What's been happening at the border is an affront to human decency.
By now, we are presumably aware of the new 2018 policy at the U.S.-Mexico border that has children being taken from their parents arms and held in separate facilities — a practice that a UCLA psychology professor has likened to torture, that the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics has called "government-sanctioned child abuse," and that the U.N. high commissioner on human rights has called " unconscionable."
In just six weeks, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents, with no guarantee they will see them again.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.
There are lots of myths and misunderstandings floating around about the policy and its implementation. So you might want to read this, this, this, and this to get the facts straight. Then get ready to act.
It's easy to feel helpless and hopeless — but don't. Here's a list of real things you can do today.
Awareness is important. Action is vital. Here's what you can do:
1. Pressure President Donald Trump to put an end to this policy.
Trump appears to be using children as hostages to get his immigration agenda passed through Congress. But Trump has the power to end this policy all by himself now. He apparently has an executive action in the works to end the policy, so pressure appears to be working. Keep it up. Call the White House. Bombard Trump on Twitter, his chosen way to communicate with the American people. Let the administration know that this policy crosses a red line.
2. Call your senator and ask them to support the Keep Families Together Act.
If Trump doesn't put an end to the policy himself, Congress will have to act. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has introduced a bill that would bar border agents from separating children under 18 from their parents unless a court or welfare official determines it is in the child's best interests to do so or if there is a strong likelihood that the child is being trafficked or doesn't actually belong with the adult they are traveling with.
3. Participate in a #FamiliesBelongTogether march on June 30.
Or organize one in your area if there isn't one already in the works. A large anchor rally will be held in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., with other rallies and marches taking place across the country. Go to Moveon.org to find a rally near you.
4. Donate to legal aid organizations that specialize in immigration at the border.
The most immediate need for these families is legal representation and advocacy. Here's a list of nonprofits that are on the ground at the border providing legal aid to help get children reunited with their parents.
- ASAP: Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project connects families seeking asylum to community support and emergency legal aid.
- The Florence Project for immigrant and refugee rights provides free legal and social services to detained immigrants in Arizona and ensures that people facing removal have access to counsel, understand their rights under the law, and are treated fairly and humanely.
- KIND: Kids in Need of Defense ensures that no child appears in immigration court alone without high-quality representation.
- Tahirih Justice Center provides a broad range of direct legal services, policy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing violence.
(Also, if you need a little inspiration that hope for humanity is still alive, this Facebook fundraiser for RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in Texas, has already raised more than $10.5 million — in just four days — making it the most successful Facebook campaign to date.)
5. Support the ACLU.
The American Civil Liberties Union is an organization that works consistently to support human rights to all people in our country, to not only assist when injustices occur but to try to prevent rights from being infringed in the first place.
6. Keep speaking out and sharing reliable journalism about this story.
This atrocity, which should transcend partisan politics, is being turned into a war fueled by highly biased media outlets. Misinformation is part of what got us here, so utilize tools like MediaBiasFactCheck.com to determine the reliability of where you get your information. Share the facts, bust the myths, and keep putting the truth out there for these families.
This is our country. We should not accept cruelty to children being done in our name.
And we don't have to. Now is the time to act to end this shameful and inhuman practice.