This moment in time is a defining point for the United States. We have seen children in cages, tent cities, babies being torn away from the arms of their mothers, and other scenes eerily comparable to the U.S. internment camps of Japanese citizens and other despicable moments in this country's history. 

It is easy to feel as though you have no ability to make a difference. You may feel like there are too many photos and news stories swirling around to even start to tackle these issues. Especially in trying times like these, nothing is more important than staying informed and involved. We have compiled a factual, truthful recollection of the immigration crisis as well as resources to help end family separation and what the United Nations has declared a violation of human rights. 

The Trump Administration has collectively agreed to a zero-tolerance immigration policy. ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has agreed to enforce this policy by immediately detaining immigrants without documentation at the southern U.S./Mexico border, and by separating children from their parents. 

The majority of the migrants being detained by ICE are individuals pleading asylum. They are not hiding from law enforcement or trying to "sneak" across the border "illegally." These individuals, usually coming from violence and poverty-stricken areas in nations such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico, search for Border Patrol in order to begin pleading their case for asylum. They are met with immediate hostility and the prospect of their children being taken away to also be detained. This is disturbing and important to understand because it is not illegal to come to the USA and seek asylum. 

When refugees apply for asylum, they are not breaking the law— THEY ARE FOLLOWING OUR LAWS.
— Van Jones, notable journalist, cnn

I recently attended a dinner benefitting the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, and I heard a story that shook me to my core. Due to the influx of children being detained at the U.S./Mexico border, there have been an increase in producing sites that can act as holding centers for children. At one of these centers in Arizona, children were chained to their beds. When an ICE official was asked why, they responded, "well, they are criminals after all." 

These individuals have done nothing illegal, yet their children are being housed in "tent cities" resembling ones in Arizona state prisons. Last night (June 19th), it was announced that more "tender age camps" are going to be constructed to account for the huge groups of children at the border. Over a thousand children have been separated from over three thousand parents since April. 

Last night, I watched TV broadcaster Rachel Maddow break down in tears on live television as she attempted to report on the breaking news of toddlers being separated from their parents at the U.S. border. It was a visceral representation of how we all feel, how we should feel. 

children sleeping in cages in Southern Texas

children sleeping in cages in Southern Texas

this is where children are asked to sleep at the U.S./Mexico border

this is where children are asked to sleep at the U.S./Mexico border

a child is approached by ICE

a child is approached by ICE

the area where children are held after being separated from their families at the border

the area where children are held after being separated from their families at the border

I thought the best way to summarize this article would be to include the poem that has stood on the Statue of Liberty since its inception:

Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me

I lift my lamp beside the "golden door!"


Within the last few hours, an executive order was signed to keep families together at the border. We must continue to stand together and use our voices because clearly it is making an impact. We cannot back down because there are still 2,500 children that need to be reunited with there families, and most of them are unable to communicate (especially in English). In order to continue the fight, please consider donating to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES).

visit the website EndFamilySeparation.US

sign the following petitions:

pick up your phone, dial (202)-224-3121, state your zip code, and simply say "I live in __________ and I support SB3036." REPEAT AS NEEDED. SB3036: "Keep Families Together Act"

use #FamiliesBelongTogether on social media and visit

Emily Blake