The above image from the East Bay Times shows two young girls of hundreds, mostly Central American immigrant children, in a U.S. Customs holding cell where they are separated by age group and gender. Isolated from their parents, young detainees –even toddlers — languish in uncertain living conditions awaiting processing.
We are repeatedly struck by stinging accounts of children ripped from their families upon crossing the U.S. border, many of whom are seeking asylum from violence in their own countries. Treated as suspect and near-criminals, many of these families should instead be given refugee status.
We as U.S. citizens and residents many times feel powerless to help alleviate the situation of detention experienced by those who are fleeing for their lives. But their is something we can do, as brought to light in an East Bay Times editorial by Cathy Hanville, on behalf of the El Cerrito Progressives (ECP) Racial and Social Justice Committee.
Cathy reminds us of civic options any of us can take:
“One thing we can all do, she says, “is contact our senators and representatives to ask them to go to a detention center where children are being held and document the conditions.”
Cathy goes on to suggest how “we can also ask our members of Congress to refuse to vote on further budget requests or funding for ICE until this family-separation policy ceases.”
We have all witnessed the overall lack of conscience in respect to those who are in need. We see the ‘tent city’ homeless camps under freeway overpasses, we see people asking for help at locations throughout the Bay Area, from fast food locations to BART stations. Many more bikes are on the streets in lieu of unaffordable cars, taxis, even Uber options.
As we work to create a conscious movement towards relief for those in need, we must include actual refugees, as has always — even in hard times — been the “American Way”.
Here we have an El Cerrito resident and civic organization that have not only illuminated the problem, but also devised a viable solution. All we need to do is care.
Information presented in this communication originates from: EAST BAY TIMES – LETTERS TO THE. EDITOR: How we all help child refugees torn from their families at the border.
For more information on civic action in support of families who have been separated at the border, see: EAST BAY TIMES: Father’s Day protest outside Richmond ICE facility decries family-separation policy.