Family Separation: How to Help Now

Family Separation: What's Happening After Trump's Executive Order

We know readers often come to Cup of Jo for a pick-me-up, and we had regular editorial posts planned for today. However, like so many of you, we’ve been consumed by the news of children being taken from their parents. “Would posting about it again be too much?” we wondered. But after thinking it over, we felt it was important to follow up with this big update…


On Monday, we wrote about how families entering the U.S. to seek asylum were being separated. Yesterday, Trump signed an executive order calling to end his family separation policy. But there are two reasons why this isn’t a real solution: It doesn’t reunite the thousands of families who were already separated, and it paves the way for children and families to be imprisoned indefinitely.


Why were families being separated at the U.S. border in the first place?

If you need a recap, here’s our post about family separation at the border. Basically, families fleeing violence, rape and murder in their home countries were crossing into the U.S. to seek asylum. It is not illegal to seek asylum. But because of the Trump Administration’s new “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, parents are now being prosecuted for crossing the border, and more than 2,300 children — even infants — were taken away from them.

Where are the children?

Children were transferred to shelters including tents, old warehouses and former big box stores. Here’s a leaked recording of toddlers sobbing for their parents. Three distraught siblings at a shelter were told that they weren’t allowed to hug. There is no plan or timeline for reuniting the families. Many, including the U.N,, call the new policy “immoral” and “inhumane.” The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics calls it “child abuse.”


Yesterday, Trump signed an executive order meant to stop his policy of separating families at the border. Although this sounds like good news, there are at least two major reasons why his executive order is not a real solution.

What are the two problems?

1) It doesn’t reunite the thousands of families who were already separated.

Although incoming families may stay together, there is still no plan to reunite the thousands of families that have already been forcibly separated. They’re not grandfathered in by the executive order. This means that those 2,300+ children are still separated from their parents, and may not be reunified for months or years. Lawyers and advocates told The New Yorkers that there’s no protocol for keeping track of these parents and children concurrently, or for keeping families in contact with each other while they’re separated. “This crisis will not abate until each and every single child is reunited with his or her parent,” says Anthony D. Romero, the Executive Director of the ACLU. Without a clear process, however, it’s possible some of these children and parents will never see each other again, reports New York Magazine.

2) It also paves the way for children and families to be imprisoned indefinitely.

Trump’s plan would keep incoming families together — but in federal custody. Right now, because of a 1997 decree known as the Flores settlement, immigration authorities cannot keep children in detention, even if they’re with their parents, for more than 20 days. But Trump’s executive order says that he wants to be able to detain infants and children with their parents indefinitely, without due process. This could lead to babies and children being locked up with their parents for months or even years.

What are experts saying?

“This executive order replaces one crisis for another: children don’t belong in jail at all, even with their parents, under any set of circumstances,” says Anthony D. Romero, the Executive Director of the ACLU.

“Family incarceration is not a solution or a reasonable alternative to family separation,” says a spokesperson from the Florence Project, an Arizona non-profit legal organization. “The experience of being incarcerated is traumatic, and countless child welfare experts have spoken out against family detention.” It’s also extremely hard for families held in detention to access the resources they need to fight their cases.

“The best solution would be releasing families to sponsors or placing them in community-based alternatives to detention programs, which are less expensive and much more humane,” says Kevin Appleby, a senior director at the Center for Migration Studies.


Attend a protest. MoveOn is organizing big rallies in Washington, D.C., and around the country on Saturday, June 30th. On Thursday, June 28th, the organizers of the Women’s March are holding a protest in Washington, D.C. Let’s stand together.

Donate. There are many fantastic organizations working to support families affected. Please join us in donating to The Florence Project, RAICES, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights and ActBlue.

Call your congresspeople. If you want to find out who your senators and representatives are, and how to contact them, go here and enter your zip code. Tell them you’re extremely concerned about the children who have been separated from their parents and how they’ll be reunited; that children shouldn’t be detained indefinitely; and that your vote depends on their response.

Thank you so much for reading and for being such a smart and compassionate community. Please share if you have other ideas for how to help. Sending all our love, as always.

Family Separation: What's Happening Now

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” — Nelson Mandela, May 8, 1995.

(Photos by John Moore.)

