In today’s political climate, it’s pretty easy to feel useless. Terrible things are happening every day, and the government is condoning it.
Case in point: what’s been going on at the United States Border.
If you haven’t heard, in just six weeks nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the United States Border. In the United States, we just celebrated Father’s Day. Simultaneously, the government held thousands of terrorized kids captive, wondering if they’d ever see their own parents again.
If you’re like me, your first instinct might be that this has to be a hysterical news story that got blown way out of proportion. The United States Government, even with all of its flaws, couldn’t be that cruel. Right?
The government is tearing families apart
Source after source: left, right, and center, are all corroborating what’s been going on at our borders. Each putting their own spin on it, of course.
Your next thought might be why is this happening?
45 has admitted to using these kids as a bargaining tool to push his political agenda. The right is also refusing to cooperate with the legislature that would make tearing these children away from their families illegal unless the left agrees to Republican’s proposed immigration legislation such as building a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
(Which, by the way, is an ineffective solution to tackling illegal immigration and drug smuggling. Here’s a great read from the Cato Institute on just a few of the (many) downsides of building a border wall.)
This is a human rights crisis
Back to the issue at hand, tearing children from the arms of their parents (or in some cases, their mother’s breasts) isn’t a political issue, it’s not a Republican vs Democrat issue, it’s a human rights issue. The practice is immoral, unethical, and to be quite frank: evil.
The United States Government is victimizing children for their parent’s perceived crimes and inflicting long-term damage to the children’s psyche.
Be compassionate towards these people seeking a better life
Remember, these people aren’t fleeing to the United States for giggles. They’re protecting their children from horrors going on in their backyard.
For example, USA for UNHCR reports, “Gang warfare and violence have transformed parts of Central America into some of the most dangerous places on earth. In recent years, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala have experienced a dramatic escalation in organized crime by gangs.”
UNHCR urges the United States to prioritize family unity and the best interests of children as it implements new border management policies along the US-Mexico border for Central American families fleeing extraordinary violence.https://t.co/ACMwxha0cY
— USA for UNHCR (@UNRefugeeAgency) June 18, 2018
People are fleeing for their lives
When it’s life or death, there’s no time to wait to immigrate “the right way.” This is especially true when you’ve got children counting on you to protect them. These people are only doing what any good parent would do.
And remember, these are kids.
Scared, confused, and traumatized children who will likely need years to recover from the abuse of the United States government.
How can we help?
And for me, living 13,000 miles away from all of this, I definitely had feelings of helplessness and wondering how can I help these people?
Understand the issue and the solutions
Again, this is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. You don’t have to support open borders to be against this inhumane practice. You can still want stronger immigration laws while simultaneously condemning what the government is allowing to happen to these children.
As a nation, we’re desensitized to what’s going on around us because so much is going on around us. Remember: These are children. They are experiencing true terror. They need our help.
Luckily, there are bills on the table that can put an end to this terror.
- HELP Separated Children Act: This bill would allow parents to make calls to arrange care for their children after being arrested and participate in court proceedings regarding their children. It also protects children from having to be translators for their parents. This act would require ICE to consider the best interest of the children when making decisions about their parents.
- Keeping Families Together Act: This would make it illegal for agents or officers to remove children from their parents within 100 miles of the border unless:
- It’s in the best interest of the child in accordance with the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997
- An official with expertise in child trauma and development determines removal is in the best interests of the child. This applies if the child is in danger of abuse or neglect at the hands of the guardian
- The child is a victim of trafficking
- There is a strong likelihood that the adults with the child are not their guardians.
- Further, the agents must document why the family was separated. Click here to see where your representative stands on the bill.
- The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act of 2018: This would require unaccompanied children be represented by government-appointed counsel during proceedings and appeals. The act would also encourage recruitment of pro bono attorneys.
Contact your elected officials
The job of your elected officials is to represent their constituents. They can best do that when their constituents are communicating with them directly.
Read the bills and also check to see where your representatives and senators stand on them. If your representatives support these bills, call them and thank them for standing against evil practices.
If your representative doesn’t support the bill, you should also call them and urge them to reconsider.
For example, I’d say:
“My name is Morgan and I’m a constituent from Moline, Illinois. I want you to help children at the border by supporting the HELP Separated Children Act. By standing against these efforts, you’re directly supporting the abuse and traumatization of thousands of children.”
Not into phone calls?
You can also text RESIST to 50409. The Resistbot will walk you through contacting your local officials in less than two minutes.
If you have anything to spare, your donation can go a long way in making a difference.
By donating through ActBlue, your contribution will be divided among 12 charities all helping children at the border. You can go through the list of charities and decide to donate to the one that best resonates with you.
The American Civil Liberties Union is: “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
They are already covered by donating via ActBlue, but I thought they were still worth mentioning because even if you have nothing to donate you can still sign their petition to get Homeland Security to stop separating families at the border.
Remember: No single person can do everything, but by doing what you can, you’re making a difference.