Find & Document Separated Children
I am a law professor and international children's rights scholar and advocate who has been volunteering with the team of attorneys interviewing children and the families at the border under the Flores agreement. The team is being led by Peter Schey of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law. In light of the recent crisis, the Flores team needs many more attorneys, interpreters, child therapists, and other professionals to volunteer to meet with children who have been separated from their families in all of the locations where they are being held. I have heard from a number of people who are willing to volunteer to interview these children, but do not have the funds. I have also been hearing from people who cannot go, but would like to help pay for others to do so. Thus, I am setting up this campaign in my individual capacity to match sponsors and volunteers so that we have enough money for every separated child to be interviewed and documented so we know who they are, where they are, who their parents are, and can prepare declarations that can be submitted to the court in Flores. One hundred percent of these funds (after GoFundMe and credit card fees) will go to funding direct modest travel costs for volunteers. If any funds remain once this crisis ends, they will be donated to the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, which is the organization responsible for ensuring the enforcement of the settlement terms under Flores. If you have any questions or would like more information or would like to be matched with a specific volunteer or volunteers, please feel free to contact me directly. Otherwise, thank you for trying to help these children in whatever way you are able.+ Read More
Thanks to the generosity of everyone who donated to this campaign, as well as the many volunteers who are paying their own way, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law will be sending out as many as 400 volunteers next week to ten different locations around the country to conduct site visits and interview the separated and unaccompanied children who are still being kept in government custody. None of the funds donated have been released to date. However, we have received our first reimbursement requests from some of the volunteers at Casa Padre. Thus, I will now be personally withdrawing the funds and have asked Patrice Yao (a project manager from Deloitte who volunteered in her individual capacity to assist with the Casa Padre visit) to monitor the distributions so that there is a second set of eyes on all reimbursements. (I have also offered the CHCRL an accounting of all volunteer reimbursements made so there is transparency and accountability to a third set of eyes.) Once the first round of reimbursements is complete, I plan to transfer the remaining funds directly to the CHRCL under a memorandum of understanding that they (1) are free to use the funds that donors have expressly emailed me to authorize for immediate use at the discretion of CHRCL, and (2) will manage all remaining funds in accordance with the original campaign statement (reimbursement of volunteer travel until the immediate crisis ends, at which point the CHCRL will be free to use any remaining donations for other purposes). If you would like to release your donation immediately for the CHCRL to help separated families with other expenses, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do so. Thank you again for your generosity!
Thank you to everyone who has donated so generously to this campaign. We just finished our first round of interviews with separated children and are reimbursing volunteers who did not have another source of funding to make the trip to meet with the children. As you know the stated purpose of this campaign is to fund reasonable volunteer travel expenses to help find, document, and reunite the separated children with their families. Peter Schey who is the president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and lead class counsel has expressed a need for funds unrelated to volunteers, such as travel costs for reunified families, bail for detained parents, staffing of an 800 number, and more. Please email me at email@example.com with your name and donation amount if you authorize the immediate transfer of your donation to this campaign directly to the Center for reunification expenses unrelated to volunteer travel. If so, I will try to initiate all such transfers within seven days. Otherwise, the funds will be expended consistent with the initial campaign statement. I also encourage donors to consider donating directly to the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law so that they can continue to zealously defend these children’s rights under Flores.
We have about six teams on the border this week from California to Texas. We have had 3,300 individuals and over one hundred organizations sign up to join this effort to reunite these children with their parents and treat the children and their families with compassion and dignity. Doctors, attorneys, interpreters, pastors, school teachers, flight attendants, law enforcement, veterans, firefighters, moms, dads, grandparents, retirees, executives, IT experts, former judges, and so many more are stepping up to help protect these children. It is amazing to watch all of these messages (5,000+), volunteer forms (3,300+), and donations come in. We are $425 shy of reaching $50,000 in funding for volunteer travel to meet with detained children and families to document their existence, identities, and experiences in order to ensure that families are reunited, kept together, and treated humanely under the terms of Flores. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to volunteer, donate, and/or advocate in your groups or publicly on behalf of these children--they need all of us to step up and work to protect them or support others in doing so. Peter Schey and the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law (who are organizing these site visits) are filing the brief today to oppose the government's ex parte motion to modify the Flores agreement to allow the government to detain these children and their families in camps indefinitely. We cannot let that happen. Yesterday, we had a favorable decision in the ACLU lawsuit that ordered the government to reunify the children within 30 days (14 days for younger children). We also had the government publicly state that if they give custody of these children to someone else, they cannot get those children back and return them to their parents. That is neither true nor morally right. The government is also telling parents that the only way they can get their children back is if they surrender their legal claims for asylum and agree to immediate deportation. (Everyone on the planet has a right to claim asylum and have that claim heard. Moreover, the U.S. government website specifically instructs families to present themselves as a family together when asking for asylum.) They are essentially holding children hostage and subjecting children to traumatic experiences (which could harm their emotional and neurological development) to advance a political agenda. We cannot let them define us and our country as a society that knowingly and intentionally hurts children. Thank you to all of you who are showing we are full of compassion and love and will use our time, energy, expertise, connections, money, and other resources to surround and protect these children and their families. We are better than this, and must show the children that we are doing everything we can to get them back to their families and treat them with compassion and humanity!