  1. Donate to the ACLU. Only with attorneys are these parents ever going to see their children again. My sorrow is great. I am so tired of calling my legislators, only to be ignored. They don’t even both to answer the phone anymore or take your name or write down what you have said. I’m exhausted resisting ALL the horrific things this Administration has done and does on a daily basis. Seriously, it is SERIOUSLY affecting my health and well being. I AM EXHAUSTED. We must get out the vote and put them out of business, period!!!

    • Leslie in Oregon says...

      Charley, I couldn’t agree more with your suggestion to donate to the ACLU and your rationale for that suggestion. I too am experiencing all of the emotional and physical effects of resisting the actions of this Administration that you describe. Fortunately, the Representatives to the U.S. House for my district and surrounding districts, and our state’s two U.S. Senators, are at the forefront of the resistance on all key issues, and every one of them updates me and other active resisters every day on that work. That each of them somehow finds the wherewithal to fight this battle every single day helps me figure out, day by day, how to stay healthy and sane enough to continue to resist. I hope that at least some of your Congressional delegation will provide you with that inspiration and leadership after the results of the upcoming mid-term elections go into effect. I cannot wait until we can focus on initiating and working for the passage of worthwhile legislation and administrative actions, rather than having to spend all our time and energy resisting the terrible initiatives of this Administration and its supporters in Congress. And, as you wrote, that will happen only is if we get out the vote for the November mid-term elections.

  2. Stacey says...

    My neighbor and I are having a rummage sale tomorrow and donating the proceeds to RAICES.

  3. COJ team – belated thank you for putting together a clear and accessible guide to this issue. Although this has been an ever-evolving situation, our help at the front line is still needed. For any Chicago readers interested in a cause supporting the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, I’m hosting a clothing swap to raise funds: (just ask that people RSVP for logistics purposes!) Thank you!

  4. Isa says...

    Oh my God, This totally and entirely breaks my heart… where is the tribe? Have we totally forgotten where do we come from?

  5. To follow up on the poetry & refugee threads of discussion:

    by Warsan Shire

    no one leaves home unless
    home is the mouth of a shark
    you only run for the border
    when you see the whole city running as well

    your neighbors running faster than you
    breath bloody in their throats
    the boy you went to school with
    who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
    is holding a gun bigger than his body
    you only leave home
    when home won’t let you stay.

    no one leaves home unless home chases you
    fire under feet
    hot blood in your belly
    it’s not something you ever thought of doing
    until the blade burnt threats into
    your neck
    and even then you carried the anthem under
    your breath
    only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet
    sobbing as each mouthful of paper
    made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

    you have to understand,
    that no one puts their children in a boat
    unless the water is safer than the land
    no one burns their palms
    under trains
    beneath carriages
    no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
    feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
    means something more than journey.
    no one crawls under fences
    no one wants to be beaten

    no one chooses refugee camps
    or strip searches where your
    body is left aching
    or prison,
    because prison is safer
    than a city of fire
    and one prison guard
    in the night
    is better than a truckload
    of men who look like your father
    no one could take it
    no one could stomach it
    no one skin would be tough enough

    go home blacks
    dirty immigrants
    asylum seekers
    sucking our country dry
    niggers with their hands out
    they smell strange
    messed up their country and now they want
    to mess ours up
    how do the words
    the dirty looks
    roll off your backs
    maybe because the blow is softer
    than a limb torn off

    or the words are more tender
    than fourteen men between
    your legs
    or the insults are easier
    to swallow
    than rubble
    than bone
    than your child body
    in pieces.
    i want to go home,
    but home is the mouth of a shark
    home is the barrel of the gun
    and no one would leave home
    unless home chased you to the shore
    unless home told you
    to quicken your legs
    leave your clothes behind
    crawl through the desert
    wade through the oceans
    be hunger
    forget pride
    your survival is more important

    no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
    run away from me now
    i dont know what i’ve become
    but i know that anywhere
    is safer than here

  6. IM says...

    I really appreciate your coverage of this issue. I am an immigration attorney who represents detained adults in NYC and while I am pleased about the recent outpouring of support for this issue, I am somewhat baffled at the “end family separation” rhetoric and outrage that seems very specific to the policy of separating arriving parents from their children at the southern border.

    What I see every day in my work is NYC families being separated by ICE. ICE raids NYC homes, courthouses, and workplaces, arresting fathers and mothers and keeping them in jails, separated from their children, for months or even years before releasing them or deporting them. It’s a different and more invisible form of family separation that’s happening within our community.

