By Praxis Media
August 8, 2018
We Need to Keep Advocating Against Ongoing Family Separation and Detention
Update as of August 7th – please feel free to sign up HERE for ongoing updates. Months after the federal government knowingly subject children and parents to traumatic separation and detention through its targeted zero tolerance criminalization of parent refugee/asylees on the southern border: close to 600 children remain in custody with at least 400 of their parents already deported. With allegations by parents that many of the deported parents were coerced into leaving the country without being reunited with their children, the judge in the ongoing court case has ordered that someone be appointed to oversee the process of locating deported parents in other countries.
Several hundred children were not reunited with their parent due to ineligibility. The ACLU explains that parents and children ineligibility for reunification could depend on whether a parent has been located, released from criminal custody into ICE custody, or has a communicable disease. Criminal history as determined by the Office of Refugee Resettlement or ICE is also blocking parents from being reunited with their children, and the ACLU has opposed that in the ongoing court case. These eligibility standards have already resulted in several dozen children under the age of 5 not being reunited with their parents. Further, hundreds of parents have already likely been deported without their children.
Meanwhile, prosecutions of adults continue. The need to change criminalization and detention of parents in order to ensure reunification is not dependent on Congress (as HHS Secretary Azar has stated). That ‘zero tolerance’ policy was enacted by the President and charges adults with ‘improper entry’; and it is the administration’s responsibility to work with the necessary actors to change the policy to one that upholds human rights and public health. Detaining families together also could violate rights under the Flores agreement.
This is alongside the administration’s ongoing threat to the Temporary Protected Status program, which would separate many more families. A lawsuit is calling the racially-discriminatory nature of this policy proposal into question. Officials are also using DNA testing of children who are under 5 – raising concerns around migrants’ rights to privacy and consent. Children who have thus far been reunited with their parents represent reunifications-for-deportation (of the whole family).
Further, the Supreme Court has upheld the Muslim ban – another xenophobic, anti-immigrant policy. This decision attacks various ethnicities of Muslim communities, catalyzes government-and court-sanctioned discrimination of other ethnic and religious groups, blocks families from reuniting across borders, deprives people of access to life-saving health care, and refuses to protect refugees and asylum-seekers from certain targeted countries. Says MoveOn, ‘There’s a crystal-clear throughline between the Muslim Ban, the Family Separation policy, family internment camps, and other policies that harm immigrant families.’ See a petition to sign below.
Direct Actions and Opportunities to Donate
Support Bristol County detainees – action request shared by Families for Freedom @families4freedom in New York
Liberty and Justice for All Rally on 8/15 in Philadelphia, PA
Volunteer with local border organizations: Sacred Heart Church, NETA, ProBAR, and the Texas Civil Rights Project (Twitter) are just some of the organizations you can help if you are in TX or willing to travel there. Please refer to the Families Belong Together Guide on How to Help for more details. There are also several upcoming opportunities by RAICES in San Antonio and Austin.
See the following resources on ways to assist children:
Break Bread Not Families by LUPE
Tahirih Justice Center’s Legal Protection for Mothers Seeking Asylum #endfamilyseparation
If you want to personally support an individual in detention send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll send the name and number of a person so you can send $20-50 to their commissary account. You can also write much needed letters of love and support.
Donate to bond funds so detained immigrants can be released. Here’s a bay area one but there are others: https://www.bayareaimmigrationbondfund.org/ (shared by Kathi Schaff)
Help Keep Families Together by the National Domestic Workers Alliance
End Family Detention: Women Take Action by @womensmarchonwash
The Florence Project shared by PolicyLink @policylink
Other articles shared by the RAICES include
Information and Updates
Read THIS FACT SHEET on the health impacts of the zero tolerance policy and families being separated
Learn more about ongoing developments at the @congressional.hispanic.caucus (on different immigration policy issues)
There is further information on policy agendas related to the separation of families at the National Immigration Law Center @NationalImmigrationLawCenter #EndFamilySeparation – as well as HERE as shared by @MICOP805
Take action for vulnerable children and families at the border by looking at the Families Belong Together webpage – be sure to sign up for notice of upcoming actions in your area! – as well as looking up the National Domestic Workers Alliance on Facebook @familiesbelong @nationaldomesticworkersalliance #FamiliesBelongTogether #EndFamilySeparation #LasFamiliasMerecenEstarUnidas.
