Action Plan for Helping Immigrant Families Separated at the Border

Feed Our Democracy believes that each of our small actions can add up to big change.

This action plan gives you some simple steps you can take to make a difference, and is a

 supplement to our initial Action Plan for Supporting Immigrant Rights & Reform)  

UPDATES. Click here to read previous articles and updates

9/6 NBC        Trump admin wants ability to hold migrant kids indefinitely, upending decades-old ban Since 1997, authorities have been barred from holding migrant kids more than 20 days, but a new rule would change that.

8/28 NPR        A Toddler's Death Adds To Concerns About Migrant Detention

8/26 The Intercept        Children Separated under Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” Policy say their Trauma Continues

7/31 PBS         Watch Frontline SEPARATED: CHILDREN AT THE BORDER


  • 8/28 Over 500 children are still separated from their parents
  • There are currently about 11,800 children in ORR’s care (Office of Refugee Resettlement). Between 2,000 - 3,000 of those children were separated from their parents at the border. Source: Slate
  • Under the Trump administration’s extreme “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which was officially announced on May 7, Homeland Security officials have separated 2,342 children from their parents along the border, reclassifying them as “Unaccompanied Alien Children” and placing them in foster care with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • This spring, the Trump administration ordered that everyone caught crossing illegally into the United States be prosecuted. And since children cannot accompany grown-ups to jail, people arriving to seek asylum or crossing without documentation had their children taken away.
  • “The practice of separating families amounts to arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” said a spokesperson for the U.N. human-rights office.
  • The American Psychological Association has warned that the separations threatened the mental and physical health of the children.


  1. Does your representative support the “Family Unity Rights and Protection Act” (H.R. 6236) to end family separations? Urge them to sign. Read the full draft here. Click here to Find Your Representative. As of July 10, 75 members have co-signed the bill.
  2. CALL your Senators (call scripts below). As of June 18th, the entire Democratic caucus supports Senator Feinstein’s proposed Keep Families Together Act.. We need a Republican Senator to join.  If you're in a state represented by a Republic senator, please ask them to co-sponsor S.3036. Call 202-224-3121. You might have to call several times to get through.

States with Republican Senators: TN, WY, MO, AZ, NC, WV, LA, ME, TX, ID, MT, WY, IA, NE, CO, SC, UT, NV, MS, OK, GA, WI, KY, KS, AK, OH, SD, FL, NE, AL, MS, IN  Full list of Senators of the 115th Congress 

  1. VOLUNTEER. If you live in one of the following cities/states there are opportunities to volunteer your time and skills. Texas; California, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Washington State 

  1. Ways You Can Volunteer to Help Separated Families. The non-profit Together Rising has compiled a thorough and vetted  list of opportunities.
  2. The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is looking for more child advocates to visit the immigrant kids inside the detention centers weekly and accompany them to immigration proceedings.
  3. RAICES seeks volunteer translators "who speak Meso-American indigenous languages (e.g., zapotec, nahua, ma'am, quich'e, maya, mixe, mixteco-- not Spanish)." You can translate remotely. Don't need to be in Texas, or even US. Email
  4. #WeAllGrow Latina is organizing a force of bilingual latinas willing to donate translation or interpretation services to organizations offering legal services to kids separated from their families. Click here for more details, FAQ and to volunteer.
  5. The Action Network Volunteer Opportunities

READ: A Day in the Life of a Lawyer at the Border By civil rights attorney Efrén Olivares, July 5, 2018