    And of course the over-policing and incarceration of black and brown NYers and the removal of children of color from their homes and parents by ACS are also pernicious forms of family separation.

    Obviously what is happening with families at the border is worthy of outrage. Would love to also see coverage of other types of outrageous family separation, COJ.

  7. Jill says...

    I’m hosting a cooking class in my home next week (homemade pasta! strawberry tarts!) and all proceeds will go to RAICES. I sent out the invite tonight and it’s already full! Also several people who can’t make it went ahead and made a donation.

  8. Emily says...

    Thank you for these resources, COJ. Like so many, I’ve been really disturbed by this and floundering as to where best give our money, support and time. My church (First United Methodist in Dallas) has outlined ways to donate, protest and help locally in Texas, specifically through Justice for Our Neighbors ( For me, I’m encouraged that my church has helped me to find ways to give and volunteer through Christian organizations to show that the Christian position is supporting, loving and sacrificing for others, NOT separating families or exclusion. I want to be clear that I do not subscribe to the belief that America is a Christian nation (and to hear elected officials and spokespeople quoting the Bible in defense of this abhorrent position has made me physically ill). I am proud to be a citizen of a country founded on the freedom of religion. And I’m so proud of the way people of all backgrounds are stepping up to fight this fight (as ashamed as I am that this fight has to take place in our country right now).

    If you live in Texas, Justice for our Neighbors has opportunities for volunteering at the border and in various city centers, both for those who speak Spanish, have legal expertise, or just can provide fundraising help and/or a welcoming face.

  9. Katy says...

    Thank you so much for advocating for these families! Lawyer Michael Avenatti is asking people to call their Congressional reps and demand implementation of a single staging area to reunite these families. This likely the only way many of these kids can hope to be matched with their parents. #SingleStagingAreaNow

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      GREAT idea.

  10. I appreciate the simple, clear reporting here. What a service you’re doing to really clarify for people who are confused what’s going on and make it clear how they can act. Thank you for covering this issue and other political issues with clarity and grace!

  11. Emi says...

    I’m so heartbroken over this. This inhumanity does not belong in America, or anywhere. I’m shocked and hope every single one of these families are reunited.

    We need to talk about immigration and how we as a nation wish to handle all the people who cross or attempt to cross the border every single day. We must find a solution which can make our border both humane and controlled.

  12. A lot of people didn’t like Flores because of the separation which is understandable. No one likes the idea of children being separated from parents. I think we can all agree on that. What solutions do you propose to make sure people enter legally, like those seeking asylum and have the families stay together, which is what they should be doing, yet still have respect for the law and legal process, considering that with so many people trying to gain entry, it naturally takes time to interview them, and verify that they are in fact seeking asylum? I’d love to see some solutions. I’d you let them go once they get in only a small percentage show up to be vetted, so that’s not a good solution. I’m happy to let people in based on asylum, but they must understand and respect the legal process that entails – and that it takes time. I’m glad they are with their families and can remain with them until everything is adjudicated and they are legally allowed entry.

    • Wendy Smith says...

      Seeking asylum is legal. Period. Prosecuting asylum seekers for “illegal entry” (as well as actively preventing them from seeking asylum) is a violation of domestic asylum law and international treaties that the US is a signatory too. The only criminals here are CBP, ICE and the current administration and they are inhumane and liars.

    • Emi says...

      I’m with you Amy, things are clearly not as they should be and we need to fix it. Instead of jail, and instead of releasing immigrants into the country and expect them to turn up later, we could look to how many European countries coped with the mass migration crisis of 2015 (had been done before also but became particularly urgent then). Asylum centers were set up at borders and families lived there together until their applications were processed. I don’t know if this is done to any degree in the US? It does work in other countries.

      (as Wendy pointed out, seeking asylum is legal. It seems to me like the reason for putting people in jail is more an effort to keep some control and send a message than anything else.) I have no idea how the country should handle those who are not seeking asylum, but we need to talk about it.

    • Leslie in Oregon says...

      I’d add just one more basic fact to what commenter Wendy Smith accurately states below: One cannot apply to the U.S. government for asylum if one is outside the U.S.; by law, one must be in the U.S. in order to apply to the U.S. for asylum.

