June 15, 2018
By Mary Ann Buckley, SHCJ, and Margaret Doyle, SHCJ
Yesterday, June 14th – Flag Day, there were rallies in over 50 cities to demand humane conduct by ICE, DHS, and DOJ, including a halt to family separation as an anti-immigration tool. Peg Doyle, SHCJ, and Mary Ann Buckley, SHCJ, joined the rally in front of the ICE building on N. 8th St. in Philadelphia. There were about 300 people of all ages filling the sidewalks on both sides of the busy street for two hours. Passing cars honked their horns in support. There were no prepared speeches, but anyone who wanted to could speak briefly at the mic or lead a song or chant. The speeches flowed without a gap and, collectively, they expressed shame, heartbreak, moral outrage, and the determination to keep on working together to turn outrage and heartbreak into action.
As we all discern how to respond to the deplorable situation at our national border, we may find these facts, recent articles, and suggested action steps very helpful.
HERE ARE SOME FACTS:
- Most of those who come to our border are fleeing violence and poverty, looking for a safe place for their families.
- Since October, over 1,300 children have been from their parents at the border.
- There are currently over 11,000 children in U.S. custody.
- The Administration says children need to be separated from their parents when they are prosecuted, but this is not required by law.
- People who seek asylum are not breaking any U.S. law and are protected by international laws.
- The American Academy of Pediatricians has urged that this is a child health issue. When children are separated from their parents, it can cause irreparable harm to their future health.
- 540 organizations representing experts in child welfare, juvenile justice and child development have sent three appeals to DHS Secretary Nielsen, since January 2018.
HERE ARE SOME LINKS TO HELPFUL RECENT ARTICLES
“Bishops and Southern Baptists agree: Trump’s immigration policies are unjust.” AMERICA, June 13, 2018.
“With family separation at the border, asking questions is a moral obligation,”by M.T. Dávila. NCR REPORTER, June 13, 2018.
HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTED ACTION STEPS:
Action 1: Sign Petitions
Why do petitions matter? Petitions present the emotions and demands of large groups to politicians succinctly and effectively. With petitions, people come together to raise one collective voice, and that voice is amplified with each signature. These petitions also let the online community – including asylum seekers, immigrants, refugees, and other people living in fear of family separation by ICE – know that there are thousands of people who disagree with ICE policies. Here are some petitions where you can add your voice:
Action 2: Contact Your Elected Officials
Your elected officials represent and work for you. Let them know that you believe #FamilesBelongTogether, and that they need to take action on this matter if they want to retain your vote.
The League of Women Voters has a tool that gives you the contact information for all of your congressional, state and local representatives. Simply enter your zip code, get your script ready, call your members of Congress, and keep going to make as many calls as you can.
Here is a sample script you can use:
Hello, my name is _________. I live in _________, and you represent me. I am calling to demand that you speak out against and work to end the horrific policy of separating families seeking refuge and asylum in the United States. I want you to know that, as a voter, I am paying attention to your voting record on this issue. Families belong together. If you’re a sister, it’s good to use that title in your signature.