The separation of nearly 2,500 children from their parents who are seeking asylum or immigration at our southern border has created a child welfare disaster. Separation of a child from their parent leaves an irreversible mark of trauma on a young life. Reports from the detainment camps detail the mental suffering that these children are undergoing, many of whom are younger than four years old.
While an executive order has been issued to cease separating children from their parents, the reversal may not apply to those children who have already been removed from their parents. At the very least, it will take time to reunite the separated families in detention or those who have already been deported. Additionally, detaining children with their families beyond the 20 days allowed under the current Flores ruling will cause a set of long-term repercussions for the children. The protection of child well-being is a bipartisan concern deserving of compassion.
There are a number of nonprofit organizations working to help these children and their families by providing humanitarian aid and legal services, including the organizations below. We will continue to update this list in the coming days. To make a grant or learn more, contact your philanthropic officer.
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta – offers a range of services to help immigrants understand their rights, including workshops and fact sheets. The organization has recently established a Deportation Defense Fund to cover DACA renewal fees.
- Latin American Association – provides general immigration legal services, “Know Your Rights”, workshops, community forums and citizenship drives; and advocacy to address Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Judicial Reform.
- American Immigration Council – provides research and policy analysis, litigation and communication around immigration issues (based in Washington, DC).
- The Florence Project – provides legal and social services to immigrants detained in Arizona.
- Kids in Need of Defense – represents unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings utilizing a network of pro bono attorneys (presence throughout the United States).
- RAICES – offers free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children and families. Note: RAICES’ website has been down intermittently because of web traffic.
- The Urban Justice Center – the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project has a “legal emergency room” that provides rapid legal services in moments of crisis, included deportation and detention. The organization put together this guide as toolkit for attorneys interested in providing services at the border (based in New York).
- Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights – accompanies immigrant children through court proceedings, advocating for their interests and ensuring their safety. Also has a strong advocacy and education focus (offices in Texas and Arizona).
- Women’s Refugee Commission – provides resources to help women reunite with their children after forced separation at the border. Also educates/advocates about mental health and sexual abuse issues that arise through the immigration process (based in New York).
Photo credit: Qasim Sadiq on Unsplash