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How To Help Families Separated At The Border

6/17/2018

Families Belong Together

art by #BlueDelliquanti via @womensmarch

In April and May alone, over 2,000 immigrant babies and children have been taken from their families by ICE and Border Patrol. Babies. Ripped away from their parents.

If you aren’t familiar with what I am talking about, I encourage you to go here first. It is a thorough breakdown of exactly what is happening: why families are being separated, the facilities in which the children are being held and what policy changes are contributing to this inhuman practice.

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Our country has hit a new low, just when you didn’t think things could get any lower. When I first heard the news about families being torn apart at the border, against their will, while fleeing DIRE circumstances in their country, I was physically ill. This is by far the most despicable thing our President has brought with him. How can this be our country? How can we let this happen?

We sat down to our editorial meeting last week and before we talked about our regular content, I asked Chelsea, our new editorial director, and the rest of the team to help me put together this post. I am lucky to work with an incredibly informed group of women who educate me every day on the issues in our country. I am the first to admit that I have spent most of my life blissfully clueless about the issues our country faced, which is why you haven’t seen any posts like this on this site until recently. During and after this election, and while simultaneously becoming a transracial family, I have taken a hard look at my privilege. How can I make up for lost time? As Samantha said to me recently, “When you know better, do better.” So that’s what I’m doing. Better late than never.

Because this issue has been a hard one to find concrete information on,  it’s hard to know how to help. Today we wanted to break down the situation into three easy steps so you can be informed about what is going on at the border and take action. It is so easy to become numb, to look away, to pretend it’s not happening. I know because I’ve done it before. But this IS happening. To children and families just like mine. Just like yours. And they need our help.

Families Belong Together

via @glennondoyl

Step 1: Understand the Bills on the Table

Keeping Families Together Act

This is a bill to keep immigrant families together by preventing the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the border.

To quote Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, Let me be clear: there is no law requiring this Administration to separate children from their parents—Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen are choosing to tear families apart to intimidate those who are lawfully seeking asylum in our country. It’s extreme, heartbreaking, un-American, and has to stop.”

You can learn more about the bill here and view the bill itself here. 

Fair Day In Court For Kids Act 

This is a bill to provide access to counsel for unaccompanied alien children. 

From the ACLU Fact SheetAccording to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, 85 percent of children who did not have immigration counsel were ordered deported….In nearly 75 percent of cases where children had counsel, the immigration judge decided to allow the child to remain in the U.S., because they had strong claims for asylum and humanitarian protections. 

To quote Senator Mazie Hironi of Hawaii, “Unaccompanied children are seeking a better life away from violence, abuse, and terror in their home countries. The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act provides these children with an opportunity to tell their stories and assert what legal rights they have. These children should not be expected to represent themselves alone against the federal government, as they are some of the most vulnerable people in our legal system.

You can learn more about this bill here and view the bill itself here.

The Help Children Separated Act

This is a bill to protect children affected by immigration enforcement actions. Specifically, the bill: (1) allows parents to make calls to arrange for the care of their children and ensures that children can call and visit their parents while they are detained; (2) allows parents to participate in family court proceedings affecting their children; (3) protects children from being compelled to serve as translators for their parents in immigration enforcement actions; (4) ensures that parents can coordinate their departures with their children; and (5) requires ICE to consider the best interests of children in detention, release, and transfer decisions affecting their parents.

To quote Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, “This bill will protect children from experiencing unnecessary trauma when their parents are targeted for immigration enforcement actions. Imagine being detained and not being permitted to ensure that your children are fed or looked after. Imagine being deported and not being allowed to say goodbye. The protections in this bill are so basic that it is shameful they aren’t already enshrined in law.

You can read more about the bill here and view the bill itself here.

Step 2: Call Your Representatives

First, find out where your reps stand on each of the bills. Here’s how:

  1. For the Keeping Families Together Act, go here. Search for the word “cosponsored” and check if your rep is one of the ones listed.
  2. For the Fair Day In Court For Kids Act, go here. The list of reps in support of the bill is at the top.
  3. For the HELP Children Separated Act go here. This is a list of all the cosponsors of the bill, see if your rep is one of them.

If your rep is not listed on any or all of the above, call or write their office and urge them to support these bills.

  1. Find your rep’s number here. Find your senator’s number here.
  2. Call the number and if you need help knowing what to say. I did and still do when I call my representatives. Here is a Sample Script of what to say: I’m a constituent from [City, State] and I’m calling to ask you to speak up about the separation of families at the US borders and support [The bill above that they aren’t currently supporting].

