[The statement below is quoted in full from National Justice for Our Neighbors.]
Please see this video and story from The Intercept about Austin JFON legal director Virginia Raymond‘s efforts to help a mother seek asylum and reunite with her five-year-old son. Mother and child had been forcibly separated at the border.
This is one of the first known parent and child reunions since the Trump administration rolled out its “zero tolerance” policy in April.
Delia and her son are two of the lucky ones. “As happy as I am for this family,” says Virginia, “I am heartbroken for the others.”
Yesterday, reversing a draconian policy his own administration created, President Trump issued an Executive Order announcing that parents and children apprehended at the border will no longer be separated.
These families will instead be detained together. While it is essential for the well-being of children that they remain with their parents, this order keeps in place the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes individuals for migration-related offenses.
It will also likely violate the Flores Settlement, a 1997 immigration court case which mandates 20-day time limits for detaining children. This means that parents and children will still be unjustly criminalized and imprisoned for seeking asylum. This Executive Order is immoral and undermines real solutions to family separation while continuing to violate the rights of refugees seeking legal asylum.
And so we have moved from one crisis to another.
The 2,000+ children who have been split apart from their parents by the federal government remain separated. We cannot overlook the gross negligence that the government has exhibited throughout this fiasco with no plan for keeping track of the children or for assisting with the reunification process. We have no reason to believe that this executive order is more sound or humane than the original plan.
National Justice for Our Neighbors condemns policies that jail families, together or separately, mandates expedited court proceedings for those seeking asylum, and limits access to legal representation or any hope for justice.
While the details of this new executive order are unclear, we know the legal needs of these detained families will be overwhelming. Our JFON network will continue our mission to safeguard justice for all.
We need your help! Here are some ways to join us and get involved now:
- If you are not a lawyer, Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) and partners created www.standwithimmigrants.org to connect volunteers to opportunities and resources. You can sign yourself up under “the pledge” section and indicate your skills and interests. Under the “volunteer” tab, you will also find a guide to national volunteer opportunities, a page on national volunteer programs and other/local initiatives, basic legal information, and a calendar of training sessions.
- If you are a lawyer, you can join more than 1,000 attorneys who have already signed up to volunteer to do legal work for immigrants separated from their children here.
- If you are in Texas or willing to travel there, you can volunteer with local organizations. Sacred Heart Church of McAllen, Texas, NETA, ProBAR, and the Texas Civil Rights Project are just some of the organizations that need assistance. Please refer to the Families Belong Together Guide on How to Help for more details.
2. Join the June 30th Mass Mobilization:
- Click here to find events near you on June 30th or to register your event.
- Click here for more information on the June 30th mobilization in Washington, DC
You can donate directly to National Justice for Our Neighbors:
- Click “Yes, this is an honor gift.”
- Type “Texas” as the honoree.
We will direct the funds to our sites in Texas that have immediate costs serving affected clients, including staffing, international phone calls, FedEX mailings, travel to detention centers and immigration court, laptops, and much more. Your tax-deductible gift will also support our network’s long-term casework for these parents and children.
National Justice for Our Neighbors