The board of Indivisible Austin joins with those fighting for the rights of immigrants in condemning the administration’s decision to make it harder for immigrants to become citizens. The final version of the public charge rule, which will go into effect in 60 days, was announced on the heels of the horrific act of domestic terrorism in El Paso perpetrated on the Latino community. The rule is part of the administration’s calculated plans to make America less diverse and less welcoming to those seeking to build a better life. In Texas, where more than one in four of our children live with immigrant parents, the impact can’t be overstated. President Trump doesn’t stand alone in attempting to push this racist vision on our country. Our Republican elected officials who are silent in the face of his anti-immigrant policies — or who directly support him — aid him in doing so. They bear responsibility for the ongoing affliction of these harms on the immigrants we call our neighbors and friends. It is up to all Texans who support the promise of the United States to ensure those elected officials feel the impact of these decisions at the ballot box.
The week of June 24, House Democrats will vote on a bill to provide the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with additional funding. The Senate will also be voting on its own bill, which will contain nearly $5 billion for DHS.
This is money that Trump can use to expand his detention and deportation machine. This is in the same week that Trump has threatened to launch nationwide arrests of immigrants. We’ve seen that Trump will use every dollar he is given to terrorize communities and lock up families.
Tell your Members of Congress (MoC) in the House and Senate and demand that they not give Trump any additional money for enforcement.
The House PASSED Rep. Joaquin Castro’s resolution to end the Fake National Emergency. Now it goes to the Senate. Ultimately it will need a veto-proof majority. So write your senators now!
Trump declared a national emergency to build his vanity wall after signing the funding bill that will lead to even more detention, deportation, and family separations at the border.
But Congress has the power to act! They can pass a resolution contesting the status of the national emergency — that’s part of the National Emergencies Act of 1976.
In addition to calling, emails are an effective way to reach your elected representatives. If your reps don’t appear in these campaigns, you can usually find a contact form on their website. Another alternative is ResistBot, which allows you to contact your reps via text message, Twitter, or Facebook—it’s fun!
Update: If you can’t make it to the rally, sign up to phone bank instead!
Hosted by TX10 Indivisible
WHEN: Wed. Jan. 23 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: This is the Chase Tower on the corner of 6th and Congress. The tower has paid parking, and the 801 and 803 CapMetro buses stop nearby.
WHAT: Federal workers are working for free and struggling to pay their bills. National parks are being desecrated. Court trials are being postponed. Tax refunds may be delayed. Where is Sen. Cornyn in this? Pinning the blame on Democrats and holding out for a pointless and destructive $5 billion wall.
Asked by the Washington Post whether he was receiving a lot of calls to end the shutdown, Cornyn replied “not many, not many.” Let’s send a message he can’t ignore! Visit Cornyn’s office in downtown Austin and tell his staff the government needs to re-open, and we don’t want Trump’s ridiculous wall. Bring letters or postcards to the Senator as well.
The Trump Administration is currently detaining more than 14,000 migrant children across the country. An estimated 2,400 of them are at the West Texas Detention Facility in Tornillo, Texas, 40 miles east of El Paso. The children in Tornillo are asylum seekers between the ages of 13-17, most from Central American countries hoping to be reunited with relatives in the US; they are officially unaccompanied, although some traveled with relatives such as aunts and uncles and were separated at the border.
Like everything this administration does, the detention of youthful asylum seekers is as chaotic and dehumanizing as possible. They are housed in large tents and given limited recreation, no education, and nearly no help preparing asylum claims. Speaking to the Texas Tribune, Tornillo schools Superintendent Rosy Vega-Barrio stated “we have the same access that the whole world has, which is none.” Water provided to the children is over-chlorinated to the point of foaming as it exits the tap, and they struggle to choke it down. Staff and the rare visitors are provided bottled water. BCFS Health and Human Services, a faith-based organization that runs Tornillo, states that the cost of running the facility is $750 per night per child.
Pictured: guards leading children away from activists singing and waving flags into a large tent. Photo credit: Calvin MacDougal
Pictured: activists walking the perimeter of the detention center. Photo credit: Vanessa MacDougal
Pictured: water source for Tornillo detainees. Photo credit: Joshua Rubin
Pictured: activists returning soccer balls which the guards have refused to retrieve. Photo credit: Vanessa MacDougal
Release of the detainees is similarly chaotic and confusing. ICE has typically coordinated with local shelters when freeing people. However, in the last week, they have dropped off approximately 800 people at the El Paso Greyhound station. Local charities such as Annunciation House were not informed in advance of the huge influx. The former detainees were not provided with bus tickets or appropriate clothing for the chilly weather. Due to the shutdown, ICE is not responding to requests for information about why they chose this path of action.