If your rep IS listed above, STILL CALL THEM!

  1. Find your rep’s number here. Find your senator’s number here.
  2. Voice your support for the work they are doing to end family separation at the border. Here is a Sample Script of what to say: I’m a constituent from [City, State] and I’m calling to thank you for supporting [The bill above that they support] and continuing to speak up against the separation of families at the US borders.

Other Ways to Contact Your Reps…

5Calls.org is a great source for aiding in calling your representatives. It determines your location, allows you to select your priority issues or bills and give you a specific script for that issue, along with the information on who to call.

Resistbot is a texting service that will deliver your message to your reps for you. It is great if you have phone anxiety and do not want to call. (I get it, I do too.) Text the word RESIST to Resistbot at 50409 to get started.

Step 3: Donate If You’re Able

Not everyone is in a position to donate and that’s OK. Your calls mean just as much, if not more. But there are also a lot of teams on the ground trying to bring legal aid, supplies, and other help the families affected. Here are a few places you can donate, if you are able to do so.

RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services)

RAICES is on the ground in Texas, working to raise funds to help provide legal services for detained separated parents and to help pay their immigration bond.

“Parents separated from their children at the border (and other immigrants placed in detention) can’t get released from ICE custody to reunite with their families until they pay the full amount of their immigration bond. Bonds are set at a MINIMUM of $1500, and are usually in the range of $5-10K, even for asylum seekers without any criminal history. Unlike in the criminal system, bail bond companies either do not help people in immigration proceedings or impose very strict requirements, like private ankle monitors (which families have to pay to “rent”). Donate to our fund to directly support legal services for detained separated parents and the direct funding for bonds to get parents released.”

You can donate to their bond fund here.

ACLU

The ACLU has put together a petition to tell Homeland Security to end the inhuman practice of separating children from their families. You can sign it here.

You can donate here to help the ACLU fight for immigrants’ rights.

Texas Civil Rights Project

This is an alliance of Texas lawyers dedicated to equality and civil rights. Donating helps cover costs of coverage of proceedings so litigators know what’s happening – like us, they don’t have a transparent view into what’s happening in courtrooms.

You can donate to help their efforts here.

A Few Final Resources

You can go to this article to find several additional organizations to donate to.

You can read about why the UN believes this policy of taking migrant children from their parents is illegal here.

Journalist Jacob Soboroff on the conditions at Casa Padre, one of the largest facilities holding nearly 1500 immigrant boys.

CBS’s David Begnaud on what he saw inside detention facilities: “We saw people in cages. They looked like animal kennels. We could not record anything; we couldn’t talk to anyone.”

I hope this has been helpful for those of you who weren’t sure WHAT to do to help. It may seem like you are just one person and that makes it hard to feel like you’ll make a difference, but all of us together CAN make a difference. These families need us so badly. I cannot stop thinking about these babies and the trauma they are going through. Let’s do everything we can to reunite them.

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44 comments

  • Jennifer

    Thank you so much for this post. I usually come here for your cute DIY projects but wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your taking on this issue and sharing ways to help.

    • Christine Jones

      I work in a busy family practice. Believe me, there are yahoos across the spectrum of humanity. Please don’t paint a group of people with a broad brush.

  • elise

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post. <33333 Thank you for sharing about this issue and sharing ways to help.

  • Sylvie

    I was wondering what to do about this, and this post is so well outlined. I love your blog as relief from the stress of our current politics, it is so fun and full of love and community, but I also am so thankful for this post and the information it provided. Thanks and sending love!

  • Kelsey

    Thank you so much for putting this together. Calling and donating right away

  • Tali

    Heart-wrenching. Thank you for facing this head on + calling us up to join you in the fight. I especially appreciate your humility in sharing your previous tendency to bury your head in the sand. I, too, have been guilty of that.

  • Marsha

    Thank you for this information about such a heart-breaking situation. I think politics these days has awakened a lot of us and made us pay attention.

