As the heart-wrenching consequences of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border policy have come to light, in particular the separation of children from their parents, we have been gratified by the surge in public awareness and action across the country and world. Many of you have contacted us, asking what can be done. Here's some information that you might find helpful.
Migrant-justice advocates have been tirelessly pointing out that Trump’s June 20th executive order didn't reverse the zero-tolerance policy of criminally prosecuting all adult border-crossers. The administration proposed an increase in prosecution and indefinite family incarceration, and repackaged it as an end to family separation. To better understand the consequences of Trump’s order here is a helpful article and graphic produced by the migrant justice organizaton Mijente and a succinct breakdown of the order by the NY Times. This thorough timeline documents decades of the rise in family detention, with a wealth of sources.
If you’ve observed Operation Streamline or visited a detention center, you know the dehumanizing consequences of both systems. If prosecutions continue, children could be held in internment camps with their parents for long periods of time, as immigration cases proceed slowly. While some are calling for "alternatives to detention," Borderlinks and many of our community partners call for the end to the criminalization of immigration. Lauren Dasse, the executive director of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, wrote a powerful editorial calling for families to be immediately paroled into communities.
Migrant-justice activists also point out that many other Trump Administration policy directives have even more devastating effects, especially the recent directive from Attorney General Sessions that significantly narrows the grounds on which migrants can claim asylum. Read more about these changes here.
Trump continues to play on racist fears with his frequent talk of an immigration “crisis” (not to mention the more dehumanizing terms he’s used), yet immigration is at historic lows. When so many of our political leaders and fellow citizens fall back on racist assumptions and assert that humanitarian disasters in Central America are “not our problem,” remember that US policies are frequently a primary factor in the root causes of migration.
Human stories told face-to-face are a powerful antidote to indifference, ignorance, and despair. If you wish to learn more and connect with grassroots migrant justice movements, consider scheduling a BorderLinks delegation.
Actions you can take on family separation:
- Join in the nation-wide protests taking place this Saturday, June 30. Check with migrant-justice organizations in your community to find out where protests are taking place.
- What you can do to help families separated at the border, written by immigration lawyer Melanie Gleason, who sees clients in the BorderLinks building.
- Connect with and be encouraged by this huge list of organizations working on these issues.
- Five Actions you can take, by the Women's Refugee Commission.
For further context and facts:
- Houses of worship may find the Interfaith Toolkit to End Family Separation to be helpful.
- Mijente and AFSC are running campaigns to abolish ICE
- Detention 101
- Mass incarceration also causes family separation.
- The travel ban separates families.
- Families have been separated throughout US history, including Black Americans, Native Americans, and Japanese Americans.
- Women’s Refugee Commission established in 2007 that there is no humane way to lock up families.
- Lastly, ProPublica continues to do excellent reporting on immigration issues, today publishing two articles about children in detention.