In Phoenix, Arizona, the staff and volunteers at Lutheran Social Services (with help from national advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and FWD.us) are ready for families who are being reunited after the disastrous Trump policy of separating these families at the border, with everything from shoelaces to stuffed animals to pastors on call.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, staffers for FWD.us are preparing to spend another few hours as impromptu travel agents, booking next-day flights from Phoenix to wherever the families are set to go.
The immigrants’ only experience of the US has been at the hands of the Trump administration, which treated the parents as criminals and the children as collateral damage. But advocates and services have stepped in as an impromptu welcoming committee.
They’ve hastily thrown together a system to get families from the parking lots of the local nonprofits in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas where they’re formally “released” by ICE contractors to the towns and cities all across the US where they’ll stay while their cases are under review.
The welcoming committee is trying to ensure that families make their initial check-in dates, something the government is not helping with.
They’re also trying to show another face of the U.S. to the victims of the family separation policy. “The American public is going to step in where the government has failed,” said Alida Garcia, the Coalitions and Policy Director for FWD.us. “It’s going to provide comfort and love and care to these families.”
Donors are bringing in three meals a day — “everything from spaghetti to beans and rice”. Adults and children alike may have had their shoelaces removed while in detention — to prevent self-harm — so they’ll need replacements.
They’ve been awake for a long time, shuttled from detention center, to the ICE processing center, to the intake center, and they’ll need a meal.
This is just one example of how you can help people whose lives have been traumatized by Trump policies. Check out Lutheran Social Services, FWD.us, or the American Civil Liberties Union if you want to help.
You can also share your concerns with your Senators and Congressperson during this congressional recess.