  • Lori Genther

    I understand you get your news from a ways away. I live in the US. I encounter illegals everyday, many kind and gracious people. But I have also had other experiences. Years ago I was driving home alone with 6 children and a dog in the car. My car was knocked down a steep embankment by 3 illegals in a pick up. We were ok except for my ruined car. They were taken to the ER by ambulance, checked and released. No ID, insurance, and they didn’t own the vehicle. They took off. Guess who paid?
    Here is a video telling some truth about the situation. Americans are not the monsters our media likes to make us out.
    https://www.chicksonright.com/2018/06/16/no-trump-isnt-losing-immigrant-kids-or-ripping-apart-families-here-are-the-facts/

    • Karen

      Lori,
      We’re talking about what’s happening NOW. These children are NOT going to sponsors, they’re being detained without their families in shelters. The current inhuman issue is NOT whether some news source mischaracterized child immigrants as being “lost by the government” in past years.
      Our concerns are what’s actually happening NOW to families seeking refuge at our borders.

      • Leah

        This inhumane issue is totally happening due to the fact that the illegals are choosing to make the trip to the US borders then choosing NOT to cross into our country through the legal Ports of Entry…. No child is being separated from their family when they enter through the correct places and state they are seeking asylum. If the illegals choose to gain entry into our country by climbing over fences or tunneling under fences or entering where it is not legal, then yes- if caught, they will be arrested and any child with them will be separated from them, JUST LIKE any legal citizen who commits any crime (while in custody of a child,) that child will be separated from them. The child is turned over to a relative as soon as it is possible. The U.S. has spent close to a Billion dollars providing the shelters, food, and care in taking these children in and keeping them until they are reunited with their families. This law has been on the books for years and did not just start with Trump!

        • Femi

          Wake up girl. Your knowledge is embarrassing.
          Do you know what asylum means, and the circumstances that humans have to be in to SEEK asylum? Or is that not something you have to learn about with your comfortable suburban life?

          Sheesh. The situations that many are fleeing from are violent, dire, and literally life threatening. If you aren’t moved by the sadness and senselessness of this treatment to innocent young children and desperate parents, I feel bad for you. You see brown people as “illegals” or something equally dehumanizing but your brain is under the fence.

        • Jacqui

          Can’t believe people actually think this way.

        • Linda wilson

          I agree with leah. We are a countryof laws. We uphold these laws. That’s why people are risking their lives to come to our great country. These people are breaking the law. They must be held accountable…just like anybody else that breaks the law. These illegals coming in are bringing in drugs and are human trafficing. Just talk to the ranchers at the border. They steal their food and horses, break into their homes and cause havoc where ever they go. Our country will become just like the countries they are escaping from if we do not uphold our laws and protect the American people and the legal immigrants that are already here.

    • Brooklyn Dog Geek

      Unfortunate occurrence, totally irrelevant to, well, anything. Please don’t use blogs like “Chicks on the right” (I mean, ew) for any news whatsoever. You’re better than that. At least I hope you are.

    • Amanda

      I live in Baltimore. This kind of thing happens every day by legal Maryland residents. It’s unfortunate that that situation happened to you, but let’s not act like it’s only one type of individual who commits these acts.

    • Pal

      The video begins with a skewed and distorted framing of the issue (Also known as the strawman fallacy) and proceeds to use loaded language to build a narrative based on the original false framing.
      You can be informed on either side of the true issue, preferrably both, and one is free to focus on some elements of an issue that may be more important than others but one should not get one’s information from scurrilous sources peddling a skewed narrative and it is irresponsible to spread them.
      I understand that you may get your news in many ways but propaganda videos are not news.

  • Magdalena McCormick

    Thank you so much for your interest in this issue and for helping me to learn how to help these children and their parents. You are an inspiration.

  • Christine Jones

    THANK YOU for this post!
    We are creating traumas for these innocent children that will affect them forever. Our country is better than this. Please let’s get out the vote and get these greedy cons out of office.

  • Lynda Gonzalez

    The link to the ACLU petition is broken! Just wanted to let y’all know. Still went to go find it online and sign it, though. Thank you so much for this post!

  • Katie Jardieu

    I love this blog for it’s light-heartedness and a way to have a little reprieve throughout the day. That being said I so appreciate this post. It was so informative and helpful. I had never heard of Resistbot and am such a huge fan! Can’t wait to continue using it! Thank you!

  • Maura Housley

    This is an amazing resource. Following your steps and sharing!

  • Karen

    Thank you so much for that post. You provided great information and links. I had just emailed my senators and representative about the child detentions, assuming they were just laying low as usual on this issue. You’ve provided the specific bills that can address this so now I will check their sponsorship on those. Still, I would be dumbstruck if Idaho’s Republican representatives would participate; I don’t think any children are being detained at our Canadian border. Thank you again.

