Hearing sounds of children crying as they are ripped from their parents or seeing young ones behind bars is heartbreaking. Many people have been reaching out to the ACLU to ask what they can do to help. There are many ways to support families in need, while also working to effect change on a political level. The ACLU has come up with a list of ways you can be involved. This crisis cannot be solved by the ACLU alone so this list includes supporting the work and needs of other organizations who are also in this important fight.
If you live in Minnesota:
- Attend one of the local demonstrations that are happening as a part of the June 30th nationwide Families Belong Together Day of Action. The ACLU has joined with Move On and a whole host of other partners to coordinate these demonstrations. There are multiple locations in Minnesota including Albert Lea, Grand Rapids, Minneapolis & Rochester.
- The ACLU-MN is hosting a poster making and letter writing event at its office the night before the demonstration on Friday June 29 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. If you live in the Twin Cities stop by our office for snacks, to write a letter, and make your poster for the rally on the 30th. RSVP here.
If you are willing to travel to Texas:
- Join the "Families Belong Together Rally" on June 28th in Brownsville, Texas. South Texas is ground zero for this administration's inhumane 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. People currently showing at ports of entry seeking asylum are being denied that right. When they arrive, officers tell 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.
If you are an attorney or paralegal and willing to travel to Texas:
- Be a Volunteer Attorney with ProBar. 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).
- Help Texas Civil Rights Project take declarations from families. Every day, 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.
Other ways to help
- 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 @RAICESTEXAS
- Donate your dollars - this website allows you to quickly donate to a number of different organizations on the front lines of this crisis.