More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents while crossing the border—here's how you can make a difference. 

By Katie Holdefehr
June 18, 2018
John Moore/Getty Images

From April 19 to May 31, nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families while crossing U.S. borders, according to a recent report by the Department of Homeland Security. The news—as well as several photos of children crying at the border—has caused many to take notice, including celebrities, and is inspiring people to want to help these families in need. In an Instagram post at the end of last week, Chrissy Teigen announced that every member of her family was donating $72,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in response and urged her fans to donate. A couple days later, she revealed that over 20,000 of her followers had donated more than $1 million to the ACLU. 

If you're wondering how you, too, can help children separated from their parents crossing U.S. borders, here are some organizations you can donate money to, or volunteer with if your skills are a match.

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ACLU

Founded in 1920, the ACLU's mission is to defend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and U.S. laws. The organization is committed to defending immigrants' rights, including ensuring that asylum seekers are given access to attorneys

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)

Through a Facebook fundraiser, this Texas-based nonprofit has raised more than $3 million. According to the description on the Facebook page, RAICES is the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. The money raised through the fundraiser has two listed goals: (1) to pay the minimum $1,500 bond required to get parents out of detention so they can be reunited with their children while they await court proceedings and (2) to ensure legal representation for children in Texas's immigration courts. Although children have no legal right to a government-funded lawyer in immigration court, RAICES works to help pay for these legal services. 

The Florence Project

This nonprofit legal service organization provides free legal services to adults and children in immigration custody in Arizona. Because government-funded lawyers are not provided for those in immigration removal proceedings, the organization estimates that 86 percent of detainees end up going unrepresented. Depending upon your skills and experience, if you live in Arizona you can also volunteer as a pro bono attorney, translator, researcher, and more. 

Texas Civil Rights Project 

If you speak Spanish and live in Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project is looking for translators for children and their families who can help with the legal intake process. Ready to volunteer? Sign up here

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project

This organization works to prevent the deportation of asylum seekers, or those who come to the U.S. fleeing a violent or dangerous situation, but have not yet been granted refugee status. It both provides emergency legal aid, and manages an online community center to connect formerly detained refugees around the country. 

The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights

Focused specifically on unaccompanied immigrant children, this organization fights for the rights of children who arrive in the United States on their own. Each donation helps pay to provide a Child Advocate for immigrant children. 

Kids in Need of Defense

This organization helps support children who migrate alone in search of safety by making sure that children have access to attorneys when they appear in immigration court. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, KIND reports that it has assisted more than 16,000 children. 

ActBlue

Having trouble choosing between all of the organizations that need your help? ActBlue will split your donation evenly between 14 organizations all focused on supporting kids at the border, including the ACLU and The Florence Project. 

Families Belong Together

Want to raise your voice—both in a protest and by signing petitions? Visit Families Belong Together to find an event near you, or learn how you can protest the separation of immigrant families—even during your lunch break, right from your desk. 

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