    • Nole

      Karen – just remember that your Senators and Representatives are there to represent you (the constituent) and your views. Doesn’t matter if the Idaho border is involved, they should be representing your views in Congress! The Keep Families Together Act now has the entire Democratic caucus as cosponsors – now it’s time for Republicans to sign on. Tell them you’ll remember this when it’s time to vote for their re-election, and see if you can get friends and family to call. Civic action is most effective when people join together. Thank you for getting involved!

  • Jesse

    Thank you so much for taking the time to address this insanely important issue! It means so much that a person that I follow and look up to would use her platform in this manner. Will be using these steps to take action!

  • Gail Goodman

    Too bad you can’t keep your political opinion to yourself. I will not allow your blog in my sight anymore. Not that I ever got much out of it anyway.

    • Kira

      Gail — This is not a political issue. It’s a human right’s issue. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. I’m sorry to hear that this doesn’t horrify you.

      Beyond that, there’s no need to knock Kelly’s business. You know StudioDIY rules. You know you love her brand. And you know you smile every time a cute lil clutch comes out! It’s okay to like stuff from people who are different from you.

    • Brittany

      Gail – why would you post this? It’s extremely rude and It’s Kelly’s blog. Guess what! She can post whatever she wants, political or not.

      If you don’t get much out of her blog, why are you taking this much energy to comment on her site? LOL!

    • Barbara

      Gail more like Fail.

  • Joanne

    Thank you for the three-step post. You helped us so much by supplying places to donate. Donation made ✔️

  • Thoughts on Supporting a Kinder, More Humane World – Catherine Masi

    […] Please see this post from Studio DIY for more […]

  • Taylor Collery

    Thank you for this post. I too have often ignored issues, not because I didn’t care, but because I didn’t know how to help/didn’t think my contribution would make a difference. I love how you layed this out and made it accessible for us to help.

  • Allie

    Thank you so much for this! I’m so glad to see you use your platform to inform others. I can’t echo enough that even if your reps are listed, you should still call them. They tally and keep track of these calls and are always open to hear if you think there’s more they can do.

    If you don’t see your senator on the Keep Families Together Act, look for them here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/3036/cosponsors. The original link is for the press release, but now 48 senators cosponsor it.

  • Emma

    THANK YOU for using your platform for this cause!! I’m not even from USA, but this hits me so hard. Not sure if I can sign when I live in Norway, but I can donate!

  • Teaching Kids Diversity... Why & How we can start today! - Cheeky Days

    […] There is no perfect way to start, and there are plenty of ways to feel awkward or uncomfortable or like you’re messing up, but having these conversations and stepping out imperfectly is what we are called to do as parents. And we can do this in our every day, we can do this in what we are already doing with our littles… books, play, asking questions, eating, dancing, trips to the playground or the zoo. For more ideas and ways to get started today, check out Our Cheeky Days Podcast and our Diversity Resource Guide and CLICK HERE for ways to act today to help the families being separated at the border. […]

  • Agustina mejias

    the worst thing of all is that your government even has a webpage to “prevent” child abduction… https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction.html isnt that funny? So for them it`s outrageous that one of both parents or a granparent or other relative, takes the child away, but its ok that they take the child away, hm…. so inconsistent. Kelly its real good what you’re doing, I’m not american, but if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t even have heard about this, the whole world NEEDS to know this. Thank you! I really hope the parents and children can be re united soon or at all. Cheers from Argentina

  • Stephani

    Thank you for a clear call to action. This is exactly what I needed.

    It is so brave of you to interrupt your editorial calendar for a (somehow) polarizing issue. Thank you for taking a stand!

  • Choose Kind...because it is a choice - Cheeky Days

    […] Are you ready to join us? For more ideas and ways to get started today, check out Our Cheeky Days Podcast and our Diversity Resource Guide and CLICK HERE for ways to act today to help the families being separated at the border. […]

  • anna

    I think it’s admirable you took the time to write this post. Thank you for all the information!

  • Kathi Hopkins

    Did you have outrage the 8 years that Obama was president and this was happening? Kids in cages – yes, pictures from 2014. This is the law enacted by Congress and only they can CHANGE it. Yes, write to your Congressman by all means.

    Here’s what you need to personally do. Unlock all the doors of your home. If a stranger shows up, let him in. Burglar? Dope Addict? Killer? Pedophile? No, problem. They are welcome at your house no matter what. I don’t think so. Your locked front door is YOUR border. So hypocritical.

    Done with your company and the lies you are spreading from the mainstream media who make up stories just so naive people like you think they are spreading the truth.

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