7 Ways You Can Help Migrant Children No Matter Where You Live

by Caroline Burke
Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

For months now, reports about migrant detention centers at the border have sparked nationwide outrage — and questions. Just recently on July 5, Trump told reporters that detention facilities are "beautifully run," but claims that minors are being held in "inhumane" conditions paint another picture. And if you don't live near the border and want to help migrant children from online, there are a number of routes you can take.

Earlier in July, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security released a report criticizing "dangerous overcrowding" in detention centers and the "prolonged detention of children." According to the report, some of the facilities inspected weren't giving children clean clothes, access to showers, or even consistent hot meals. Even so, per USA Today on July 5, Trump told reporters, “I think they do a great job with those facilities." What's more, Vice President Mike Pence recently visited an all-male detention facility in Texas, where a Border Patrol supervisor confirmed to him that the men in custody hadn't showered in over 10 days, USA Today reported. According to the news network, Pence later said of the visit, "Every family that I spoke with told me they were being well cared for."

It might feel overwhelming to consider the living conditions of migrant children when you live so far away from the facilities themselves. But there are a number of ways you can provide aid to those children without leaving your house. Here are seven ways you can help migrant children online:

Support The Equal Justice For Immigrants Act Of 2019

One of the first things you can do is to support an upcoming bill, known as the Equal Justice for Immigrants Act of 2019. In addition to offering legal counsel to the elderly and to children, it also aims to protect those asylum-seekers who identify as pregnant, nursing, or LGBTQ, as well as those with religious considerations.

You can contact your legislators and tell them you want to see support for the bill. You can also tweet information about the act, and explain to your own followers why it's important to support the bill.

Donate To Organizations That Help Migrant Families

One of the easiest and fastest ways to help migrant children is to donate to organizations that provide direct humanitarian aid to migrant families and children. For example, Pueblo Sin Fronteras is an organization with shelters along the Sonoran Desert that provides humanitarian assistance to migrants. Similarly, Border Angels provides water, free legal help, and emergency services to migrants.

Donate To Legal Organizations Fighting For Migrants' Rights

If you're up for donating, another option is to donate to the organizations that are fighting for migrant children in the courtroom. There are a number of worthy organizations to consider donating to: the ACLU, RAICES, the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Immigration Justice Campaign, and the New Sanctuary Coalition are a few examples.

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights has compiled a list of border advocacy groups that could use your donations, as well. And if you donate to ActBlue, a charitable organization, your donation will be split between 12 different groups, all of whom are working for the betterment of migrant children.

Contact Your Lawmakers

You should never lose sight of the fact that you are a constituent of your elected lawmakers, and your voice deserves to be heard. You can consider calling or tweeting at your representatives in Congress to let them know that you want to see improved treatment of, and legal support for, migrant children.

You can find out how to contact your lawmakers here. You can also read sample scripts by 5 Calls (a nonprofit that helps citizens frame conversations with their representatives) for what to say about the current crisis at the border.

Share The Facts On Social Media

Given how much false information exists online, one of the best things you can do is share facts about the border crisis, as well as the treatment of migrant children. Bonus points if you provide sources for all of your information, so that your social media followers can verify that information for themselves.

To get you started, there's a wealth of critical and factual information you can find from the International Rescue Committee (a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development organization), PBS, and BBC.

Sign Petitions To Protect Migrant Children

There are a number of petitions circulating around online, with the explicit aim of providing support for migrant children and families. For example, you can sign the petition to tell Congress to stand up for immigrant children and families by Credo Action, a social change network.

You can also check out this list of other petitions to help migrant children at the border.

Make Sure You're Registered To Vote

This might sound like a no-brainer. But there's nothing worse than thinking you're registered to vote, only to find out at the polls that you're ineligible. And since one thing you can do for migrant children in the long run is to elect officials who promise to give them the fair treatment and representation they deserve, you should check your voter eligibility online, far before election day comes along. You can check your voter registration here.

As the 2020 presidential election ramps up, you can also keep an eye on what candidates are saying about the crisis at the border, as well as what type of legal and physical protections they would offer to asylum-seekers, if elected president. In the meantime, you can continue to donate to relevant organizations as frequently as you feel comfortable doing so, and continue to spread information about migrant childrens' living conditions and rights.