Hello, this is Roger Jones coming to you today with a very serious topic, reuniting lost immigrant children with their families. Today is July 3, 2018, one day before the US Independence Day. I will be very pragmatic, not political. Any political opinions you might take away from my comments are mine alone and do not necessarily represent TheX-Press or any other organization I may be associated with.
In the last two months the immigration system in the U.S. separated more than 2,000 immigrant children from their families. Most parents were placed in detention and the children were moved into facilities across the U.S. It seems that no records were kept on the separations, so that the children, many of whom are pre-vocal, have no way of being identified with their parents.
The parents who are detained must place bond before they are allowed to reunite with their children. Some of the families entered the U.S. quite legally seeking asylum. The others entered the U.S. without documentation, which is a misdemeanor. Many of the parents do not speak English. Also, many are illiterate in both English and Spanish and quite incapable of dealing with the immigration system without help.
The very first obstacle that must be overcome to reunite the children with the families is to remove the parents from detention. This can be done with a bond. A bond releases the parents from detention. Once free, they are allowed to seek out their children, which is another set of hurdles.
What can we do? The current rate-limiting step is getting the parents out of jail. This requires bond money. However, bond money does not spend itself effectively without expert help. Lawyers are required to represent the parents and pay the bond. With bond, legal fees, and transportation, a typical case costs $2,500 to $15,000 dollars even if the lawyer is operating pro bono. Legal assistance is then needed to work the immigration system to find the children and match them to their parents.
I found a handful of organizations that are involved in this type of work. I narrowed the list down to two.
Raices ( https://www.facebook.com/raicestexas/ ), based in Texas, typically has a budget of $7 million. When the crisis hit, they ramped up quickly. They currently have over $20 million in funding.
KIND ( https://www.facebook.com/supportkind/ ) was founded by the Microsoft Corporation and UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, and is the “leading national organization that works to ensure that no refugee or immigrant child faces immigration court alone.” I do not see on their website, however, any reference to providing bail and legal services to parents.
I am sorry I do not have more information, but, like many of you, I am still struggling to get the information we need. I put the links below in the comments section. You know what to do. Thank you for traveling with me in space-time. Good day.