What You Can Do
There is, and will continue to be, a group of protesters and activists outside the facility. All who are able to participate are welcome. Unfortunately, Tornillo is very remote from nearly everything, including Austin, so this is probably not possible for most people. Keep the pressure up locally! Call our Senators and US Representatives, and visit their offices. Rep. Will Hurd, whose district includes Tornillo, has called on the Trump administration to close the facility, so other Republicans may also be open to persuasion. The shameful human rights abuses and the staggering cost are both good talking points.
By August 7: Tell the Census Bureau to remove its citizenship question from the 2020 census form
For the first time since 1950, the Census Bureau will ask all U.S. households about citizenship status, specifically, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”
Because of the rapid growth in the Texas population in the last decade, Texas is poised to gain up to three new congressional representatives and millions of dollars for our state. However, the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census could prove to be a barrier between this new representation and funding if many Texans are concerned about filling out the Census because of the climate of fear caused by today’s politics.
The Census is not intended to count the number of U.S. citizens in each state. The Census is intended to count every person in the state regardless of their citizenship status.
Tell Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos to give high school students the vote
From the Texas Observer:
“Abysmal compliance with a decades-old state law is leaving at least 180,000 high school seniors off the current voter rolls, according to a new report.”
“The authors of the report…call on the secretary of state’s office to automatically send the forms to schools, rather than requiring administrators to request them; offer online trainings for voter registrars; and create a publicly available database showing which schools are registering students.”
Contact Secretary Pablos:
Phone: (512) 463-5555
Tell Cornyn and Cruz: No Kavanaugh hearings before midterms
Our dear old friends John Cornyn and Ted Cruz sit on the Judiciary Committee, deciding things like whether hearings can be held on a Supreme Court nominee whose millions of pages of records have not been released. The National Archives needs until October to compile the initial request from Senator Grassley—which still does not include records from Kavanaugh’s time in the White House. Yet, the GOP-controlled Senate appears to be pushing for September hearings.
Celeste Pewter has a script just for Judiciary Committee members:
I am asking [Cruz/Cornyn] to commit to a thorough vetting and questioning of Judge Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the Supreme Court.
We need to know where Judge Kavanaugh stands on key legal rulings, his conduct and ethics in office, and his employment track record. This includes a full recounting of his documents while serving as staff secretary for President Bush White and all documents available from the National Archives.
With that in mind, I’m calling on [Cruz/Cornyn] to ensure that the National Archive has until October to finish their full review of documents—as requested. We cannot and should not proceed without a full picture of Kavanaugh’s background.
How your voices are making a difference
- In Austin, local activists and lawmakers pressured ICE to drop a request to detain a woman jailed two weeks ago for assault while she was experiencing a mental heath crisis
- A record number of states are introducing reform measures to combat partisan gerrymandering
- A federal judge ruled that Donny must fully restore DACA
- Thursday, Aug. 9, 8:30-9:30 AM, 1105 N IH35 – Indivisible Rosedale Huddle brings us banner drops Thursdays this August. This week: make Ted sweat his constituents! (Facebook event)
- Saturday, Aug. 11, 11AM-11PM, Fiesta Gardens (festival) & Texas State Capitol > Congress Ave (parade) – Happy Pride, Austinites! Free parade portion runs 8-11 PM, starting at the Capitol, continuing down Congress onto 4th (Facebook event) More events at the Austin Pride website and the Chronicle’s Gay Place roundup.
- Save the Date: Monday, Aug. 27, 9AM-2PM, Robert B. Rowling Hall, 300 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd – Texas Disability Issues Forum (TDIF) brings together members of the Texas disability community, major candidates for statewide office, and disability advocates (Event link at REV UP!)
Countdown: 91 Days to November 6
With only thirteen weeks between now and midterms, every hour of effort, every weekend of work counts. This week, add your drop to the growing #BlueWave:
Ask three people you know or meet if they are registered to vote at their current address. If they’re not sure, help them check using the Texas Secretary of State’s tool here. If they aren’t registered, help them change that by reaching out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get them in touch with an Indivisible VDR. If they or you have any questions about voter registration, please use the same address!
Texas is overwhelmingly a non-voting state. Changing that reality starts by changing our shared culture—which also means talking (early and often!) about voting.
