At the end of 2018, Good Trouble highlights the work of RAICES, the Texas-based non-profit at the frontline of fighting for the rights of immigrant families and children separated at the US border
There are currently an estimated 15,000 migrant children detained at the US border. And while there exists countless tweets, threads and meticulously argued op-eds that locate the political reasons and ramifications for such a fact, it nevertheless remains a fact: there are up to 15,000 children who, at this very moment, are detained in ‘residential centers’ – or, what the children know as “La Perrera" – The Pound.
Horrifically, two children have already died this year: On Christmas Eve, a boy, 8, Felipe Gómez Alonzo, died in US custody. Nearly three weeks earlier, Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, died after she was taken to a Border Patrol station. (NYT)
RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) is a non-profit agency of 130 attorneys, legal assistants, and support staff that spend every day in these detention centers, providing legal representation and social services for these children who, without such help, would be alone both in court and in spirit.
Since 1986, RAICES has met each immigrant crisis as it comes, offering free and low-cost services to immigrant children, families and refugees in Texas. Born out of the Sanctuary Movement in the early 80s, RAICES’s mission has remained the same since: to uplift and give justice to the underserved communities of asylum-seekers. In 2017 alone, RAICES closed 51,000 cases at no cost to the clients. The offered services are as manifold as the problem itself: legal representations for victims of domestic crime, refugee resettlement, community outreach and DACA renewals are among the many legal and social services RAICES offers.
”Immigration has become the defining challenge of our generation. Communities are under attack because U.S. policies are pushing people into the shadows,” said Jonathan Ryan, the Executive Director, “how we respond to this challenge will determine how we are remembered, and who we are.”
The Children’s Program is the largest. Last year, in Texas alone, 76% of kids were unrepresented in immigration court. Unsurprisingly, an unaccompanied child with representation is five times more likely to have a better outcome.
It’s easy to get lost in the scale of the numbers. These countless children become an abstract existence—a pawn in a political game—and perhaps, in the guilt and grief of admitting that our terrifying world would allow for such atrocities, you might even forget about their presence entirely. But RAICES refuses to. So, the next time you’re about to use energy to complain about the grievances of holiday season, why not transform useless words into meaningful donations, and help a cause that will continue to fight for justice from twilight until dawn, and back again.
Thank you to everyone who bought Good Trouble Issue 22, which raised $1500 as a proportion of sales, and which we were happy to send as a contribution to supporting their important work in 2019.
Support the UnAccompanied Children Fund (LEAF)
Find out about some other things you can do to protest and resist family separation