Turn on the news or scroll through social media and you will be hard pressed to miss the headlines: Toddlers Separated From Parents at the Border Are Being Detained in 'Tender Age' Shelters, New statistics: the government is separating 65 children a day from parents at the border.
And, really, why would you want to miss it? The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy has led to approximately 2,000 undocumented immigrant children being in government custody, many of them torn screaming from their parents arms. Outraged and curious about what to say when you call your senator about zero tolerance policy? Great. Here are the details.
The ACLU has put together a script so you can hit all of the key points. All you have to do is enter your phone number (including area code) and the website will route your call to your local senators. Once connected, introduce yourself to the congressional staffer who answers the phone and say:
Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and my zip code is [YOUR ZIP]. I’m urging the Senator to denounce Trump’s family separation policy and use all of Congress' authority to stop it.
The ACLU noted on their site, "We know the government will bend to public pressure because they have already reunited one asylum seeker with her child after more than 65,000 activists like you signed the petition. Now we need to make sure our members of Congress take action to end this cruel practice once and for all. Let’s reunite every family the Trump administration tore apart — and make sure this never happens again."
“The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the U.N. human-rights office, told The Guardian.
You might also want to check out the work that major organizations across the country are doing in order to help you discover ways to donate, volunteer your time, and advocate for change. Many organizations in border states are also seeking volunteers who can help with "organizing legal intake and interviewing families, especially if those volunteers are Spanish-speaking and have legal experience," according to The Cut.
Here are a few organizations you might want to check out:
- The ACLU, which is currently litigating this policy in California, according to Slate.com.
- The Texas Civil Rights Project is seeking “volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistant experience.”
- Together Rising, a Virginia-based organization that is collecting donations to help provide legal assistance for 60 migrant children who were separated from their parents and are currently detained in Arizona.
- The National Immigrant Justice Center "represents and advocates for detained adults and children facing removal, supports efforts at the border, and represents parents in the interior who have been separated from their families as a result of aggressive enforcement," according to Slate.com.
- The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) is the largest immigration nonprofit in Texas that provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrants, according to The Cut.
- The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, which uses its donations to advocate for many of the separated and unaccompanied children, according to The Cut.
- The Women's Refugee Commission advocates for the rights and protection of women, children, and youth fleeing violence and persecution.
While you're on the phone, you might also want to think about contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by calling them at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE, according to Fast Company. You can also write to them and register complaints with the Department of Homeland Security.
If you want to opt for texting, then use ResistBot to text your members of Congress. Text RESIST to 50409 and it will help you contact your elected officials.
Oh, and also? Just do it all. Call, text, donate and volunteer if you can, and share information on your social mediums. Be the voice that gets something done.