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    Children at the border: the crisis that America wasn't prepared for

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    The shift toward children and families “didn’t happen overnight”, said Michelle Brané of the Women’s Refugee Commission. Though activists have broadcasted the need to prepare for such a more vulnerable population for years, she added, processes and infrastructure at the border still “have not adapted for the new demographic”.

    Here’s What You Can Do to Help Migrants at the U.S. Border

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    Since his election, President Trump has taken a strict stance on migrants fleeing across the Mexico/U.S. border, holding them in custody in detainment camps along the border until they can be sent back home and often working to criminally prosecute these migrants under the “zero-tolerance policy.”

    Other U.S.-based organizations include Kids in Need of Defense, which works to ensure that children don’t appear in immigration court without representation (which, horrifyingly, happens regularly); The Urban Justice Center’s Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, which works to keep families together and Women’s Refugee Commission.

    The dangers of co-mingling prisons, detention centers and politics

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    In addition to prisons, in 2014 the U.S. government massively expanded its detention centers for immigrant families. According to reports from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) and Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), between October 2014 and September 2015, the U.S. government apprehended 68,334 children accompanied by a parent at the southwest border — a 361 percent increase since the previous year. Keep in mind that more than half of all the children who entered into family detention facilities in that time were six years old or younger.

    Why Record Numbers of African Migrants Are Showing Up at the U.S.-Mexican Border

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    One recent June week, the United States stopped a record number of African refugees and migrants at its southern border. Hundreds of people fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and beyond are embarking on journeys to South America either by boat or plane and then, on foot, making the long and treacherous trek north through Colombia and Panama on their way to the United States. ...

    In a recent report, the Women’s Refugee Commission recounted horrifying stories of gang rape and of women being sold from one smuggler to another.

    Rep. Roybal-Allard Introduces Bills to Help Separated Immigrant Families and Children

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    Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) has introduced two crucial bills in response to the Trump Administration’s cruel and inhumane interior enforcement policies. Separately, the bills help keep immigrant families together, and help protect immigrant children who are separated from their families.

    “The HELP Separated Children Act [H.R. 3451] and Help Separated Families Act [H.R. 3452] would codify important safeguards to protect family unity, especially in the face of this administration’s cruel policies and immigration enforcement tactics that target and separate immigrant children and their families,” said Leah Chavla, policy advisor at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “Together, these bills represent critical steps toward ensuring that parents, if apprehended, are able to make care arrangements for their children – something that ICE officers frequently fail to even ask about – and that their parental rights are not unnecessarily terminated. If enacted, families would be better protected from avoidable and needless permanent separations and the inherent and long-lasting harms they cause.”

    We went to a border detention center for children. What we saw was awful

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    The government has sought to use children in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities as bait to arrest and deport the family members who come forward to care for them, according to a report by advocacy groups The Women's Refugee Commission and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

    We went to a border detention center for children. What we saw was awful

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    The government has sought to use children in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities as bait to arrest and deport the family members who come forward to care for them, according to a report by advocacy groups The Women's Refugee Commission and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

    6 Ways To Help Immigrant Children In Detention Centers Right Now

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    It's easy to feel helpless when reading news such as this and you may feel like there's nothing you can do, but there is. As the Women's Refugee Commission pointed out, there are plenty of ways to help immigrant children in these detention facilities and some are more simple than you might think.

    Wondering how to help kids and their parents at the Border? This is how!

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    People who are trying to donate to children at the border are getting turned away. Here are some places you can go to help:

    The Women’s Refugee Commission (womensrefugeecommission.org)
    Leading national efforts against family separation and child detention to preserve access to asylum, increase the use of alternatives to detention, and improve detention conditions.

    5 Ways to Help Migrant Children and Families Right Now

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    Just last week, reports surfaced detailing decrepit and dangerous conditions at a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, where a group of visiting lawyers were horrified to discover a lack of basic necessities available to detainees, including toothbrushes, soap, towels, and even showers. ...

    Here are five concrete ways you can really help, now. ...

    3. Donate to Several Places at Once
    ActBlue splits your donations between 12 different groups. The nonprofit fundraising platform for liberal causes has set up a page that benefits Al Otro Lado, The Florence Project, Neta, Innovation Law Lab, Fuerza Del Valle, The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, We Belong Together, United We Dream, The Women's Refugee Commission, The ACLU, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Human Rights First, and La Union de Pueblo Entero. You can donate any amount, and split it however you want between the groups.

