How To Protest Trump's Immigration Policy & Help Reunite Families Separated At The Border
The images of children crammed into immigrant holding centers are startling. Thousands of kids, separated from their parents, have been detained near the border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy after patrol agents caught them crossing illegally, the New York Times reported. On Monday, despite the swell of public furor, the president stuck to his guns, insisting falsely that the Democrats were at fault. Many have called the border enforcement protocol inhumane and are determined to protest Trump's immigration policy and reunite families separated at the border.
“They could be murderers and thieves and so much else,” Trump said, referring to the people crossing the southern border, during a speech at the National Space Council on Monday, according to The New York Times. “We want a safe country, and it starts with the borders, and that’s the way it is.”
Nearly 2,000 children have been split up from their parents over the past six weeks, according to The Times. At one point, CNN reported that Homeland Security authorities forced a four-month-old breastfeeding baby away from her immigrant mother in a detention center, though government officials have denied doing so. In response, protests along the U.S.-Mexico border have garnered large crowds, according to PBS. If you'd like to voice your opposition to the family separation policy, here are some ways to take action.
Join A Public Protest
Look in your area on Facebook, Twitter, or even NextDoor.com to see if any local or national organization has any protests planned. One of the most recent protests was on Father's Day, when hundreds marched on the Tornillo, Texas, tent encampments set up to house immigrant children, according to Time. If you're thinking about organizing your own protest, do it right. Plan ahead, develop a strategy to spread the word, and look into the necessary permits. Then, keep the momentum up. Huffington Post has more on the art of protesting.
Donate To Legal Aid Services For Detained Families
It may be a less heated way of protesting, but volunteering could go a longer distance in helping some of the families who are detained. You can volunteer your bilingual language services or legal assistance, if you happen to be an attorney. You can also donate money to various organizations, like the legal aid group Texas Civil Rights Project, the refugee assistance nonprofit arm Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, and the legal assistance nonprofit Refugee and Immigration Center for Education and Legal Services.
Sign A Petition
Write To The Department Of Homeland Security
The Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen has grappled with a torrent of criticism at the White House as public outcry grows over her department's enforcement at the border. When pressed by reporters on Monday on whether separating children from their parents is considered child abuse, Nielsen avoided answering the question.
"Unfortunately, I'm not in any position to deal with hearsay stories," Nielsen said, according to Business Insider. "If someone has a specific allegation, as I always do when I testify, I ask that they provide that information to Department of Homeland Security. Of course we do not want any situation where a child is not completely adequately taken care of."
The operator line for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is: 202-282-8000. The comment line is: 202-282-8495. To look through the various ways to contact the different programs within the DHS, click here.
Hit Up Your Senators
If you don't know who your state's senators are, check out this alphabetical directory of the U.S. Senate to find out who represents you. Ring them up, share your thoughts, and tell them to focus on the family separation policy. The more that senators hear from their constituents, the more they (ideally) act on their constituents' behalf. Midterm elections are coming up, and they'll likely want to keep the people they represent happy.
If Your Senator Is Not Receptive, Reach Out To This One
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is one of the lawmakers leading the charge against the family separation policy. He may not represent you, but his beliefs might. He is already pressing the administration for answers on the type of conditions that detained children face and working with activists to change the policy.
Let It Out On Social Media
Social media tsunamis of furor have been known to change the tide and help address whatever egregious behavior has been caught. Everyone has their own accounts and the right to express whatever opinion they may have; if the voices are loud enough, it can make all the difference. Just make sure to be responsible with your language.
Forcing children away from their parents for weeks at a time can be a devastatingly traumatic experience, according to an Esquire interview with a psychotherapist. It can even lead to "maladaptive behaviors" and public health issues later in life. The stories and images coming out of the detention centers are heartbreaking, and that may be all the more reason to do something about it.