  1. DONATE to an organization working with directly impacted communities. (updated 7/24)

  • Flights For Families. Donate to help families Help reunify children separated from their families at the border by donating to pay for airfare, hotel, and personal items for children and parents released from detention.
  • Together Rising is monitoring the ever-changing situation day by day and deploying funds based on needs. Today’s needs are literally different than yesterdays. Every penny received goes to reunification efforts.
  • Legal Aid Justice Center - The Legal Aid Justice Center battles poverty and injustice by solving critical legal problems for individuals and communities. Donate here. (local to DC)
  • Capital Area IMMIGRANTS’ Rights Coalition (CAIR) - Works to keep families working with and for the immigrant men, women, and children facing detention and deportation.  Our services include legal representation, educational outreach, impact and advocacy work, and the training of attorneys who defend immigrants in the immigration and criminal justice arenas. Donate here. (local to DC)
  • The National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago has the immediate need to hire another attorney to take the cases of the parents who've been separated from kids they serve in ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) custody in IL. Donations will go directly to representing families currently separated, they need urgent counsel to make sure parents aren't permanently separated from their children!
  • Al Otro Lado is run by US-based lawyers on the Mexican side of the border helping folks who are stuck there. Donate here.
  • Pueblo Sin Fronteras - provides humanitarian aid to migrants and refugees.
  • The Florence Project - provides free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody in Arizona.
  • Border Angels serves San Diego County’s immigrant population through various migrant outreach programs such as Day Laborer outreach, a free legal assistance program, and more.
  • RAICES provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees in Texas.
  • Kids in Need of Defense - KIND protects unaccompanied children who enter the US immigration system alone to ensure that no child appears in court without an attorney.
  • LUPE (Rio Grande Valley)  -
  • NETA This Texas-based grassroots organization helps asylum seekers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR): This project of the American Bar Association is currently supporting over 1,000 unaccom­panied children in detention centers across South Texas.
  • Check out ActBlues Support Kids at the Border donations page to make one donation to all of the organizations listed above + more orgs doing incredible work.

  1. ACTION: SIGN PETITIONS (via ActionNetwork)

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. Petitions where you can add your voice:

Define American #ReuniteEveryChild Now Petition

ACLU Petition: Separating Families is Inhumane

MoveON: Tell Secretary Nielsen: Stop separating families!

Women’s March: End Family Separation

National Domestic Workers Alliance: Families Belong Together

  1. VOTE them out.


UPDATE 6/20**Friends, thank you for using your voices, rallying your friends and opening up your wallets to fight against human rights violations right here in America.

You may have seen that Trump signed an executive order earlier that ends the separation of immigrant families at the borders, a real testament to the power of the people to effect change. While this seems like a first step toward remedying the untenable situation at the border, we will carefully follow the lead of organizations working on the ground.

There is still much more work to be done. First, there is as of yet, no plan for how to reunite families who have already been torn apart; second, Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy is still in effect and third, Trump's new executive order would allow the indefinite detention of immigrant families together, another immoral and illegal action.  

We must all stay vigilant, and continue to use our voices to make sure this administration knows we will not let them get away with inhumane, un-American behavior.  Trump's signature today proves that when we band together, our voices matter. The organizations listed in our Feed Our Democracy Action Plan are on the front lines of this issue and we will be using them as our first resources for information for this fluid situation.  Keep checking back. Keep up the good fight. Let’s continue to raise hell!**  See the Slate article (6/20 5:20 pm EST): Trump Fixed Nothing Today

National ORGANIZATIONS focused on Immigration Rights & Reform

  • Fair Immigration Reform Movement: a national coalition of grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state and federal level.
  • National Immigration Law Center: Dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income. Has been at the forefront of many of the country’s greatest challenges when it comes to immigration issues.
  • American Immigration Council: powerful voice in promoting laws, policies, and attitudes that honor our proud history as a nation of immigrants.
  • Hispanic Federation: has worked relentlessly to protect and advance immigrant rights since its inception. Today, HF has expanded its focus to become a national advocate for progressive immigration reforms.
  • ACLU: For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center: an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. Works to protect the rights of immigrants and their children to ensure they are treated with dignity and fairness.


Mom Phuong Lien Palafox shows just how easy and fast it is to call your Members of Congress. It takes less than a minute.


Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from _________..

[IF REPUBLICAN]: I’m calling to ask that [SEN NAME] support S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act, to stop the separation of immigrant families at the U.S. border. This practice is immoral and unnecessarily harms innocent children. It must be stopped by Congress immediately.

[IF DEMOCRAT]: I’m calling to thank [SEN NAME] for supporting S. 3036, the Keep Families Together Act, and ask that the Senator continue to shed light on this practice by visiting with detainees and pressuring the Trump administration to reverse course.

Thank you for your time and attention.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]


“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."

Call the Congressional switchboard 202-224-3121 -- they can forward you to your representative. You'll either get a voicemail or a congressional aide (who will be friendly and professional, and will likely simply say "how can I help?"). Recite the above to either. It takes mere minutes. For bonus points, do it every day until you don't need to anymore.


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Feed Our Democracy is a movement dedicated to the notion that the backbone of any democracy is an active citizenry.  Whether native born, naturalized, or self-identified, we believe it is every citizen’s duty to uphold the democratic ideals of freedom, justice, and equality.  Our goal is to offer the inspiration and information necessary to turn each of us into citizen activists -- one event at a time.  We encourage people to expand their communities and uphold their ideals as they Meet, Eat and Activate.