    • Thank you Cup of Jo for providing a forum to discuss this important issue. I appreciate Seeking asylum should absolutely be protected, but let’s face it… they are not all seeking asylum. There needs to be a humane system for all. Frankly, with the sheer numbers, I’m not really sure how feasible it is to House everyone particularly in an acceptable manner. It’s a real problem and there needs to be deterrents in place or it will never end. I respect Trump for trying, but this is not an easy fix. This is up to Congress to come up with a permanent solution. I appreciate the respectful dialogue here. I truly believe we all care and want to do the right thing.

    • Heather says...

      Hi Amy –

      There is reporting on this with data to support it – here is one link detailing how Trump shut down a family management reporting that allowed them to be free, together and resulted in 99% of families showing up.

      Meanwhile although he said he couldn’t that humane program that worked – he isn’t spending 700+ a night to house these kids separate feom the families – so aside from the fact that he has chosen the cruelest, most inhuman option- he has also chosen the most expensive.

      But even if the other program was more expensive, as noted, these are legal asylum seekers. As a nation, our response to their fleeing rape and murder should not be to inflict more pain. It’s cruel and it’s torture.

    • Wendy Smith says...

      It’s doesn’t matter that they won’t all get asylum, they are legally allowed to seek it and treating them as criminals for doing so is against domestic and international law that we are signatory to. There are more humane, practical and productive deterrents. Don’t make excuses for nationalist bigots or use their language and vet your facts. We created most of the problems in the Northern Triangle and we can address them in other ways.

    • Heather says...

      Yikes – lots of weird typos in my previous reply – its hard to think and type at 4 am, but like many others, I can’t seem to sleep anymore because I’m so upset about this.

      But I meant to say even if someone only cares about this from an economic standpoint (which needless to say… should NEVER be the basis for our policies as a country) – Trump hasn’t even selected the least expensive option. It is costing 700+ a night for these tent cities.

      So really, what this tells me is he is doing it out of cruelty and because he thought he could get away with it.

      Further, Trump is creating this crisis himself by closing off ports of entry for legal asylum seekers.

  13. Cara says...

    Thank you for posting. I agree with what many others have said about it being difficult to sift through all the information out there — I grateful to you for continuing to speak out about these issues and provide reliable, helpful action items. You are a light.

  14. Elizabeth says...

    Thank you! Please keep posting, it is far from over. Thank you for shining a light in this space.

  15. Sonya says...

    What’s the consensus on Melania’s reasons for wearing that jacket?!

    I think it was an extremely poor choice in clothing, but I doubt it was any sort of message. If anything, I assume, it was aimed at that vile celebrity who said Baron deserved to be thrown into a “cage of pedos.” I can’t imagine she’d fly down there if she didn’t actually care….

    • I agree. I disagree about the choice in clothing. However, she went there to see the kids. It wasn’t directed at the kids. It was directed at the media and people who talk badly about her no matter what she does. Nevertheless, it was in poor taste in my opinion.

    • Renee says...

      She was sending a message. You can fly down there as part of your duties
      as first lady and still not care. She knew what was on the back of that jacket and I’m not going to give her the benefit of the doubt.

    • A Martin says...

      EVERYTHING she wears is calculated down to the makeup and nail polish she uses. It was a very calculated fashion choice. #BeBestMelania

    • Hita says...

      If it was directed at the media, why wear it when going to see the children’s concentration camps? Is she and her whole team that thoughtless, if it wasn’t on purpose? Would you have given any other first lady a pass for this level of insensitivity, even if you do believe it was not aimed at the kids? Nope, I believe this was a planned event to cause distraction in the media. If it hurts a few kids along the way, well, like her jacket said…

    • Sarah says...

      I can’t with the people who defend Melania. She’s a birther just like her POS husband. She is just as vile and awful as he is.

    • Joss says...

      I’d just like to share a post from @feministabulous (on instagram) regarding this particular occurance as I feel it’s been the most clear assessment of this particularly gross choice of FLOTUS >> “Melania’s jacket is a pristine example of how an authoritarian government operates to delegitimize the press. Please don’t be fooled. This is 100% bait. It’s an effective strategy to get the media to criticize her wardrobe so that the government can criticize the media for criticizing her wardrobe and delegitimize us as fake news. Shortly after journalists started reporting on the jacket, FLOTUS’ director of communications tweeted a statement criticizing the media for not focusing on the children (even creating a hashtag for the jacket!), when the media is the VERY REASON we found out about the harrowing human rights abuses happening at the border in the first place. Also remember that these abuses were leveled by an administration who repeatedly lied about them with several senior officials denying they happened until the media collected irrefutable evidence that they did. Whatever rules of political discourse used to apply no longer do with this government. Be critical! Most importantly don’t underestimate this regime. Calling this administration dumb is dumb. We made that mistake in 2016. Let’s not make that mistake again. And no hate to the reporters who reported on this. It’s a trap for a reason.”

