Trump is blaming Democrats for laws that require separating children from parents, but there is no such law.
The immigrant-youth led action network United We Dream, which we can follow on Twitter here, is organizing people to call their members of Congress Tuesday through Thursday to demand an end to the violence against families by defunding CBP and ICE.
#1 – Stop DHS from separating families at the US border and demand oversight hearing into the Border Patrol tactics and records of abuse.
The separation part…
Homeland Security is cruelly separating families at the border for no legitimate reason. Immigration authorities have separated at least 700 children from their families, and about a hundred of them are under the age of four.
When a parent was arrested, the children would immediately be taken into custody and “put in foster care or whatever”, as John Kelly said.
The children are rendered “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (UACs), though they arrived at the border accompanied, and are entrusted to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) where they are held in detention facilities along with Unaccompanied Minors who arrived at the border alone.
The parents of separated children, the UACs, are often kept in the dark of where their children are or blocked from communicating with them. The ORR already struggles with providing adequate care, housing, and protection for actual Unaccompanied Minors. With the Trump administration unnecessarily creating many more detained children through their family separation policy, the ORR will surely struggle to take care of all of these children or reunite them with their families.
The abuse part…
On May 22nd, the ACLU obtained records from 2009-2014 showing a history of detainee abuse and neglect by Border Patrol agents. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) denies the allegations, citing the Inspector General’s investigation finding the claims unsubstantiated. However, outside investigators believe the Inspector General investigation was “structurally inadequate,” and that such failures have allowed a “culture of impunity” to run rampant among immigration officers. In 2017, ICE requested permission to routinely destroy records of abuse, sexual assault, and deaths of detainees in their custody.
Currently, the FBI is investigating the shooting of Claudia Gonzalez, a 20-year-old Guatemalan migrant, by a Border Patrol agent.
We know the government will bend to public pressure because they have already reunited one asylum seeker with her child after more than 38,000 activists made your voice heard. Now we need to make sure our members of Congress take action to end this cruel practice once and for all. Let’s make sure no other families are ripped apart.
Minimal Script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep. Julia Brownley to use Congress’ oversight authority to:
- Support Congressional oversight hearings to stop separating families at the U.S. border
- Support a robust investigation into the allegations of ICE and Border Patrol agents abusing detainees.
- Demand an end to the violence against families by defunding CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Other Contacts: http://www.phoneyourrep.com
#2 – Sign a petition
Sign this petition. Join the ACLU in asking Kevin K. McAleenan, Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection to intervene and make safety a priority for these children.
#3 – Fire up your postcard pen
Script: Dear [name], Our nation has a moral responsibility to protect children and treat them with basic decency, regardless of immigration status. This means we must: (choose any of the following):
- Vet caretakers thoroughly to prevent exposing kids to work- and sex traffickers.
- Hold detention facilities accountable for child abuse.
- Keep better track of kids post-release to ensure their well-being (source and source).
- Additionally, we must stop the inhumane practice of separating children from parents as an immigration deterrent.
As a taxpayer funding this egregious neglect of duty, I urge you to take full and immediate responsibility for the well-being and safety of vulnerable children and infants. Sincerely, [name, state]
Contact the following officials using the script above.
Chief of Staff John F. Kelly
Address: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone: 202-456-1414 (or TTY)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Address: US Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001
Phone: 202-353-1555 (or TTY)
ORR Director Scott Lloyd
Address: Office of Refugee Resettlement, Mary E. Switzer Building, 330 C ST SW, Washington DC 20201
#4 – Make donations here.
- The Florence Project whose “mission is to provide free legal and social services to detained adults and unaccompanied children facing immigration removal proceedings in Arizona. Our vision is to ensure that all immigrants facing removal have access to counsel, understand their rights under the law, and are treated fairly and humanely.” http://firrp.org
- ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/donate-aclu
- Support Kids at the Border: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kidsattheborder
- Activists on the ground have been fighting for children’s rights in the immigration system for a long time. Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) ensure that no child appears in immigration court without high quality legal representation, representing undocumented immigrant and refugee kids in deportation proceedings pro bono. They also advocate for laws, policies and practices that strengthen due process and fairness for kids in the immigration system. We can learn more about them at their website here, donate to them here, and follow them on Twitter to amplify their work here.
For more information and even more actions, let’s check out these, too:
- There is also an issue of “lost” children who came across the border as unaccompanied minors, that is, without an adult with them. Here is what happened to some of the kids but the story is more complicated. As this story continues to evolve, it seems that it is questionable if the all those children are really lost.
- From Political Charge: https://politicalcharge.org/2018/05/26/wherearethechildren-how-to-help/
- From Americans of Conscience Checklist Special issue: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yOGv2SrCSkS1PCbgfU5h7Zpf5QVpykQT0duKG8-lMKk/preview
- From Postcards for America: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LstlRt5oMzYRDAB3jxYemO-Z6LikNd2N2Fftl6vcRo8/edit
- From Cool Mom Picks: https://coolmompicks.com/blog/2018/05/26/abused-missing-immigrant-children-ice-what-you-can-do/
- Movimiento Cosecha is a non-violent movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We believe that through direct action and economic non-cooperation, we can change what is politically possible.