The Women's Refugee Commission advocates for the rights and protection of women, children, and young adults fleeing violence and persecution.

While the group is accepting monetary donations to assist separated families seeking asylum, it also suggests other ways people can take action to help the end the separation of families.

Urban Justice Center: The nonprofit launched the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) in 2015 to "prevent wrongful deportations by connecting refugee families to community support and emergency legal aid."

The organization is in need of donations to help support the legal services it provides asylum seekers and is also looking for volunteer attorneys and interpreters.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras

The binational nonprofit Pueblo Sin Fronteras provides humanitarian aid, caravans, shelter and aid to migrants and refugees in transit to the U.S. The organization's volunteers accompany migrants along their journey to protect them from danger, but also to move past law enforcement officials. It is currently assisting families awaiting hearings.

Here's how to donate.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association: The American Immigration Lawyers Association provides free lawyers for migrants in need of assistance with asylum screening, bond hearings and ongoing asylum representation. 

The national organization will soon post a volunteer list for immigrant lawyers who wish to represent families at the border.

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