White Coats for Families Belong Together Campaign shared by Kathi Schaff
Letter and statement by the American Public Health Association on the long term and irreversible health impacts of border immigration enforcement policy and the need to reunite children with their parents as well as explore alternatives to detention @AmericanPublicHealthAssociation
La Red -Faith in Action @LaRedFaithinAction
Texas: See this resource on ways to help families who are being separated at the border as well as other information on the La Union del Pueblo Entero page @LUPErgv #FamiliesBelongTogether #ReunificationNotDeportation and read the experiences of migrants suffering due to this policy at the Grassroots Leadership Page @grassrootsleadership.page
Check out THIS STATEMENT as well as the campaign #FamiliesAreSacred #LasFamiliasSonSagradas by Carecen SF to lend your voice to the movement to end ‘zero tolerance’ and family separation at the border! @CarecenSanFrancisco
Denver and Coloradans: See information, including a statement, by Padres & Jovenes Unidos @padresjovenesunidos.
Partners on the East Coast: see the American Friends Service Committee for ongoing demonstrations at the border – as well as other tools and knowledge – to promote that #FamiliesBelongTogether through rejecting the threat narrative @AmericanFriendsServiceCommittee
Bay Area: Follow @ColemanAdvocates for Children and Youth to learn about ongoing actions that you could participate in #KeepFamiliesTogether
Existing Petitions and Letters to Sign
- Petitions for detained parents and children’s rights and protections against abuse HERE and HERE
- Demand free phone calls for parents and children who remain separated
- Wells Fargo and JPMorgan: stop financing for-profit incarceration of immigrants and refugees
- Microsoft Profiting off of ICE
- Join #FamiliesBelongTogether in an action to demand that Wells Fargo stop financing private prisons that are being used to incarcerate and separate families. Fill out the form below to list your organization as a participant by July 4th and we will list your organization in a national press release about the national action. Participation is easy! Lend your support with a social media share and/or send a petition to your network. Sample petition you could mirror on your page: https://action.momsrising.org/survey/Wells_Fargo_petition/
Sign on here:
- Rescind the Muslim Ban by the ACLU
- Kids are still in cages! – by the National Domestic Workers Alliance
- The ACLU, MomsRising, MoveOn, and CREDO have petitions to Sec. Nielsen. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and Change.org also have a new petition out to the Department of Homeland Security.
- The Women’s March has a petition to Ivanka Trump.
- Define American has a petition to Attorney General Sessions.
- The Women’s Refugee Commission also has a petition that is easy to sign and share.
Links to Organizations
Other organizations to check out per RAICES’ resource-sharing:
- Texas Civil Rights Project (also its action portal)
- The Florence Project
- ProBAR and IJP
- Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
- National Immigrant Justice Center
- Al Otro Lado
- Fuerza del Valle
- Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
- Act Blue has aggregated many of these groups into one donation page to support kids at the border.
- Or you can purchase something off of the Sacred Heart Amazon Wishlist
Advocating to Congress
The American Immigration Lawyers Association advocacy center offers a communication hub directed at members of Congress.
Also, the following was shared by the DC Immigration Hub:
Weigh in with Members of Congress! The ACLU has a call tool specifically for Senators; the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has a call tool that directs calls, tweets, facebook posts, and emails to all Members of Congress. Individuals can compose letters for delivery on the Herd on the Hill portal that will be cloud-printed in DC and walked over to the House and Senate.