Congress Critter of the Week: Rep. Pete Sessions
Pete Sessions isn’t one of ours, but he is a representative from Texas, and he did hit peak Republican this week.
In attempting to explain his virtuous view of how to handle divorce proceedings, Pete managed to blame, for her own murder, a woman killed by her husband. He also blamed the divorce court judge—because they were unfair to the wealthy, presumably white, man.
His own words explain why he’s this weeks Critter better than we can:
“A big-time guy in Highland Park, who went and killed his wife, just gunned her down. And that was because the judge was unfair, and the woman was unfair. And she demanded something, and he was out. And it was frustration.”
Running against Pete Sessions in TX-32 is Colin Allred, who was just endorsed by President Obama.
Your Moment of Zen
It could’ve happened in Austin, but didn’t: 118 goats freely roamed a Boise, ID, neighborhood on Friday after escaping the enclosures of the local We Rent Goats business.
— Joe Parris (@KTVBJoe) August 3, 2018
Funding the Fight
They say an army marches on its belly. That’s true for an army of block walking canvassers, phone bankers, and letter writers too.
Be a part of the movement by making a contribution today! Your gift of $25 or $50 could provide the coffee and breakfast tacos that get us and America over the line.
Tell your reps that Trump must be rebuked for his comments in Helsinki
But first, here’s Lyin’ Cornyn:
“Nobody disputes the fact that they were unsuccessful in changing a single vote or affecting the outcome.”
—Sen. John Cornyn, speaking on the Senate floor after Trump’s abysmal, traitorous performance in Helsinki.
It’s a lie. And a common lie among Republicans unwilling to accept an uncomfortable truth: that Russian information warfare might very well have swung the election to Trump.
Because it seems like a year ago, read the Washington Post’s chronology of the Helsinki debacle to refresh your memory. Then, call your reps!
(with a hat tip to Celeste Pewter)
- Censure the President for his remarks.
- We need new, bipartisan sanctions—stronger than the previous ones, and actually enforced.
- Get a transcript of what was said privately between Trump and Putin.
- Support legislation to protect the Mueller investigation.
- The translator and the U.S. national security team that accompanied Trump to Helsinki must testify on Capitol Hill.
- Condemn any suggestion of, or hesitation over, Russia interrogating members of our intelligence community.
- A second meeting with Putin—at the White House, no less—sends exactly the wrong message. It’s galling.
Bonus script for Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos:
“Given the additional indictments concerning attempts to hack into our election system, and with November midterms coming up, I would like to know how Secretary Pablos is protecting the integrity of elections in Texas.”
Tell John Cornyn and Ted Cruz that Brett Kavanaugh’s White House records must be released
During Elena Kagan’s nomination process, 11,000 of her emails and 160,000 documents from her tenure in the Clinton White House were released to the public. So why would Brett Kavanaugh—who served in the George W. Bush White House—be treated any differently? That is the question for Senators Cornyn and Cruz, both of whom serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Call and ask them. We have a right to know.
Ryan Bounds' racially-charged college writings convinced Republicans to oppose his nomination to the 9th Circuit. How can Republicans possibly argue that Brett Kavanaugh's records from the WHITE HOUSE aren't relevant to a Supreme Court nomination? #ReleaseTheRecords
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) July 19, 2018
Our government continues to separate families at the border and putting toddlers on trial—demand a stop to it!
The Russia news overshadowed the ongoing border crisis last week. It’s important to remain focused on the cruelty that the Trump administration continues to inflict on blameless children and their frequently desperate parents. July 26th is the court-ordered deadline to reunite most families. The Texas Tribune has expanded its coverage at the border. Get caught up—and then call your reps.
“The Trump administration has summoned at least 70 infants to immigration court for their own deportation proceedings since Oct. 1, according to Justice Department data provided to Kaiser Health News.”
“On the brink of being released from detention and reunited with children separated from them sometimes months ago, migrant parents are held at a South Texas facility in a sort of limbo — not free to leave, but without access to phones or commissary accounts that regular detainees get.”
How your voices are making a difference
- Will Hurd penned a startlingly frank op-ed
- A federal judge temporarily halted deportations of families
- The big angry Trump baby is coming to America
#BeATexasVoter Phone Bank with Indivisible founders and co-executive directors Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin
Sunday, Jul. 29, 1-3 PM, Austin History Center Come join Indivisible Austin and our special guests, Indivisible founders and co-executive directors Leah Greenberg and Ezra Levin, at our #BeATexasVoter kickoff phone bank! We’ll be just about 100 days out from the November midterms, and we’re celebrating by calling prospective voters to make sure they know why this election is so important, and to get them engaged NOW so they’re ready to go to the polls as soon as early voting starts. There will be snacks and swag for all phone bankers!
