A few days ago, an opinion piece in The New York Times, “Seizing of Children From Parents at the Border Is Immoral. Here’s What We Can Do About It,” went viral throughout social media as more and more people voiced their outrage over images of crying children being separated from their families. While there were families and unaccompanied minors detained at the border under Obama Administration as part of its immigration enforcement strategies, separating families as an unofficial policy and often under false pretenses is both cruel and malicious. According to the article, even when the United Nations human rights office called this new practice a serious violation of the rights of children, the Catholic bishops denounced it as immoral, and the American Psychological Association warned that the separations threatened the mental and physical health of the children, none of these warnings and criticisms seemed to impact what the Trump administration is doing at the border.
Activists and humanitarian organizations have sought answers from the Trump administration regarding its methods, seeking to put a stop to the separations, but the administration has come back with just-following-orders excuses and even false information. To make matters worse, the Department of Homeland Security said it had no policy for separating families and was simply catching criminals.
While the heartlessness of all this happening in 2018, in a country that was built on dreams and opportunities and benefits from immigrants, as well as the labor of slaves and the exploitation and murder of Native Americans, it is important to translate the rage and anger towards intentional action.
So in efforts to echo what many have shared, here are the five things that you can start doing today:
- Find out who your representative is in Congress and call him/her. Tell your congressional representative that you NEED the practice of separating families to end. Plead. Share your experiences. Tell your story. Whatever you wish to share, do so but please call.
- Join protests or any activities that will shed light on these inhumane actions against families.
- Donate. Money makes noise. It is important that we support both legal and humanitarian efforts to help unite children with their parents as soon as possible.
- Vote. And if you can’t vote, please get involved with campaigns to help elect candidates that understand that families belong together.
- Volunteer your services/time. Organizations like the American Immigration Lawyers Association are seeking immigration lawyers to volunteer to help represent the women and men with their asylum screening, bond hearings, ongoing asylum representation, etc. So if you are a lawyer or know one, please sign up.
We cannot remain stagnant and allow for this administration to continue to separate families. Our children need to be with their families. Let’s make sure we take action and encourage everyone with the ability to help to do so. In addition to the ideas above, here is a list of other ways you can help fight family separation. We may not be able to help everyone all at once, but we can start by helping one family at a time by refusing to stay quiet.
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