It's Time To Decide Where You Stand On The ICE Situation, And 3 Orgs That Can Help
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It's Time To Decide Where You Stand On The ICE Situation, And 3 Orgs That Can Help

Now is the time to decide where you stand.

It's Time To Decide Where You Stand On The ICE Situation, And 3 Orgs That Can Help

Unless you live under a rock, you most likely have heard the public outcry over the zero-tolerance enforcement of immigrants crossing border to the United States. As a result of this zero-tolerance policy, thousands of immigrant families seeking a better life have been torn apart and placed into various immigration detainment centers across the US. This means thousands of children are now separated from their loved ones and being held in these centers in cages and cells.

The United States of America has a long standing history of not only treating minorities poorly, but also separating families as we've seen today with these immigrant families. From tearing African families apart during slavery to keep up slave trade, to sending Native American children to boarding schools to "westernize" the Native people, and who could forget the infamous Japanese Internment Camps during World War II which yanked children from their parents as well. So, bottom line is: this isn't new. America's foreign policy towards immigrants - whether deemed "legal" or not - has always been inhumane and cruel.

The debate over this latest turmoil launched all the way back in March of 2017 when the then Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly confirmed reports of possibly separating families at the border to deter undocumented immigrants from crossing the border into the United States. Fast forward to May 2018 and over 2,300 children have been separated from their parents and loved ones.

Congress has been up in arms and many of the discussions have led to Democrats representing the outcry of the people while Republican leaders continue to work towards more border control. Due to the outcry, Trump then signed an executive order banning the policy, however the already-detained families remain unable to reunite with their family.

This extends beyond political parties. When I was first becoming aware of the situation, I didn't for once think about whether this was a Democrat or Republican side to the debate. I know what party leaders are standing for and while the Republican party remains to blame for the policy in the first place, many conservative leaders such as former First Lady Laura Bush have come out in opposition to the policy.

The separation of families at the border is not an immigration policy, nor a security tactic - it's a violation of human rights as a whole.

As I look back on my years spent studying American history, I remember thinking thoughts such as "I'm glad we're past that horrible time" as I was studying events such as slavery, Japanese internment, and many other dark times in American history. Today, I am absolutely flabbergasted that history is repeating itself so obviously and our leaders up on Capitol Hill can't see the writing on the wall.

As the debate progressed within the past few months, Pro Publica released a graphic recording of the sound of immigrant children being detained and separated from their mothers and fathers. I normally would never recommend people to listen to disturbing tapes or evidence, however this is a different circumstance. This tape needs to be heard by every single person in the United States. At this point in American politics, the public needs to hear evidence such as this to show that this is happening right now. It adds a layer of connection to every listener with these immigrant families, as we hear repeated cries, screaming, and sobs from the children.

The US is ridiculous in the fact that our people can go so long without making noise, however with this presidency and government at the moment, the people have taken up arms to protest what is right and what the US people stand for, and I'm proud to say my generation has spear-headed this. After the infamous shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, my generation took it upon themselves to change gun culture in America. The same has now begun for these poor families.

Whether your political beliefs are Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter. This debate is about human rights. It's about human compassion. It's about empathy. While these people are being held in violation of the law for living undocumented, the law is irrelevant. A law should never be the standard of morality. As I remember competing in debate during high school, I remember how each argument, regardless of which side of the debate you were on, had to contain a criterion. A criterion is essentially how you judge an argument.

But, I can tell you for a fact that any criterion that centers around upholding a law or political ideology almost always fell short. This is because you can't judge the right thing based off of legislation. When we reflect back on history, we see constant examples of governments that upheld laws that not only were immoral, but also were a massive violation of human rights. Take a look at the Japanese Internment, Holocaust, and Native American genocide - all of these were policies instilled by a government who believed that a suffering economic environment or security of the country was the result of minorities within the country. All in all, the policy of separating these families is immoral and wrong - regardless of your stance on immigration.

If you're like me, you can't stand the sight of the pictures released of the Immigration & Custom Enforcement (ICE) detainment centers. The countless people sleeping in cages with nothing but a metallic blankets shatters my heart every time - however, will I stop looking at these?


For the sake of the families being held in detainment, I will not stop looking at these images. These families will not be forgotten - both during and after the detainment period. I firmly believe that in a couple years from now, as our younger generations step forward, the United States of America will look back at this time in history with great shame. I will eagerly tell my future children in later years exactly what happened and what myself and those I love did to stand up to this human rights violation.

Living in Arizona, I'm aware that several of the detention centers are located in the outskirts of the Phoenix area. Personally, it's difficult for me to not be able to help each and every person being held. Many of us who are a part of the younger generation don't have much money to throw at legislation and change in the way that's necessary. I want to help those detained in their day to day life. ICE centers have also been particularly difficult in donating items - due to the nature of how they're treating the detainees.

To the ICE, the families who have crossed the border undocumented to achieve a better life are criminals. Every child is treated as a prisoner, and items that were often brought by the detainees or donated to the camps have not been allowed in. Many times these families seeking refuge in the US flee with very few items, and the items that they do bring along have a large amount of sentimental meaning.

Think about this as we see countless pictures of items seized from these families and children. The piles of rosaries, teddy bears, and blankets that were photographed after being seized from the owners most likely meant a great deal to those it belonged to. These photos also are a grim reflection of the piles of wedding rings collected from Nazi concentration camps back during WWII.

If I could compile a bunch of clothing or items and drive them up to the Phoenix detainment centers, I would in a second. Unfortunately, the fact that they're held as criminals in these camps proves much difficulty in donating items such as clothes, books, or games. For many of us, we also feel as if we don't have the financials to help in the way we wish.

This urges the question: how can we really help?


Text RESIST to 50409

This one is probably the easiest. In an age where many of us are much more comfortable texting, texting RESIST to 50409 connects you to a 'resistbot' who helps you locate your local representatives and compose a letter urging for change. You can personalize it as much or as little as you like, but this method it the easiest by far. You can send as many as you want as well, with no charge or need to get on a computer or call anyone up on the phone. You also are able to directly donate funds.


BABY2BABY is a national organization centered on providing essentials to children in poverty.

While material donations are fairly difficult to come by, BABY2BABY has opened up a Target Registry which includes items that can be bought and provided to the families separated at the border being held in camps. Donations include clothes, baby formula, and diapers - which can help make a child being detained at least a little more comfortable while we continue to urge for change within our political climate. While I recommend this method, I also urge you to donate to related organizations - regardless of amount. The real change will start with the repeal of this policy and to do that, unfortunately, money is the key. No matter the amount, you are still pushing us forward.

3. The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)

Based out of Texas, RAICES helps those detained with every legal aspect you could think of.

RAICES is an organization based in Texas focused on helping those detained and separated from their families. They help with every legal aspect by helping the families to gain legal access and representation. As many of those detained lack the financial ability to hire a lawyer, by donating to RAICES, you single-handedly get families closer and closer to obtaining the legal counsel they need to be reunited. To donate, click here. There are similar organizations as well including the ACLU, Florence Project, and the Texas Civil Rights Project - which all contribute to helping free the families detained. So pick a favorite and get on it.

There are countless organizations dedicated to helping those detained. I suggest looking up your local organizations and if money is an issue, consider volunteering or writing to political leaders. There's so much to be done and I know that I will regret it if I don't stand as a part of this resistance. Now is the time to take a stand. As Maya Angelou said, "a hero is any person really intent on making this earth a better place for all people". YOU can be a hero and stand with these families.

We are at the point in our political climate in which simply not saying anything or staying politically indifferent is only helping those who are pushing to separate more families and shatter lives. This changes now.

You have a voice. Use it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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