    We went to a border detention center for children. What we saw was awful.

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    But that ask glosses over the fact that more children are in immigration custody because over the last several years the government has slowed down the rate at which children are reunified with their families. The government has sought to use children in Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) facilities as bait to arrest and deport the family members who come forward to care for them, according to a report by advocacy groups The Women's Refugee Commission and the National Immigrant Justice Center.

    What You Need to Know About the Crisis at the Border

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    A year ago almost to the week, America became aware of the Trump administration’s policy, announced, then denied, then announced again, of separating migrant children from their parents at the southern border. ...For many migrants, the situation at the border is now even worse than a year ago, ...The problems at the border now go far beyond the family separations of last summer. Since the president depends on public confusion and weariness as he implements ever more inhumane policies, we’ve attempted to summarize those policies and offer some ideas for how you can help immigrants access legal aid and other forms of assistance....

    The Women’s Refugee Commission is leading national efforts against family separation and child detention to preserve access to asylum, increase use of alternatives to detention, and improve detention conditions.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls Out Border Detainee Centers As 'Concentration Camps'

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    "What we're seeing is a reckless and unprecedented expansion of a system that is punitive, harmful and costly," said Katharina Obser, representing the Women’s Refugee Commission. "The U.S. government is not even doing the bare minimum to ensure [immigrants] are getting the medical care and the mental health care they need."

    President Trump Threatens Mass Deportation Of Immigrants

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    MICHELLE BRANE: This is not a real solution. This isn't going to deter people from coming. We've seen this over and over again. You know, this isn't the first time that this administration has tried to discourage people from seeking protection by being cruel and tearing families apart. That didn't stop people from seeking safety. And so I really don't see why this would.

    (Audio and transcript)

    Women's Refugee Commission has many resources on families facing deportation or separation.

    Kein Krieg auf meinem Körper (No War on My Body) (German)

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    Nach Angaben der Vereinten Nationen erleben jedes Jahr hunderttausende Frauen und Mädchen sexualisierte Gewalt in bewaffneten Konflikten. Der im März 2019 veröffentlichte Bericht der Women's Refugee Commission belegt unter anderem: Frauen, Kinder und Männer, die auf der Flucht von der libyschen Küstenwache aufgegriffen werden, sind in Haftzentren Folterungen und Vergewaltigungen ausgesetzt.

     

    24 Immigrants Have Died in ICE Custody During the Trump Administration

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    “What we’re seeing is a reckless and unprecedented expansion of a system that is punitive, harmful and costly,” said Katharina Obser, senior policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission, an advocacy group. “The U.S. government is not even doing the bare minimum to ensure [immigrants] are getting the medical care and the mental health care they need.”

    ICE Deportations: Optics Meet Reality

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    “There is nothing inherently illegal about trying to arrest and deport people with final [deportation]orders — it’s just operationally difficult,” noted Michelle Brané, director of Migrant Rights and Justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    After deaths of children, Democrats push bill on how border agency should treat migrants

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    Leah Chavla, an international human rights lawyer and policy adviser at the Women's Refugee Commission, has previously said that CBP already has a set of guidelines in place that outline the conditions and resources the agency has to provide to children and other migrants in its custody.

    But unlike laws, guidelines are not binding.

    "It's important to have a critical look at what's going on and how the guidelines can be made binding," Chavla said.

    24 immigrants have died in ICE custody since Trump took office

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    “What we're seeing is a reckless and unprecedented expansion of a system that is punitive, harmful and costly,” said Katharina Obser of the Women's Refugee Commission. “The U.S. government is not even doing the bare minimum to ensure [immigrants] are getting the medical care and the mental health care they need." 

    The Trump Administration Has Let 24 People Die in ICE Custody

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    “What we're seeing is a reckless and unprecedented expansion of a system that is punitive, harmful and costly,” Katharina Obser, a senior policy adviser at the Women’s Refugee Commission, told NBC. “The U.S. government is not even doing the bare minimum to ensure [immigrants] are getting the medical care and the mental health care they need.”