Since May, many in the United States and around the world have watched in shock as the Trump administration has implemented a policy mandating that every person caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border be prosecuted. It has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their families, and has triggered endless outrage on social media. However, hope is not lost, and there are actions you can take, such as
signing petitions against Trump's family separation policy. In fact, there are quite a few going around. Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families while traveling across the U.S.-Mexico border, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported last week. Those separations occurred between April 19 and May 31. The separations stem from announcements made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Within days of each other, both announced they would begin prosecuting every undocumented person caught crossing the border. Because children cannot be kept in jails, they are taken from their families and held at various detention centers.
DHS has zero tolerance for those who break the law and will no longer exempt classes or groups of individuals from prosecution," Press Secretary Tyler Houlton said in a statement in May. "Whether you are a single adult or an adult member of a family unit, if you are apprehended you will be prosecuted and put in removal proceedings."
Sessions announced that if a person was "smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law."
"If you don’t like that," Sessions continued, "then don’t smuggle children over our border."
If you disagree with that reasoning and want to get involved, here are several petitions you can sign.
ACLU's "Separating Families Is Inhumane" Petition
As of Monday evening, the ACLU
has gathered over 135,000 signatures on its petition declaring that separating families is torture. It is addressed to the DHS, and complements a lawsuit the group filed to reunite an immigrant mother with her daughter, who was reportedly taken away from her. Keep Them Together Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images
One petition created on Change.Org, entitled "Keep them together!
Stop separating children from their families at the U.S. border," was started by Children's Rights. Children's Rights is an advocacy organization which, according to its website, "hold[s] governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy."
Its petition is addressed to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Every Petition Counts Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Another Change.org-hosted petition
also seeks to end immigration-related family separation. This is a smaller one, but every ounce of expression counts.
"This gratuitous cruelty has been ordered purportedly to 'deter' asylum seekers," its organizer writes in the description. "But asylum seekers, fleeing for their lives, are not deterred since they have little choice but to seek shelter in the United States."
It is addressed to President Trump.
Tell The Department Of Homeland Security Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Petition writers are sending their statements to many people, but especially to Sec. Nielsen, to whom this MoveOn.org
petition is addressed. It asks Nielsen to "abandon the cruel, costly, and unjustified practice of separating families seeking protection at our borders, including those who are fleeing persecution in their home countries." Tell Them Again Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images Another petition zeroing in on the DHS is hosted on CredoAction.com. It pins the separation of families on Trump, the DHS, and Sessions. This one aims to reach 200,000 signatories, and had just a little under 50,000 left to gather as of Monday evening. Send A Message To Ivanka Trump Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Whenever women have gained political power or engaged in political activism, we have improved and advocated for the rights of children," says
the description of a petition spearheaded by the Women's March. "That cannot stop now."
This petition is directed to the president's daughter Ivanka Trump. As of Monday evening, it's over halfway to its goal of 51,200 total signatures.
Tell The President Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The National Domestic Workers Alliance has circulated
a petition addressed to the president, himself.
"What they are doing to children of immigrant families in our country is a crisis of massive proportions, only comparable to what happens during wars, violent conflicts or horrible dictatorships," the description reads.
It aims to obtain just over 100,000 signatures and appears well on its way.
"Stand With Children And Families" Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"Separating children from their parents at the border is inhumane!"
declares this open letter, hosted by MomsRising.org. It, too, is addressed to Nielsen.
"This is an inhumane, cruel and unnecessary policy that will cause more trauma to already traumatized children and families seeking refuge in the U.S.," it reads.
Though not a petition in the same way as the others, it still functions similarly and asks for your signature.
This Senator's Petition Zach Gibson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley has also started a petition.
Hosted on his website, it intends to tell the Trump administration to stop separating families in the name of border security.
"We are calling on Donald Trump to immediately reverse this inhumane policy and reunite these families," the description reads. "Immediately."
When it comes to effecting political change, it's not only the loudest who are heard — volume matters, too. After all, elected officials' job is to serve the electorate. So, it's important to let them know how you feel about their choices — especially ones that affect individuals' lives in such a huge way.