Last week, we discussed the announcement by the United Nations regarding the Trump administration policy of separating asylum-seeking families at the US border. At that time, the UN had recently called out the practice as a violation of human rights, and an already-high profile and much-discussed situation has received a growing level of attention during the intervening week.
The elements of the policy are reviewed in detail by Vox, here in a helpful breakdown that discusses the realities of the situation and dispels some false narratives before they take root.
But many of us still have questions about the policy, the practice, its execution, and what we can personally do to take action on behalf of those who have been harmed by these events. Here’s a quick set of questions and answers that may be helpful.
Are children really being pulled from the arms of their asylum-seeking parents at the border? Or is this an exaggeration of real events or a burst of new attention being focused on a long-standing practice?
Yes, children are being separated from their parents. And yes, this form of enforcement has arrived with the Trump administration and is part of a newly established “zero-tolerance” mandate explained in the link above. It is actually happening, and it wasn’t happening before October of 2017. Many of those who have been separated from their children are forthright asylum seekers who have committed no crimes and broken no laws.
I have a specific question. How can I get to the source?
Contact the Us Department of Health and Human Services (https://www.hhs.gov/), which runs the Administration for Children and Families (https://www.acf.hhs.gov/), which manages the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
I want to help these children directly. I am a lawyer/journalist/prospective foster parent/non-profit organization/community leader/ etc. What do I do?
If you are a lawyer or if you wish to donate to groups providing direct aid to separated families, please click here for a list of organizations that need your help.
(This excellent article is regularly updated with new groups and new actions, so check back in again later.)
To reach the “Unaccompanied Alien Children’s Services” program within the ORR, contact the ORR main office by calling here: 202-401-9246.
If you speak fluent Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ AND have a paralegal background, contact the Texas Civil Rights Project here. www.texascivilrightsproject.org.
Should I call my representative?
Shouldn’t we be protesting in the streets?
Yes. Many large protests happened around the country last week, but go online and explore your community to find upcoming scheduled events near you. You can also organize a protest yourself.
All I can do is donate. Where do I go?
Is there anything else I can do?
Yes. You can register and vote during the upcoming midterm elections, and you can join campaigns and support democratic candidates in challenged districts. Become a paid staff member, or just volunteer a few minutes of your time each week.
Meanwhile, check in with Just Atonement and join our efforts to take a legal stand on behalf of those who are harmed by policies and corporate actions that benefit institutions and the wealthy at the expense of the most vulnerable among us.