At least 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border — here's how to help

Getty ImagesUndocumented migrants wait for asylum hearings outside of the port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico on Monday, June 18, 2018.

This spring, the Trump administration enacted what may be its most controversial immigration policy yet.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now enforcing “zero-tolerance” regulations on those who enter the US without documentation. Under the new policy, any migrant who attempts to cross the border will be prosecuted, even if they are victims of domestic abuse or gang violence seeking asylum.

The result is that, according to DHS figures, ICE has separated at least 2,000 migrant children from their parents, who are awaiting hearings in separate detention facilities and shelters.

While Trump recently signed an executive order intended to keep families at the border together, it’s unclear what will happen in practice. Several organisations are now working to help the families with legal assistance, translation services, children’s safety, and other necessities.

You can learn more about them below.


RAICES provides affordable legal assistance to immigrants and migrants.

RAICES/Facebook

Based in San Antonio, Texas, theRefugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) has attorneys who provide affordable legal services to immigrant and refugee families.

Here’s how to volunteer or donate money to support the national nonprofit’s work.


The ACLU defends immigrant rights.

ACLU/Facebook

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a national nonprofit, works to protect the civil liberties of immigrants. With local affiliates in all 50 states, the organisation is filing cases in both state and federal courts.

Here’s how to donate, sign ACLU petitions, and become a member.


The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights supports the safety and well-being of unaccompanied minors entering the US.

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights/Facebook

Based in Chicago, the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights advocates for kids who cross the border. The national nonprofit recently launched a project geared toward helping children separated from their parents at the border.

Learn more about how to donate here.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association provides free lawyers to migrants in need.

Getty Images/John MooreCentral American asylum seekers wait as U.S. Border Patrol agents take groups of them into custody on June 12, 2018 near McAllen, Texas.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association helps migrants with asylum screenings, bond hearings, ongoing asylum representation, and more.

The national organisation will soon post a volunteer list for immigrant lawyers who wish to represent families at the border.


Kids in Need of Defence makes sure that migrant children have lawyers.

Kids in Need of Defence works to ensure that kids appear in immigration court with legal representation. The national nonprofit also lobbies for policies that push for immigrant childrens’ legal interests.

Here’s how to donate.


Pueblo Sin Fronteras gives medical aid to migrants on the border.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras/Facebook

The binational nonprofit Pueblo Sin Fronteras provides humanitarian aid, caravans, and shelter to migrants coming to the US. The organisation is currently assisting families awaiting hearings.

Here’s how to donate.


The Women’s Refugee Commission works to protect immigrant women and children fleeing violence.

The Women’s Refugee Commissionadvocates for the rights and protection of women, children, and young adults fleeing violence and persecution.

The group is asking for donations to assist separated families who are seeking asylum – and has published a list of five actions people can take that go beyond monetary donations.


CLINIC’s Defending Vulnerable Populations works with local organisations that provide legal help to migrant families.

CLINIC’s (Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.) has a project called Defending Vulnerable Populations, which offers case assistance to hundreds of smaller, local organisations that help migrant families and children.

Here’s how to donate.


TheĀ Kino Border InitiativeĀ gives humanitarian aid to people on the border.

The Kino Border Initiative provides humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

The team is now collecting supplies and monetary donations that will go to migrant families.


Here are more regional organisations accepting donations:

The Texas Civil Rights Project supplies lawyers who speak Spanish and native Central American languages to migrants on trial in Texas. The organisation is now looking for volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistant experience.

The Legal Aid Justice Centeris a Virginia-based nonprofit providing unaccompanied children legal services and representation.

Together Rising is another Virginia-based organisation offering legal assistance for 60 migrant children who were separated from their parents and are currently detained in Arizona.

In Maryland, DC, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, CASA helps children with legal services.

The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center represents all of the immigrant kids who the US government put in foster care in Michigan. Most of their current clients are separated minors. The nonprofit works to find their parents and formulate next steps.

In the Northwest US, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is defending the rights of immigrants through legal services, policy advocacy, and community education.

The Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative created a guide for Texas organisations offering legal services to separated children, as well as resources for local advocates, lawyers, and volunteers.

The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network provides legal representation to immigrant children and their families who have been victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment, trafficking, and violence. They work with those detained in Aurora, Colorado.

To recommend an organisation we may have missed, please get in touch at [email protected]

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.