  16. A says...

    Thank you so much for continuing to post about this issue. I work as a lawyer for detained immigrants, and there is sometimes a strange disconnect when you are dealing with such a heavy, all consuming crisis but then open up a blog or a website to find people still posting about their favorite recipes or vacation ideas. Obviously, we need those kinds of posts too, but I appreciate how well you’ve reported on this issue and that you have not tried to pretend everything is as usual. Family detention is a crisis and sometimes it feels like we have been shouting that to no avail for some time, but now is an especially scary time, and I have so much fear for these families and for the huge number of families who will soon be detained indefinitely with their kids.

  17. jessica warner says...

    Hi! I own a bar in Bed-Stuy called Doris. We are also serving as a drop-off/collection site for donation items (and! if you bring anything in at all– even just a bottle of baby shampoo– you get a free Lone Star!). We are also donating 5% of this week’s sales to the Texas Civil Rights Project. We are located at 1088 Fulton Street, just in case any of your readers live in the Clinton Hill/Crown Heights/Bed Stuy area and need a convenient drop-off zone (and a cold beer to take the edge off these horrible few weeks). Thanks very much for these posts. We all need to stay as engaged and as informed as possible.

    • Quinn says...

      This is so great — well done! I live in Vancouver, Canada, otherwise I would come by. :)

  18. AMK says...

    God bless you all at CofJ!!!!! I can’t thank you enough for your coverage!!!!! This is all so heart wrenching and yet I have hope because we are all banning together. Then to see Melania Trump’s callous visit to the detention center. Ugh…#BeBestMelania

  19. Bekki says...

    AGAIN: Thank you so much! From a German who is outraged by what’s happening but at the same time amazed by how Americans are rising up to protest and change a policy that’s so utterly inhumane. Much love and strength to all of you who are going out of their way!

  20. Erin says...

    Thank you thank you thank you.

  21. Karen says...

    According to the huffpost the toys and other objects kids have brought with them over the border are confiscated as well when they are detained. I cannot imagine my 2 year old being taken from me and then his favorite lovey being taken from him after that. My heart breaks for these kids.
    Joanna – the video you posted of the mother and son being united makes me tear up everytime. But what about the infants and toddlers who cannot speak and communicate what happened to them and what their names are. How will they be reunited?? Ugh, crying at my desk again.

  22. Hillary says...

    Just want to add some clarity about what the Women’s March organizers are planning in Washington, DC, on June 28th. It isn’t a march or regular protest, it’s an act of civil disobedience. Precisely what the act will be remains unclear (participants will be informed upon arrival), but this is the type of act that could end in arrest. I am not trying to deter anyone from participating (at all!) just want to make sure the facts are out there so people know what this will involve. To that end, the organizers will be providing training and legal support for those participating.

    • What does civil disobedience mean? Does it mean violence or vandalism? I’m just wondering because you said it wasn’t a regular protest and could lead to arrest. Why would people have to be trained?

    • Stacy says...

      @Amy: Have you studied the civil rights movement? Watched Selma? Read Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail? This is why training is needed.

  23. Cara says...

    I wholeheartedly agree that the immigration situation in the United States is an inhumane disaster that needs to be fixed, but it has been this way for a very long time. In fact, Obama struggled with similar family separation issues during his presidency, and many of the pictures currently circulating the internet in an attempt to enrage people further against Trump are from camps erected in 2014, not 2018.

    Obviously the “zero tolerance” policy from the Trump Administration was a drastically wrong decision that exacerbated the already fraught circumstances of the border, which is why I’m grateful they are at least attempting to reverse that. But, as the article from Vox I posted below lays out, signing that executive order puts him in almost the same situation as Obama in 2014. And back then, despite Obama’s best intentions, it was the legislation that forced his administration to separate families, and that same legislation is in place today. That is why the executive order from the Trump Administration is pressuring Congress to overrule the Flores settlement so families can legally be kept together rather than being stopped by the legislation again.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this issue is receiving a massive amount of media attention during June—the busiest month for primary elections—even though it’s a longstanding issue that has been mistreating immigrants for years. That was also the main reason Trump signed the executive order in the first place. Desperate immigrants have been turned into a political game piece on both sides.

