We are not powerless against this government.
Our outrage over the administration’s inhumane policy of separating families became a living force. Regular people resisted this moral wrong in every way possible, writing letters to the editor, making calls, rallying, marching, blocking streets and ICE facilities, witnessing arrests – that energy was translated into actions by our legislators, our state attorneys, and organizations like the ACLU. Together we stopped this destructive administration in its tracks.
But damage as been done. And the opposition is regrouping. Here are some important things you can do.
Action #1 – Take a moment to gather energy with your community.
Join us today, Sunday, 8/19, for our potluck/fundraiser for the Immigrant Legal Defense Center. We’ll have chicken and hotdogs, a piñata for the kids. And we’ll share ideas on the battles ahead and how we can better work together.
Then, from Monday on, back to the business of resistance.
Action #2 – Call on these bills (you can take a couple of days, and repeat)
- S.3036: Keep Families Together Act. This bill’s intent is to limit authorities’ ability to separate families punitively. Agencies would be prohibited from removing a child from his or her parent or legal guardian, at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States, unless a state court or county child welfare agency has determined that the child is unsafe while remaining with their parent or legal guardian.Check here if your senator is cosponsoring. (Thanks to Sen. Feinstein for sponsoring and Sen. Harris for cosponsoring!)
- H.R.5950/S.2937: HELP Separated Children Act. HR 5950/S.2937 protect children affected by immigration enforcement actions. Check here if your rep. is supporting H.R.5950 (Thank Rep. Carbajal and call Brownley) and here if your senator is supporting S.2937 (Thank Senator Harris, call Sen. Feinstein)
- H.R. 2043/S. 2468: Fair Day in Court for Kids Act. “Every day the U.S. government brings children into immigration court where they are forced to defend themselves without counsel. (See fact sheet here) As a result, thousands of children, some as young as 3 and 4 years old, are ordered deported without legal representation.” Check here if your rep. is supporting H.R.2043 (Call both Brownley and Carbajal!) and here is your senator is supporting S.2468 (Thanks to both Feinstein and Harris for cosponsoring!)
- H.R. 2572: Protect Family Values at the Border Act. Check here if your rep. is cosponsoring. (Thank Rep. Carbajal and call Brownley)
- H.R. 5820/ S.2849: Done Act. The Detention Oversight, Not Expansion Act (DONE Act) that halts funding for construction or expansion of detention facilities in favor less costly and more humane community-based alternatives and requires unannounced independent inspections and audits to ensure compliance with federal laws. Check here to see if your representative has signed it yet. (Neither Brownley or Carbajal have signed yet.)
Standard Minimum script:
(THANKS!) I’m calling from [zip code] and I want to thank Rep./Sen. [___] for cosponsoring [bill # and title]. OR (CALL!) I’m calling from [zip code] and I would like Rep./Sen. [___] to cosponsor for [bill # and title].
If you’ve made these calls in the past, time to do it again..
Action #3 – Demand the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Secretary Nielsen allowed the agencies under her direction to proceed with a plan to enact a zero-tolerance policy that purposefully separated families, despite warnings that such actions would cause significant trauma to children. She did not make any effort to track or reunite separated family members until a court ordered her to do so, and failed to provide accountability for her agency’s inability to reunite families, respond to cases of child abuse, and ensure asylum seekers are afforded constitutional protections. In addition, Secretary Nielsen repeatedly lied to Congress, and continues to promote policies that separate families, including the elimination of Temporary Protected Status for the working parents of American children.
Minimum script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [___] to join @tedlieu and others in calling for Secretary Nielson to resign.
Action #4 – Re-activate the Family Case Management Program
In June 2017, the Department of Homeland Security terminated the Family Case Management Program, an alternative to detention that had proved far less expensive than detention; and resulted in close to a 100 percent compliance rate by participants. Alternative to Detention programs should be community-based and operated by non-profit organizations, not private prison companies.
Minimum script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep./Sen. [___] to restart the Family Case Management Program.
Contact your Legislator
Rep. Julia Brownley: email (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Contacts: https://hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com
Action #5 – Volunteer actions/donations
Do you want to do more than make calls? Here’s an updated list of a variety of activities you can do, or donations you can make to help others.
tinyurl.com/help-separated-families (link updated 8/18/18)
Volunteering to canvass or do voter registration to change our administration is also a great act. Go here for details.
Background – Where are we now?
Great update from Suit up Maine:
- The Trump administration failed to meet its court-ordered deadline to reunify the 2,634 children separated from their parents since its “zero tolerance” policy was implemented in May.
- 650 children remain separated, including dozens under age 5.
- While the administration argued that it returned children to all “eligible” parents, its definition of eligibility excludes almost 500 parents who were deported without their children, more than one hundred who claim to have been pressured into signing parental rights waivers they did not understand, parents accused but not convicted of crimes, and hundreds of parents loosely classified as needing “further evaluation.”
- The judge who ordered reunification dismissed this narrow definition of eligibility and ordered the deported parents located, other contested cases resolved on a rolling basis, and a protocol created for addressing the lack of interagency communication and process for tracking and handling family cases.
- Another judge announced that the court would appoint a special monitor to oversee detention facilities and investigate allegations of abuse and inhumane conditions, and ruled that detention facilities must stop drugging children without parental consent.
- And just this week the ACLU launched a new case against Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his decisions to restrict asylum eligibility and deny asylum seekers their due process.
- In a move that risked a contempt of court charge against Sessions, the government was discovered to have deported the case’s plaintiff and her daughter at the very moment her case was being argued in court!
- Of the families that have been reunited, some are reporting receiving children who are traumatized, angry, and confused, and the children report scenes of desperation and isolation in the internment centers.
- Numerous reports of sexual abuse of children as young as six have been documented.
- The administration recently lost a court battle to hold families in long-term detention, resulting in ICE announcing it would release qualifying families on immigration parole wearing ankle bracelets. That practice may be short lived if the administration appeals the court ruling.
- Meanwhile, the military is moving forward with plans to detain 20,000 unaccompanied children in internment camps on military bases, and the administration is seeking approval to expand that plan to include 15,000 beds for families.
- The Government Accountability Office and the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General have launched investigations into federal departments’ actions.
- Multiple lawsuits are underway, brought by the ACLU, a coalition of 18 states’ attorneys general, and others.
Resources on making calls: