Although our country faces many challenges, right now we are facing an extreme and urgent situation as we confront and demand an end to President Trump’s horrific new policy of separating children and parents as they seek asylum in our country. Since May 5, more than two thousand children have been separated from their mothers and fathers and placed in the custody of the government. To say that I am outraged, incensed, and heartbroken by this new practice does not do it justice. There are no words to express the devastation that is being wrought on these migrant families or on our country itself. Indeed, every day the situation grows worse as the number of children increases, the resources are not in place to properly care for them, and their health and well-being is permanently damaged. This policy – enacted unilaterally by President Trump, Attorney General Sessions, and DHS Secretary Nielsen – is a national and moral outrage. It is shameful.
This Administration’s family-separation policy is unnecessary, immoral, cruel, and contrary to the aspirations of our country. This type of policy has been practiced in the past by slaveholders, Nazis, and morally repugnant governments. It is not a policy that any moral society should countenance. As a state legislator, a parent, and a human being, I will continue to speak up and out against this policy and encourage all Marylanders to do so as well. Our Governor and all our federal elected officials should continue to raise their voices and do all they can to end this horrific policy. Children are not a negotiating tool. I hope that our President, Attorney General, and DHS Secretary will stop this policy and that DHS and other federal employees will actively resist implementing this policy.
Don’t understand what’s happening? Read here.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: There are things we can do – and there will be more – so I have created this entry and will continue to update it and add to it as a resource to be shared. Please send me your links, updates, and ideas to add to it as well: [email protected]
UPDATED AS OF 6/20/18 at 9:30 A.M.
- Join the “Families Belong Together Rally” on June 30th in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. Distributed actions will be planned across the country and you can find more information here: https://act.moveon.org/event/families-belong-together/search/?.
- Call our Senators – demand ask them to stop Homeland Security from separating children from their parents at the border
- Sign and share this petition – This administration has shown signs that it will bend to public pressure. That tells us that if enough of us raise our voices, we can help end family separation.
- Uplift the work of local organizations and continue the drumbeat online by using #FamiliesBelongTogether. Twitter handles to follow: @ACLUTx @TXCivilRights @netargv @
- DONATE to organizations doing great work on family separation and immigration – in Texas, nationally, and in Maryland:
- Al Otro Lado: https://alotrolado.org/
- RAICES: https://www.raicestexas.org/
- CLINIC: https://cliniclegal.org/
- Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley: http://www.catholiccharitiesrgv.org/Home.aspx
- CASA de Maryland: https://wearecasa.org/
- Join the “Families Belong Together Rally” on June 28th in Brownsville, Texas – South Texas is ground zero for this administration’s inhuman practice of family separation. Federal courts in South Texas have been prosecuting people en mass (up to 60 at a time), which has led to mass family separations. Join ACLU, Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, NWDA, United We Dream and more at a rally in front of the Brownsville Federal Court demanding an end to family separation. (RSVP Here and Share on Facebook). We will have buses leaving from Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo – sign up sheets to come!
- Volunteer at Sacred Heart Church – Sacred Heart Church is working around the clock to help migrants who have been provisionally cleared and released by Border Protection with temporary papers a future court date (and an ankle monitor in tow). After being processed they are dropped off at the McAllen bus terminal where they wait before leaving to their next destination. The church picks up people from the bus terminal, brings them to their welcome center, and offers them their first warm meal, a bath, a change of clothes, hygiene products, a call home, and assistance with translating their paper work and travel itinerary. They need volunteers to help assist and prepare items for families.
- Join NETA to deliver food/water to asylum seekers stuck at ports of entry or donate to them here – People currently showing at ports of entry seeking asylum are being denied that right. When they arrive, officers tells them that the port of entry is at capacity and that they’re not processing asylum applicants. This back-log has created long lines of people (+50) who have essentially been living on the bridge, patiently waiting their turn. They’ve been sleeping on the hard concrete floors and have been enduring the Texas heat that reaches up to 110 degrees. Some have been there anywhere from 5 to 17 days, and they arrive with nothing. Join NETA to take these individuals food, water, and other necessities.
- Be a Volunteer Attorney with ProBar or donate to them here – ProBar, the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project. This is a project of the American Bar Association, and they are currently supporting over 1,000 ‘unaccompanied children’ in detention centers. They’re also working hard to reconnect these children with their parents. They’re looking for volunteer attorneys who could help with these children prepare for credible fear interviews (will take several days to a week), and in the longer term help with assistance for bond cases (some of this work could be remote, but would have to be periodically present). I’ve created the google doc above to try to help them identify volunteer attorneys. If you’re unable to volunteer, you could donate here.
- Help Texas Civil Rights Project take declarations from families or donate to them here – Everyday, TCRP is taking declarations from families and need help with intake efforts in Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso and Alpine. They’re able to train people and organize legal intakes in these cities. They also need help in McAllen with interviewing families. Note — Volunteers are required to speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistance experience.