    I’m tired of living in such a polarized climate where humanity and compassion are given selectively, and issues and leaders are either wholly good or wholly bad. People aren’t that simple. We’ve lost the perspective of context and collaboration when it comes to working with people from a different line of thought than ours, and it’s only making things worse.

    But like I said before, I think it’s worth noting that even a liberal, anti-Trump publication such as Vox would come to the conclusion that “In other words, it’s not really about what Obama or Trump did. Right now, the question is what they are allowed to do.” The legislation has so much more power than the president!

    • Cindee says...

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree this issue is not new and and is not just a product of this administration. I fear the children will be used as political pawns. It is so disheartening that the congress (both parties) will not work together to find a solution. I can never understand why anyone would object to dreamers becoming citizens.

    • Lindsay says...

      Thank you! It really is so sad how polarized our country is.

    • Cat says...

      Finally someone grasps all aspects of this issue and refrains from blaming. ????????

    • Sheila Falconer says...

      I maintain the situation still absolutely needs to be fixed, though, no matter when it started.

    • Sheila Falconer says...

      Regarding my earlier reply, sorry; I mis-read your post; I thought you said you wholeheartedly disagree. My error! I can’t see my post to delete it.

  24. An update: JCC in Harlem is no longer accepting donations either.

  25. Anna says...

    I want to echo everyone else here in commending the continued attention to this issue, and I love the suggestions everyone else has made. We’ve all got to continue putting pressure on our representatives, calling folks, donating, making sure that we are doing our absolute best to participate in civic society and prevent atrocities as best we can. It can seem so hard sometimes when there is so much injustice, especially around immigration and racism, but it’s really heartening to see folks doing their best. It’s the only thing, really, that can make any sense out of all this at all.

    To address this ongoing crisis, I definitely agree with suggestions to call our representatives, donate to RAICES, etc. In the long term, I would love to highlight an organization called CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. This organization trains community members to serve as advocates for children going through the juvenile court system, particularly dependency & neglect cases, many of whom desperately want to be reunited with their families. These cases can be complicated even more when family members may be undocumented. It’s a really wonderful organization and a special way to help address the pain and trauma of family separation. Even though it’s not an exact overlap with immigration reform (which I heartily, heartily believe in, and I am not trying to detract from this issue in any way), I think this is a great moment to reflect long-term on how we can actually support and scaffold families in our community–no matter where they come from or the difficulties they face. No matter what, when we discriminate against or refuse to serve adults, children do suffer, and we owe it to them to create safety and opportunities to thrive.

    Seeing this online community of women galvanized to work hard…this is where I can actually see the better angels of our nature.

    • Emily says...

      I was a CASA for several years when I still lived in the US. Love this organization, so full of compassionate people who care about children and families. I’ve been thinking about my CASA supervisors and fellow volunteers a lot in the last couple of weeks, and how hard it is to work for children and families under “normal” circumstances. I have so much appreciation for the social workers, health care providers, and lawyers working for justice for migrant families in these terrible times.

  26. Sarah says...

    Thank-you for keeping us informed. I found a moveon march in Toronto and I will attend! You have the support of Canadians <3

  27. Toni says...

    I’ve seen a bunch of posts about how to talk to children about this.

    Here’s a starting point that’s always helped me:

    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
    ― Fred Rogers

    • Avalanche Lake says...

      Oh Toni, this made me cry.

    • Fiona says...

      I read this and loved it, then I read another comment along the lines of ” and now WE will become the helpers – what ideas do you have? This is what I’m doing. ” and that felt even better!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love this, toni.

  28. Kat Rosa says...

    Thank you for posting this! Two posts are not too many on this important issue. I think it’s important that we not let ourselves return to business as usual while this is still going on.

  29. Meg says...

    Thank you COJ team.

    Too often, I feel like I have to pick a lane when it comes to the media I consume and how I move through the world. I switch back and forth all day long: the mom making up songs on the way to school, the professional managing a team at work, the citizen calling Congress at lunch, and of course the woman listening to podcasts about skincare on the train ride home! This is one of the only environments that doesn’t make me feel like I have to set each identity down to pick up the other. You have created a space for women to be whole. Your immigration coverage is your most important demonstration of that yet.