YOU WILL NEED TO BRING:
- a laptop or tablet
- your cellphone
If you’ve never participated in a phone bank, it’s easy! We’ll teach you!
- Thursday, Jul. 26, 11 AM-12:30 PM, NeWorlDeli – IATX Women’s Coffee Meetup (Facebook event)
From Republican strategist John Weaver:
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) July 19, 2018
Moment of Zen
It’s record-breakingly hot in Austin this week. Elsewhere, Buttercup the bulldog enjoyed a kiddie pool of ice:
Funding the Fight
You made it! You’re all the way at the bottom of the email, but if you look back at the top you’ll see something very important: Help Lead Indivisible Austin’s GOTV Work.
We have to knock on doors, call, text, mail, organize and build community throughout Central Texas to do our part to bring some accountability and decency to DC and to our own capitol here in Austin.
You know how important this is. Be a part of the solution by supporting our efforts NOW so we can bring change in November.
Support for sanctuary is building
On May 10, the Austin City Council unanimously passed the ASN sponsored resolution. In short, the City expressed its support of ASN’s efforts to safeguard Alirio, Hilda and Ivan and to obtain Stays of Deportation for all three. On June 4, the City Council of Durham, NC passed a similar resolution. Unanimously, they resolved to ask their U.S. Representatives to intervene in support of two fathers in Sanctuary.
Please get involved
The Trump’s Administration policy demands a response. Its intent could not be clearer. A forceful agenda of cruelly separating children from their parents at the border, raiding workplaces, rounding up undocumented immigrants and deportation proceedings has left families without one, and in some cases, both parents. Further, Attorney General Session’s has instructed Immigration Judges to disregard domestic abuse and gang violence as reasons to grant asylum and his enforcers “to start looking at churches and other zones.” These directives will negatively impact thousands of refugees. A forceful movement opposing these actions is essential. Please get involved. Stay informed, support ASN, participate in its efforts, write your Congress-person and urge others to do the same.
News of Hilda, Ivan and Alirio
During this month’s ASN meeting, Hilda and Alirio moved us deeply as they spoke about their frustration and discouragement on being confined for so long — Over ten months for Alirio, around two years for Hilda and her 10 year old son, Ivan. In other news, ASN is arranging a meeting with ICE to request a stay of deportation for all of them.
Call for volunteers
We need volunteer drivers to take our immigrant friends to appointments in San Antonio as they go to court hearings, ankle monitor appointments, and ICE check-ins. Your help would also help lighten the emotional burden of our friends. If you are interested, please email Peggy at email@example.com.
Next ASN meeting
Tuesday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m., at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover Avenue.
- Donate to help with the organization of the Austin Families Belong Together and FREE Rally on June 30th.
- Quick reminder for MONDAY’s #txlege hearing on Red Flag laws and safe gun storage. More information from Moms Demand Action >>
Today we’re sharing all the information we have so far about confirmed events on the border in Texas in the coming days, as well as events in Austin. Please send any additional event information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not from the border communities and you’re headed down for the day or a few days, please consider how your actions will impact people who live in these communities everyday. Please consider how your actions will impact the community organizations that have been working with immigrants families for generations. We all have a deep desire to help and to take action, but we believe that it’s incredibly important to follow the lead of those who have been in this fight for many years, and who best understand the needs of their own communities.
Events in the Austin Area
June 26 – Jericho March: Tear down the walls dividing families
9:30 – 11 AM
710 S Main St.
Join Grassroots Leadership for a show of moral force as faith leaders and women formerly detained testify before County Commissioners. Immediately following testimony, we will march outside and circle the walls of the County Courthouse 7 times, as in the Old Testament Joshua circled the walls of Jericho and they came tumbling down. We call for the walls of the detention center and the power structures that uphold it to be torn down. Let’s reunite these families and end prosecutions of people seeking safety and a better life.
June 27 – HABLA Platica: Families Belong Together!/¡Familias Unidas No Divididas!
7:30 – 9 a.m.
