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  • Music Legends Unite to Stand with Families at U.S. Border

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    New York, NY — As part of its ongoing work to end the Trump administration’s family separation policies and attempts to detain families seeking safety at the U.S. border, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) today announced a fall concert series that will bring together music legends for a five-city tour in support of families targeted by the Trump administration. “The Lantern Tour: Concerts for Migrant and Refugee Families,” will take place from October 23–28, 2018 across five U.S. cities.

    The Grammy-nominated and award-winning lineup includes: Emmylou Harris; Jackson Browne; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Shawn Colvin; Lila Downs; Steve Earle; and Graham Nash. Tour cities include: Nashville, TN; Washington, D.C.; Collingswood, NJ; Boston, MA; and New York, NY. Click here for a complete list of cities and concert venues. (Note that not all artists will appear on all dates.)

    “The Women’s Refugee Commission has been on the front lines in advocating for the safety of women and children. Their work is as remarkable as it is critical, especially right now.” said celebrated singer-songwriter and Lantern Tour lead musician Emmylou Harris, a supporter of WRC. “It is my honor to partner with this incredible organization and to bring my friends along for what I know will be a powerful tour.”

    WRC’s Migrant Rights and Justice (MRJ) Program has a long history of documenting conditions at the U.S. border for asylum-seeking women and children and then advocating for their rights and protections. Since the Trump administration came into power, it has taken a leadership role in identifying human rights violations.

    “This administration tore children away from parents who were trying to save their lives by asserting their legal right to asylum with no intention of reunifying them.” said MRJ Director Michelle Brané. “It is imperative that we all raise our voices against these dystopian policies. Art and music have long been an important part of advancing social change and we are thrilled to be partnering with such a remarkable group of talented musicians committed to justice.”

    The Trump administration began separating families late last year and in April of this year announced its “zero-tolerance” policy toward people who cross into the U.S. from Mexico without documentation, even if they are fleeing danger or seeking protection. As a result, approximately 3,000 children have been separated from their parents.

    Despite a June court order halting the separation of families and mandating reunification, the chaotic nature of the administration’s immigration policies has hampered dramatically the ability to return children to their parents and for families to seek safety.

    “The government did not keep track of separated families so reuniting them will be at best a herculean task,” said Brané. “And this is no accident. This chaos was created by design to facilitate family detention—that means jailing children—and ultimately to deter families in need of protection from seeking asylum in the U.S.”

    In June, President Trump signed an executive order seeking to circumvent existing protections for children so that it can detain whole families in internment camps indefinitely. Earlier this month, a federal judge denied a request by the Justice Department to allow just such a policy to move forward. The Trump administration currently is pursuing other judicial and legislative avenues to enable the long-term detention of children.