Watching the news is never easy, but it has gotten particularly sad lately with the coverage of families being forcibly separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Ever since President Donald Trump enacted his zero-tolerance immigration policy in May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the border, the Associated Press reports.
These seized children have been placed in government-run shelters, including "tender age" facilities for toddlers. Images of kids being held in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations are impossible to ignore. Feeling helpless and overwhelmed by this injustice is understandable, but there are ways you can help.
1. Donate money
Figuring out where to donate money can be tricky: You want to make sure it’s going somewhere to directly help people, but finding an organization can be easier said than done. One way around this is to donate through a secure Act Blue page set up to fund organizations like La Union Del Pueblo Entero, Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, and 12 other groups. Your donation will be split evenly among the organizations unless you specify otherwise.
If you don’t have money to donate or would like to do something more hands-on to help, there are several organizations that are actively seeking volunteers to help with the border crisis. One is called CARA, and it’s a basically a pro bono supergroup consisting of four organizations all working together to provide legal assistance to people at the Texas border.
CARA says their most urgent need is for attorneys, law students and paralegals with interest and experience in asylum work — especially ones that speak Spanish. Not a lawyer? They’re also looking for social workers, psychologists, forensic anthropologists and individuals with strong research skills.
Similarly, Kids in Need of Defense is also seeking to partner with major law firms, corporations, law schools and bar associations to recruit and train attorneys to help families at the border. Lawyers don’t need to have prior background in immigration law — KIND will provide training.
There are plenty of other places to donate and volunteer, and Slate and Mashable have put together comprehensive lists, which they are updating regularly, so those are excellent resources.
3. Call your representatives
Whether your local representatives are Republicans or Democrats, it’s a good idea to call them and let them know where you stand on the zero-tolerance policy. If you need to find a specific number, USA.gov has a handy section that shows you where to find it. If you need a script, the "Activism for Non-Activists" newsletter has one for each party.
The midterm elections are less than five months away, so if you’re not registered to vote yet, now is the time. We have a bad habit of ignoring elections not involving a president, but staying home on Nov. 6, 2018, isn’t a luxury any of us can afford. Regulations for registration vary by state, but here’s a guide to help walk you through the process.
These may all seem like relatively small things, but when enough people become outraged over something like the current immigration policies, we can help, and change can happen.
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