Juan in a Million
2300 E Cesar Chavez St., Austin, Texas 78702
We will have a distinguished panel of guests discussing the latest status of efforts to reunite children with their families, fundraising efforts and calls to action. Please join us for this important HABLA platica! HISPANIC ADVOCATES BUSINESS LEADERS OF AUSTIN (HABLA) is a “THINK TANK” group and forum made up of local Hispanic/Latino community and business leaders committed to discussing and developing sustainable solutions on current affairs, public policies and quality of life issues impacting our local Austin Hispanic/Latino community.
June 30 – Families Belong Together and FREE Rally
12 – 3 p.m.
Texas State Capitol
On June 30, we’re joining with people rallying in Washington, D.C. and around the country to tell Donald Trump and his administration to end this cruel and inhumane zero tolerance policy, to end dehumanizing immigrants and migrants, and to end family detention and separation.
June 30 – REUNITE FAMILIES, STOP HUMANITARIAN ABUSES
10 a.m. to noon
Congressman Bill Flores’ Bryan District Office
3000 Briarcrest Dr, Ste 406, Bryan, Texas 77802
Join the the national march of FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER in our sister vigil in Bryan/College Station. Meet on the Briarcrest sidewalk in front of the Wells Fargo building to show support for those 2,300 children who have been needlessly separated from their parents at our border in the last several weeks, and to demand a better alternative to Trump’s current, cruel executive order.
Events to Support Immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley
June 25 – Parents Everywhere Care
10 AM – 2 PM
Ursula Child Detention Center (3700 Ursula Ave)
This event is being organized by a grassroots group of individuals. Although originally the rally was focused on the practice of separating children from parents, following the Trump administration’s executive order, one of the event organizers stated that the event would continue in opposition to the “indefinite jailing and detention of individuals and families.”
June 28 – Vigil for Claudia Gomez Gonzalez
7 PM – 9 PM
Harlon Block Sports Complex (1020 W. 18th St)
This event, which is being co-organized by the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, the RGV No Border Wall Coalition, and La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), will seek to “bring awareness to the injustices and transgressions of Border Patrol on border communities and honor the lives of those that have passed.”
June 23 – March to Defend Families! Immigration Reform
12 PM – 2 PM
Location Details: International Gateway Bridge-Port of Entry, Brownsville, TX
Meeting Place: Xeriscape Park, Brownsville TX. (Front of the International Gateway Bridge in the Flag area.)
This event is being organized by Frontera Progressives, a group that states it came together after the 2017 Women’s March around issues regarding the “assault on peace, justice, equality and the environment.” According to a press release, Frontera Progressives is organizing this event “to demand an end to the Trump administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy, for fair treatment of asylum seekers according to international norms, and for the immediate reuniting of families separated by the administration’s separation policy.”
June 28 – Families Belong Together Rally at the Border
11 AM – 2 PM
Linear Park (1501 E 7th St.)
Brownsville, TX 78520
Organized by the ACLU Border Rights Center. According to the Facebook event page, “families, advocates, and allies will hold a rally in the park across the street from the Brownsville Federal Court, where immigrants are being prosecuted en masse for crossing the border into the United States, and then separated from their children.” The event is being co-organized by a wide coalition of organizations.
Bus Transportation will be available from the following locations and is limited, click the following links to reserve your spot:
San Antonio Waitlist: https://goo.gl/forms/mY8hbPUrcqElekdD2
Events in the Tornillo/El Paso Area
June 23 – Physicians & Nurses March to Tornillo: Families Belong Together!
9:30 – 11 a.m.
18051 Island Guadalupe Rd, Fabens, TX 79838
Texas physicians & nurses will MARCH in support of keeping families together and ending this immoral and cruel practice of separating children from their parents. We have a responsibility to these children to first, DO NO HARM.
June 24th – #EndFamilyDetention Action
9 – 11 a.m.
Tornillo Port of Entry, El Paso, TX
Led by Voto Latino. “For thousands of children in detention centers, nothing has changed. This is why we will be in Tornillo, TX on June 24 at 9am. We demand a PLAN and a PROMISE that these children will be REUNITED with their families. Moreover, reunification in DETENTION CENTERS is not a solution. Jailing families together is trauma as well.”
***OVERNIGHT BUS FROM AUSTIN leaves at 10 p.m. Saturday night from UT campus***
Email Irving with Voto Latino to reserve your spot.
June 27th – Direct Action to Stop and #AbolishICE
Led by United We Dream. “Our fight to reunite families continues. We won’t rest until immigrant detentions across the state and the country end, UNTIL the profiting from the suffering of families ends and until Congress abolishes ICE & CBP to end the perpetration of abuse, violence, and deaths towards immigrant youth and families. We demand #FreedomForImmigrants and that Congress Defund ICE & CBP.”
