The World of Child Immigration and What We Can Do to Help

A Brief Introduction

About 10 weeks ago the Trump administration implemented a new immigration policy. All immigrants crossing the border illegally, even if they were seeking political asylum would now be prosecuted as criminals and their children would be taken from them.  There were even a number of immigrant asylum seekers who followed US law and presented themselves properly at legal border crossings and still found themselves being treated as criminals and subjected to the same new immigration policy which separated them from their children. Roughly 3,000 children have since been separated from their families.

After a massive public outcry, Trump signed an executive order that stopped the separation. However, it did nothing to reunite the families already split and ensures the continued detention and prosecution of all people attempting to cross the border, children included.

A judge has ordered that all of the children be reunited with their families by the end of July, a deadline which the White House has already requested be extended. As the struggle continues to try and undo some of the horrors of the last few months, information and calls to action continue to flow through communities.

The Facts:

What We Can Do

Illustration by Justin Teodoro

It is natural in times like these to be so horrified by a series of events that we become paralyzed.  The weight of the world can be so great that it feels like our souls are being crushed. It is at times like these that we must choose not to hide or be overcome by despair. Every one of us can make a difference.

For the children and their families:

  • Volunteer agencies* are seeking social workers, lawyers, and individuals with language skills to act as translators to help reunify these families and represent them in court.
  • Become a Child Advocate
  • Foster an immigrant child while they wait to be reunited with their families and work through immigration procedures
  • Donate to any of the numerous organizations that have mobilized to support Asylum Seekers and Immigrants

For our future:

  • Educate ourselves- evils like this happen because of ignorance, it is up to us to educate ourselves about our history and our country’s policies so that we know what kind of future we are trying to create
  • Talk to each other- we can feel so alone at times like these, but acting as a community will give us the support we need and make us more effective
  • Be brave

For ourselves:

  • Breathe- take a minute to breathe and touch base with yourself mentally and physically. There is a lot going on and we need rest. Even if it’s just a moment’s.
  • Take breaks– from the news, from social media, from conversations about politics and the state of society. If we don’t take breaks we can become overwhelmed and may struggle with depression or anxiety.
  • Be willing to grow- this goes with “educate ourselves.” As we learn new things our past assumptions about the world are challenged. It can be frightening, we may feel threatened, both are perfectly natural responses. Try to accept the new information anyway.
  • Talk to people about what you feel

The United States can be better than this, but we have to choose to be.

*Individuals are not allowed to volunteer at the detention facilities themselves, so it is best to find an agency to help.

About the Author

Clara is a lifelong writer who recently became stepmom to an energetic seven-year-old boy. She has a BA in journalism from the University of Alabama and has written on a variety of subjects including social issues, politics, and music. A yoga practitioner and foodie with a deep passion for health and wellness, she seeks to use her education and experience to help individuals create better lives for themselves and their children. Clara is currently living in Atlanta with her husband and her 80lb ridgeback mix. Clara is a member of the PedSafe Team

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