Tens of thousands of children, many traveling alone and facing grave dangers on their journeys, are coming from Central America to flee extreme violence and seek safety in our country. By now, you have seen the images of children crammed in detention centers, heard the children’s stories from along the border, seen the anti-immigrant protesters in Murrieta yelling at families to “go back home”, and heard our political leaders say we should send them back.
This should not be the response of our country in the wake of a humanitarian crisis. We should instead embody the values of care and compassion to the most vulnerable – both in our individual actions and our national policies.
Here are a few things YOU can do right now to help those in need:
1. SUPPORT LOCAL DONATION EFFORTS
Our friends at Working Partnerships USA are collecting essential items to send to those held at border detention facilities and organizing housing and transportation options for those in need.
Donate the following items:
- Women’s underwear of all sizes (new only)
- Women’s socks of all sizes (new only)
- Feminine hygiene products
***They will be collecting items on Friday, July 11th, Monday, July 14th and Tuesday July 15th. You can drop items off at the Working Partnerships office, 2102 Almaden Road, Suite 112, San Jose, CA 95125. They will be sending all collected items to San Diego on Wednesday morning.
Call your family and friends in San Diego! Families are being taken to San Diego and then being reunited with family members. Working Partnerships USA is working with allied organizations, in San Diego to coordinate this support.
- Ask your friends/family if they would be willing to host an immigrant family for 3-10 days while they get reunited with their own families. If they have a room with access to a bathroom, a guest house, granny flat, or basement apartment and are willing to host a family please email Maria Noel Fernandez (firstname.lastname@example.org) with their contact information.
- Ask your friends/family if they could help transport families to the bus station on their way to reunite with their own families. If so, send Maria Noel their name, phone number, and email address. Spanish speakers are especially needed but non-Spanish speakers are appreciated as well.
2. ASK POLICYMAKERS TO STRENGTHEN PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN
The White House and Congressional leaders are taking steps to speed up the deportation of these children. Lawmakers are heading towards diminishing protections – such as the right to have their cases heard in court – in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) for unaccompanied minors from these countries. President Obama has also failed to ask Congress for enough funding to provide attorneys for these children, staff Immigration Courts to fully hear claims for relief, or fund the State Department to address root causes of violence. Instead, he has called for more border enforcement and the return of family detention.
Call Senator Dianne Feinstein at 202-224-3841 and Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965 today. Let them know that they should not support any policy changes that gut protections to children provided in the TVPRA, increase border enforcement, or revive family detention. Instead, they should make sure TVPRA protections apply to all unaccompanied minors and call for greater resources for lawyers, judges, and alternatives to detention.
3. DONATE TO ORGANIZATIONS ON THE BORDER
Ally organizations on the border are collecting monetary donations to assist the families as they integrate into our communities. Please consider donating what you can:
- Justice for Immigrants Coalition of the Inland Southern California
- San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium (please write “Support Refugees” in the dedication box)