UPDATE: 4:30 pm, Wed June 20: President Trump has signed an Executive Order (EO) ending the practice of separating children of immigrant families from their parents at the border. The good news is: all of the public pressure and media attention on this issue made him take action. The bad news is: the EO is limited, flawed, and subject to loopholes. While in-depth analysis is still to come, here are four important takeaways about the EO:
- No plans for the reunification of children who have already been separated from their families, including those whose parents were deported;
- Allows for the use of "family detention centers," and provides no limit to how long families with children can be kept in them and does nothing to address the issues of overcrowding and poor conditions in these facilities;
- The "zero tolerance policy" for illegal border crossing remains in force, continuing to make it virtually impossible for families to request asylum; and
- Every "requirement" of the EO is subject "to the extent permitted by law" (aka loopholes).
**In summary: we must continue to put pressure on the administration and on our legislators and support organizations looking to defend the rights of immigrants. The suggested actions below stand. And - the #FamiliesBelongTogether Protests scheduled for June 30th are still ON.
There has been a single news story dominating all of our news coverage and our hearts and minds this week. By now, everyone has heard of the way that families are being divided at the border and the distressing stories of children as young as eight months facing the trauma of unexpected separation from their parents.
This is a watershed moment in our country’s history that will haunt our collective memory. While it is easy to feel numb in the face of the onslaught of ever more horrifying news, there are some things we can all do to put pressure on the administration and on our legislators and support organizations looking to defend the rights of immigrants. The time to act is now. Here are some ideas:
Got kids (or grandkids, neighbors with kids, friends with kids)? Help them participate in #postcardsforfamilies. This project is focused on children sending handwritten postcards to the White House, Department of Justice, DHS, ICE, Senators & Congressmembers to let them know that kids should be able to stay with their families. Each postcard that is sent (with proper social media documentation) will result in a $5 donation to RAICES. More here.
Got five minutes? Write and/or call Senators Burr and Tillis about the Keep Families Together Act (FYI: not a single Republican has signed it). Suggested message: "I'm horrified by the way our country is dividing families at our borders, and separating children as young as eight months from their parents. I'm writing/calling to ask why you to support S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act immediately and take action to stop the separation of immigrant families at the U.S. border. This practice is immoral and unnecessarily harms innocent children. It must be stopped by Congress immediately." (Message modified from 5 Calls.)
- Use Stamps Licked & Herd on the Hill - they will hand-deliver your message to the Senators' DC offices, or Resistbot - text the word RESIST to 50409 and Resistbot will deliver your message to the Senators, or contact them directly:
Got money to donate? Send it to these organizations:
- RAICES - The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) in Texas is raising funds to pay for the bonds necessary to get parents out of detention and reunited with their children while awaiting court proceedings and to ensure legal representation for EVERY child in Texas' immigration courts (last year, 76% of kids did not have representation);
- Together Rising - funding organizations to help immigrant children get the legal support they need;
- ACLU - the ACLU is raising money to defend asylym-seeking immigrant parents who have been separated from their children; and
- More places to donate funds can be found at the bottom of this article.
Got more time to spare today and/or on June 30th?
- Today, June 20th at 4:30 pm in Raleigh, Families Belong Together Rally
- June 30th: National Domestic Workers Alliance, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ACLU, MoveOn, and many others are hosting rallies in Washington, D.C. and around the country to ensure the Trump administration and the GOP know that #FamiliesBelongTogether and the American people are calling to #EndFamilySeparation.
Got social media? Keep this in front of people. This IS NOT NORMAL. We need to KEEP THIS IN THE NEWS, whatever deflection emanates from our nation’s capital. FIND, FOLLOW and SHARE trusted resources on social media, and KEEP WATCHING for updates from organizations here in NC, around the country, and national groups:
Got family, friends, neighbors, loved ones? Take what you are learning from those trusted sources and have conversations about this in real life. Serve up some truth sandwiches when actually talking to people about this. And don’t stop until this inhumane immigration policy ends and peaceful asylum-seeking families are no longer being separated. History has its eyes on us.
As of 12 noon on Wednesday, June 20th: there are early reports that Homeland Security is drafting an order to end family separation and President Trump will be signing something on immigration to keep families together . This is a developing story and we need to keep the pressure on until there is a just resolution for all peaceful asylum-seeking families. Don’t let news of pending and potential “solutions” dissuade your actions.