What is happening at our border is not a partisan issue - it is a clear human rights issue. Although an Executive Order stops the separation of families, there is nothing that notes if and how the thousands of children who have already been separated will be reunited with their parents. Further, the prosecutions are not going to stop and families will continue to be detained, so this work is more important than ever.
If you're as horrified and outraged as I am and want to do something about it, please join me in supporting the Southern California Immigration Project
, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in San Diego. Founded by an incredible immigration attorney, Elizabeth Lopez, SCIP is dedicated to delivering services to survivors of human rights violations by providing pro bono and low bono legal services to immigrants.
My family recently got to know Elizabeth and witnessed her impact first-hand while advocating for an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Fearing for their lives, this woman (she is referred to as Ms. L in court documents) and her six year old daughter fled violence in the DRC and arrived in Brazil last May. They spent 6 months walking (yes, walking!) from Brazil to the U.S.-Mexico border. Following the rules of seeking asylum, Ms. L and her daughter crossed the border at the San Diego port of entry on November 1, 2017.
When officers separated them, the woman “could hear her daughter in the next room frantically screaming that she wanted to remain with her mother,” according to the lawsuit
. “No one explained to Ms. L. why they were taking her daughter away from her or where her daughter was going or even when she would next see her daughter.”
Her daughter was sent to a group home in Chicago and spent her seventh birthday, frightened and confused, among strangers.
After spending four months in the Otay Mesa Detention Center (without access to a lawyer for the first three months), Ms. L was released and stayed with my parents until the ACLU could arrange for them to be reunited in Chicago ten days later. During her time with my parents, Ms. L recounted horror stories of a frightening and dangerous journey through Central America, being shackled in the detention center, and only being able to speak with her daughter over the phone for a mere 20 minutes total each week.
You can read more about the case here: The New York Times Chicago Tribune ACLU vs. ICE Notice of Motion for Class Certification
There is so much work that needs to be done, both ethically and legally, for thousands of immigrants. On the legal front, lawyers like Elizabeth (who, by the way, was named the KPBS Community Hero
last year) are working tirelessly to create a fair and humane immigration process, one that respects human dignity and does not traumatize children by ripping them away from their parents. That trauma is irreparable. Please consider this important cause. Your contribution will go directly to supporting the attorneys' time for their pro bono work and associated legal fees that their clients are unable to afford.