Every day in the news we see images of parents and children who have made a desperate journey to the United States after fleeing violence and persecution in Central America. And every day the Trump Administration attacks these families through demonizing rhetoric and harmful new policies.
People arriving at the U.S. border have the right to request asylum—without being criminalized, forcibly returned to dangerous conditions, or separated from their children. Here are six ways you can fight for America's long tradition of welcome and help asylum seekers:
1. Tell Congress to stand with asylum seekers
Parents and children are being detained along the border, held in harrowing conditions, and then released without the information they need to navigate the asylum process.
Call your Senators today and tell them that the Trump Administration’s treatment of asylum seekers at the border is unjust and inhumane, and that the U.S. must do more to protect families seeking safety.
2. Donate to support the International Rescue Committee's work
When families are released from federal detention, they are traumatized, disoriented and exhausted. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is ramping up its response in border states and beyond to help them find safety and stability: At our center in Phoenix, Arizona, we are providing families with meals, medical attention, legal services, and a safe place to stay as we help them secure housing. We are also assisting asylum-seeking families in Tucson, San Diego, Dallas, New York and New Jersey.
Donate now to support our work at the border and to help us provide critical aid to refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.
3. Spread the word about what's really happening at the border
Families from Central America embark on the journey to the U.S. because they are absolutely desperate and must escape, despite the dangers of the journey and the fear of detention.
Educate your family and friends about what is actually happening at the border, why seeking asylum is legal, and why thousands of people are fleeing to the U.S. from Central America by sharing the facts.
Share our explainer about asylum seekers along the border in your social channels and urge your friends to do the same.
4. Donate items families at the border urgently need
Families fleeing Central America arrive at the border with the few essentials they were able to carry with them. When they are released from detention, they need a change of clothes, a chance to freshen up, and a way to call their loved ones to let them know they are OK.
Shop the IRC Phoenix office wish list or Tucson office wish list to purchase clothing, diapers, toiletries, pre-paid flip phones and other basic items asylum seekers urgently need. We will give these items directly to families in Arizona.
Are you a business looking to support the IRC's work with asylum-seeking families? Get involved by donorservices [at] rescue.org (subject: Corporate%20donations%20for%20asylum%20seekers) (contacting us).
5. Volunteer to welcome families
Share your time and stand for welcome. Volunteers are currently needed to:
- Register asylum seekers as they arrive at the IRC center in Phoenix;
- Discuss asylum seekers' rights with them and answer their questions;
- Help asylum seekers arrange transportation to join relatives in the U.S.;
- Drive them to the bus station or airport;
- Provide other types of support to families seeking asylum.
Review current IRC volunteer opportunities to help asylum seekers and apply. We are seeking volunteers who speak Spanish fluently and can commit to two weeks or more. Volunteers who don't live in the local area will be responsible for their own travel and accommodation.
6. Host a family
The IRC has teamed up with Airbnb to host asylum seekers and refugees in free, temporary housing. You'd provide a safe, and stable place for a family to stay and feel at home in their new communities free of charge. Airbnb also waives all fees. Airbnb's Open Homes Help Center includes links to resources and answers to commonly asked questions, and its team is available to support you if you have any questions as you get ready to host. Learn more and sign up to Open Homes here.