“On the afternoon of their second day in detention, two male agents entered the cell. “They didn’t say anything,” Rivera told me. “They just walked over and grabbed Jairo. It felt like my son was stuck to me. He clung to me, cried and screamed. They had to pull him away.” She pleaded with the agents to tell her what was going on. The other women in the cell were too stunned to speak, Rivera told me. In the next few hours, the agents started taking other children, too.” – “In ICE Detention, a Honduran Woman Fears Deportation Without Her Son,” a report in the The New Yorker
The practice of family separation at the borders is traumatizing and cruel, and we strongly oppose it. Warehousing children in cages is barbaric and cruel, and we strongly oppose it.
Here are five things you can do to take action in Pennsylvania.
Protest in Person
On June 30, protests against family separation will take place all over the country.
According to this list of events, Pennsylvania-based protests are being planned in Doylestown, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and State College, so far.
11AM, Old Bucks County Courthouse
Noon, Grant Building – Sen. Toomey’s office
Noon, Location TBA
- State College
Noon, Allen St. Gates
On June 20, Speak Up During Lunchtime for Change
Families Belong Together is calling for American citizens to take simple and specific actions like making phone calls and signing petitions to speak out against family separation during lunchtime on Wednesday, June 20. Check the list of actions here.
Call Congress Right Now
Public pushback is already making a difference by putting pressure on Congress to end the practice.
Find the phone number for your U.S. House Representative here, then contact them to urge them to act to stop the practice of family separation. If they are taking action and speaking out, thank them for doing so.
According to Vox, there is currently only one bill in the U.S. Senate that would halt family separation. Introduced on June 8, the Keep Families Together Act would ban the separation of families at the border unless there is evidence that a child is being trafficked or abused by their parents. The bill is supported by American Academy of Pediatrics, Kids In Need of Defense, Children’s Law Center, and the Women’s Refugee Commission.
You can check who has signed on to the bill here.
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey is listed as a co-sponsor. Contact Senator Casey through his website, by calling him at (202) 224-6324, faxing him through FaxZero, tweeting or posting on Facebook and thank him.
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey is not currently listed as a co-sponsor. Contact Senator Toomey through his website, by calling him at (202) 224-4254, faxing him through FaxZero, tweeting or posting on Facebook and urge him to oppose family separation.
Act Locally to #ShutDownBerks
Children and families aren’t only detained at the border.
The Berks County Detention Center, known officially as the Berks County Residential Center, is a prison for immigrant families, where children as young as two-weeks-old have been incarcerated right here in Pennsylvania. Learn more here.
Fight Anti-Immigrant State Policy Proposals
Pay attention and advocate against anti-immigrant state legislation advancing through the Pennsylvania Legislature. Review a list of bills and their status here.
The Women’s Law Project is a public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.
We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.