    I want to suggest one more thing people can do – volunteer to help new citizens and other people from underrepresented groups register to vote. Chicago readers, check out the volunteer opportunities at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights:

    • Anna says...

      Everything about this comment resonates with me so much!!

    • Sarah says...

      Me too!

    • Courtney says...

      So well said, Meg! Agreed!

  30. Molly says...

    Just dropped donations at the JCC and asked what else they need. The answer was that they have enough stuff, but please consider giving money through the organizations listed on Mark Levine’s website to help these children with legal & psychological services.

    PS, thank you for spreading the word about this and how to help.

  31. Julia says...

    Does anyone know if any virtual protests are held? Eager to help from Germany beyond donating.

  32. Lindsay says...

    This is very hard for me to read and think about. But I feel better knowing we will get this taken care of bc most people are outraged and won’t stop until those kids are all back with thier parents. I know some were brought here to Washington state so I will find out what I can do to help. Trump said yesterday that the Democrats were blocking the steps needed to fix this, for political reasons. I really don’t know what to believe anymore. Trump seems to be doing this shocking horrible thing to try to get changes made which is unacceptable. But we do need changes. Also remember that sweet children are being ripped from parents everyday, everywhere. And there are millions of people around the world in dangerous places, with kids, in poverty. They would all like to come here. We wish we could take everyone and make it better but it’s not possible. So that’s why we have to have order to get to everyone we can in the right way. My husband says: If you went to 4 European countries seeking asylum, and only one let you in with your kids, you’d choose that one right? Why did these people not accept the first safe place, Mexico? My feeling is that we of course help everyone who arrives begging and in need, and keep families together. Use ankle bracelets and find housing etc. And go through the process and if all checks out, they can stay and get jobs etc. I pray the children are back with parents asap. I pray for children everywhere!

    • Rachel says...

      It’s simple. Mexico isn’t safe. Large swaths of Mexico are run by gangs. The gangs and violence that they are fleeing in El Salvador/Honduras/Guatemala exist in Mexico as well. If they were to stay in Mexico, it would be without the protect of family and competing for very limited jobs against other Mexicans qualified to do the same work. Contrast that with the US which offers a safer quality of life, many central americans have family that immigrated here in the last 20 years, AND there are a glut of entry level service, hospitality and labor jobs that Americans refuse to do. Why wouldn’t you come here? Frankly, we need them. Try eating out at a restaurant and not take advantage of the work of cheap foreign labor. Vegetables…picked by migrant labor. Meat is processed by cheap immigrant labor (yes even that Iowa pork is processed by Central American hands). The people that delivered the produce and meat to the restaurant were probably foreigners. The hands that chopped and prepped your meal – or even cooked it were probably foreign as well.
      The fact is…we rely on an influx of foreign labor. In trade, they get a place to land, and the opportunity to learn English, have their children educated, and become productive, tax paying citizens. They are criminals. They pay taxes and they work. Hard. They for the most part – until they gain a permanent legal status – don’t receive benefits the same way that other Americans do.
      We’re being conned by this current administration and those rats in Congress. Nothing is being taken away from you. And the people abusing the system are those red states that pull more money from the government than they put into it. The real crooks are corporate welfare recipients who make millions for their shareholders and pay no taxes.
      Be open enough to change your mind okay?

    • Jessica says...

      Hi Lindsay!
      I’m also in WA state, look into Refugees NW….here’s a link!

      Best, Jessica

  33. Debbie Elliott says...

    Thank you so much for the update! And thank you for the excellent information about ways to help beyond donations, at least in NY. I, too, have found it hard to focus on anything else this week and am hoping to find a way to help, in addition to donating. I’m in Northern CA and apparently there are children being housed in San Francisco. (WaPo is developing/crowdsourcing this map for other locations: If anyone knows of organizations who are coordinating volunteer efforts locally to help with the children themselves or with the efforts to match and reunite them with their parents, please post.

    • Donna says...

      Hi Debbie,
      I was looking as well and someone posted this link. You can SIGN UP TO BE A CHILD ADVOCATE through the Young Center. They will pair you with an individual child – you visit once a week and help them navigate the process. Here’s a link – you can also email them directly through their contact page. If there are 2,300 kids and way more than 2,300 of us who want to help – we have a shot at making this a little bit better. <3