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How to help migrant children: 4 things you can do for the border crisis right now

How to help migrant children: 4 things you can do for the border crisis right now
Migrants are gathered inside the fence of a makeshift detention center in El Paso, Texas on Wed. March 27, 2019. Border Patrol in El Paso is saying that they are overwhelmed with unprecedented number of migrants at over 12,000 currently in custody. Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is calling the situation at the El Paso border a “crisis” and asking for Congressional assistance. [Photo: Sergio Flores for The Washington Post via Getty Images]

The United States is currently in a humanitarian crisis, whether politicians admit it or not. The Trump administration, for over a year, has been separating migrant children from their parents as part of its hard-line anti-immigration policy.

Beyond the cruelty of tearing families apart, news has surfaced multiple times about the terrible conditions these children are forced to live in. Recently, an attorney for the Justice Department argued that it wasn’t necessary for the government to give children in these camps basic necessities like soap. Multiple children have died in these facilities over the last year.

Outrage over this horrifying situation has been increasing as more details come to light, but many still feel powerless. It’s important to speak up and make sure people are aware of the situation, but there are other actions U.S. citizens can take to combat the rise of these detention centers.

Here are some of the ways to participate:

  • The most tangible thing a person can do right now is donate to organizations on the ground that are working with the migrants at these camps. A few organizations working at the national level include the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), RAICES, the Immigrant Justice Corps, and Immigrant Families Together. These groups are either mobilizing legal services or offering other types of aid to these families in crisis.
  • If you have extra frequent flyer miles to share, you can donate them here to Lawyers for Good Government, which will use them to aid transport for people seeking asylum or the attorneys offering pro bono services.
  • While donations are certainly helpful, this crisis will require political ammunition, too. You can call your members of Congress to let them know you are both outraged and watching how they respond to this crisis. If you’re looking for help drafting your message, RAICES has provided a template for a letter people can send to their representatives or senators. It’s also important to seek out your local lawmakers too and make sure they are working to stop immigration raids in your location.
  • It’s also important to read up on the new tactics being used in the name of immigration enforcement. ICE raids have increased markedly over the last few years—which is why it’s important that you record and report any contact with immigration officials, as well as know your rights during these encounters.

What’s most important is that people continue speaking up about what’s going on. Apathy and ambivalence will only lead to worse conditions and more deaths. The Trump administration is relying on false narratives to rationalize its inhumane treatment of migrants, immigrants, and asylum seekers. The more people combat this with facts and outrage, the sooner the policy will stop.

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