Like most of you, we’ve been sick over what’s happening to children at the southern border. It’s easy to feel simultaneously desperate to do something and completely helpless. This post includes a lot of ideas of tangible actions you can take today.

  • Slate has compiled a list of organizations you can show your financial support for that are providing legal assistance, social work and translation, humanitarian aid, and more.
  • Are you an attorney or part of a law firm? Or are you interested in getting some form of training to volunteer to help out? One organization with offices around the country is getting people involved at a variety of levels: Kids in Need of Defense.
  • Do you live in a border state or are you willing to travel to a border state to be a volunteer? Texas Tribune created a list of organizations seeking on-the-ground help.
  • Here are scripts for calling elected officials. Context for two: the 49 members of the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus have signed on in support of Senator Feinstein’s Keep Families Together Act. And Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado signed an executive action yesterday stating no state funds will go towards separating kids from families.
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  • Take to the streets: Families Belong Together lists protests happening across the country. There is a big one coming up on June 30 in DC and in cities throughout.

Finally (for this moment), while there has been some truly impactful journalism coming out over the past month, the media is parroting the Administration’s lies about what they’re doing. Putting aside the philosophical issues around borders and the concept of humans being “illegal,” the people coming across the border are often seeking asylum. To be very clear: it is legal for any non-citizen, for any reason, to request asylum at the border. It is then up to the courts to decide whether or not to grant asylum. This is not CBP or ICE’s job.

When the Administration says they’re separating kids from the adults crossing illegally, that’s B.S. They are essentially saying that seeking asylum is illegal, but the reality is that denying people the ability to seek asylum is a violation of international law. Even denying entry to people seeking asylum is a violation, but we’re going further by both denying the request AND treating the refugees as criminals.

And let’s say that people crossing are breaking the law and not seeking asylum – that’s a misdemeanor under federal law. There’s been a lot of crap right wing/racist memes illustrating people crying about breaking the law for say, a DUI, because it separates them from their kids. The actual comparison would be a U.S. citizen is charged with a DUI and not only are they put in jail, but their innocent kids are also violently taken from their homes and to a detention center indefinitely.

The Administration is also saying that it’s following existing laws. That is not true. There is no law mandating the separation of families. All of this stems from Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing a policy in May 2018.

All this to say: when you see the media talking about this as a response to “illegal immigrants/immigration” etc., call them out. Tweet back at them, write letters to the editor, call the publishers. Journalism is a check on our government, and we cannot allow for them to parrot without stating what the truth actually indicates is happening.

Onwards.

picture above from Customs and Border Patrol via Reuters