It should be clear by now that immigrant communities remain the most vulnerable group in Trump’s America. From ending DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) status for thousands of people, to enabling ICE to terrorize immigrants and their families, to making it harder for people to claim asylum at the border, the Trump Administration has systematically targeted immigrants and their families with the goal of jailing or deport as many as possible and reshape the racial makeup of our country.
The Trump administration’s family separation policy was only the latest example of the cruel measures that Trump is eager to take to terrorize immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

ARE FAMILIES BEING SEPARATED RIGHT NOW?

For now, no. Since the uproar over Trump’s cruel family separation policy and Trump’s signing of an executive order “solving” the problem, the practice of separating migrant children from their parents has reportedly stopped. Now, the Trump administration is exploring ways to create a system of indefinite family detention — i.e., family jails.

ARE SEPARATED FAMILIES BEING REUNIFIED?

In June, a San Diego court ordered the government to reunify all separated children with their parents by July 26th. Since the ruling, the Trump administration has stated that they will comply with the order and have begun the process of reunifying separated families. It remains unclear if they will ultimately reunite all of the families that were separated.
Full reunification will not be easy for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the government has already deported parents without their children. In a case like this, it can make it near-impossible for the government to reunify them; in one instance, a 1-year-old baby from Honduras appeared in immigration court without his parent, who had already been deported.
In Short: The Trump administration created this crisis by deciding to separate children from their parents—and it is clear that they never had a plan for reuniting families. It’s theirresponsibility to reunite all children with their parents in a timely manner.

COURTS, COURTS, COURTS

Right now, a huge portion of the fight is in the courts, with battles over everything from protections for children in detention to reunifying separated families. As of now, these cases have included the following:
  • A San Diego court ruled that the Trump administration must reunify all migrant families by July 26th; for children under 5, the deadline for reunification was July 10th—a deadline that the administration missed.
  • A California judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot detain children indefinitely.
We can’t control how these cases play out. What we do know is that the Trump administration is actively trying to undermine protections for children to create family detention facilities. As these cases continue to wind their way through the courts, the most important thing for constituents to do is make sure Congress isn’t enabling Trump’s attempt to detain immigrant families.

WHAT ABOUT CONGRESS?

Before Congress broke for the July 4th recess, the House and Senate were contemplating multiple proposals that would codify Trump’s executive order and create a system of family jails where they could indefinitely detain families. Now that Congress is back in session, there is still a chance that congressional Republicans could introduce and pass these proposals before the beginning of August.
Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to request that members of Congress increase funding for ICE in order to build family detention facilities and transfer migrant families to those facilities. While this is just a request, members of Congress could still vote to increase funding for ICE and facilitate the creation of family jails. That would give Trump the win he wants.
In short: Congress could still pass bad bills that enable the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents that this is unacceptable.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Despite the twists and turns, a lot is still the same: Trump created the family separation crisis, his new executive order is not a solution, and Congress must not enable Trump’s preferred solution of detaining immigrant families. The only reason why Trump backed down at all was because of the public fury from constituents like you. Members of Congress need to continue to hear from you that they must not capitulate to Trump.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

HERE ARE THE BEST WAYS FOR YOU TO GET INVOLVED AT AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL

First, stop Republicans from making this situation even worse. Congressional Republicans could still try to codify Trump’s executive order, or vote to give DHS more money to create family jails. It’s on us to keep the pressure on and make sure that any efforts to these ends fail.
Second, make sure Democrats are doing more to protect immigrant families. Chances are that if your MoC is a Democrat, they’re on record supporting keeping families together. They can do more. They can and should withhold support from any effort to codify family detention facilities, and vote down any spending package that increases funding for ICE and/or CBP.

THERE ARE ALSO A FEW ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE MORE LOCALLY TO FIGHT THIS CRISIS

Call your Governor and tell them not to allow your state to be an accomplice in this atrocity.In April, President Trump called for the National Guard, which is commanded by the governor of the state where they are stationed, to be deployed to the border for immigration enforcement. Governors from 11 states—Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia—have alreadyannounced that they will withhold or recall their National Guard Soldiers from the border to ensure that their state’s resources are not being used to assist these human rights abuses. While states cannot stop this Trump-created crisis, they certainly do not have to help.

SAMPLE CALL DIALOGUE

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

If your MoC is a Republican

Caller: Hi! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling today to tell [MoC] to oppose any efforts to jail immigrant families.
Staffer: Thanks for calling. [MoC] believes that Congress has a responsibility to pass legislation that would prevent families from being separated and fix the loopholes in our immigration system.
Caller: The family separation crisis was created by Trump, and he bears responsibility for fixing the crisis. Congress cannot enable the Trump administration’s ultimate agenda of creating jails for immigrant families. I urge [him/her] to vote no on any legislation that would create or fund immigrant family jails.
Staffer: We’ll be sure to pass your message to [MoC].
Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what [MoC] decides to do.

If your [MoC] is a Democrat

Caller: Hi! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling today to thank [him/her] for continuing to speak out against Trump’s cruel zero tolerance policy and the resulting separation of children from their parents. I’d also like to urge [MoC] to oppose any legislation that would create family detentions or provide more funding to ICE and CBP to create family detention facilities.
Staffer: Thanks for calling. [MoC] is deeply troubled by the Trump administration’s immigration policies, particularly the family separation policy. However, [MoC] believes that Congress has a role to play in ending this crisis and hopes to vote on legislation that would end this practice.
Caller: This crisis was created by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, and Congress should not make this problem worse by voting to create family detention or giving ICE more money to detain these families. I urge [MoC] to oppose any legislation that would create family detention facilities. Families belong together and free.
Staffer: At this point in time, [MoC] will be evaluating any future bill that comes up. I’m happy to pass your message along to [him/her].
Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what [MoC] decides to do.

STATE AND LOCAL

For your Governor: National Guard Call Script

Caller: Hi, my name is [name] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling today to tell [Governor] to make a public declaration to withhold or recall our National Guard troops from the border to ensure that our state is not assisting in taking children away from their parents. Our state must not be an accomplice to these human rights abuses.