Join NETA to deliver food/water to asylum seekers stuck at ports of entry or donate to them here – People currently showing at ports of entry seeking asylum are being denied that right. When they arrive, officers tells them that the port of entry is at capacity and that they’re not processing asylum applicants. This backlog has created long lines of people (+50) who have essentially been living on the bridge, patiently waiting their turn. They’ve been sleeping on the hard concrete floors and have been enduring the Texas heat that reaches up to 110 degrees. Some have been there anywhere from 5 to 17 days, and they arrive with nothing. Join NETA to take these individuals food, water, and other necessities.
Volunteer at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen – Sacred Heart Church is working around the clock to help migrants who have been provisionally cleared and released by Border Protection with temporary papers a future court date (and an ankle monitor in tow). After being processed they are dropped off at the McAllen bus terminal where they wait before leaving to their next destination. The church picks up people from the bus terminal, brings them to their welcome center, and offers them their first warm meal, a bath, a change of clothes, hygiene products, a call home, and assistance with translating their paper work and travel itinerary. They need volunteers to help assist and prepare items for families.
Be a Volunteer Attorney with ProBar or donate to them here – ProBar, the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project. This is a project of the American Bar Association, and they are currently supporting over 1,000 ‘unaccompanied children’ in detention centers. They’re also working hard to reconnect these children with their parents. They’re looking for volunteer attorneys who could help with these children prepare for credible fear interviews (will take several days to a week), and in the longer term help with assistance for bond cases (some of this work could be remote, but would have to be periodically present). I’ve created the google doc above to try to help them identify volunteer attorneys.
Help Texas Civil Rights Project take declarations from families or donate to them here – Everyday, TCRP is taking declarations from families and need help with intake efforts in Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso and Alpine. They’re able to train people and organize legal intakes in these cities. They also need help in McAllen with interviewing families. Note — Volunteers are required to speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistance experience.
Like everyone else, you’re probably wondering WHAT CAN I DO? One thing you can do is to write a letter to the editor (LTE) to your local paper. It may not get published, but if a LOT of people write on the same issue, there’s a good chance some of those letters will get published.
Most papers limit the length of LTEs to 150-250 words. You can usually find the guidelines and a submission portal or email address on the Opinion page of your local paper’s website. If you are feeling REALLY motivated and have a lot to say, consider extending your letter into an op-ed, which has a more generous 600-700 word limit.
This is a sample letter to the editor on family separation at the border. Feel free to use it to help you craft your own. Please note, it includes elements that are common to successful LTEs:
- Facts to build an argument
- An emotional hook to pull the reader in
- A call to action to those in power & our fellow citizens
On May 6, Donald Trump chose to create a humanitarian and moral crisis by implementing a policy to have children of border-crossers taken from their parents. Since then, more than 2,000 children, including infants and children with disabilities, have been stolen away. All this to deter future border crossings and, more importantly, to use as leverage against Democrats.
Americans have risen to the challenge of this crisis, in part because, for now, the media has found the courage to call lies lies and stay focused. We have been horrified at the pictures of children being taken from their parents and put in cages. Our hearts have broken at the sounds of children in custody crying out for their parents, because we know their cries will go unanswered.
Trump bowed slightly to pressure, signing a vague order, mostly to relieve pressure from the media. At best, it will result in families being held in prison together, possibly for years. At worst, Trump will resume stealing children from their parents after the 20-day limit for family detention expires. Regardless, the order does nothing to reunite the families already torn apart. Trump created this crisis. He can and must choose to fix it. We must put even more pressure on to reverse the policy and reunite the children and parents. Remember, that little girl looking up at her mother still doesn’t know what’s happening. The children crying for their parents on the audio recording still haven’t been answered. This isn’t over.
Other topics you might want to build an LTE around:
- No compelling reason for instituting this policy.
- 99% of families given temporary status, plus a modicum of guidance, show up for their court hearing (plus it’s cheaper than detention): https://www.womensrefugeecommission.org/images/zdocs/The-Real-Alternatives-to-Detention-FINAL-06-27-17.pdf
- Family detention is not a solution
- The law already limits it: https://supportkind.org/resources/flores-settlement-myth-v-fact/
- PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS AN OLD ARTICLE THAT SPEAKS TO THE PROBLEMS OF FAMILY DETENTION. Family detention is ongoing in the Karnes and Dilley detention centers, where mothers are incarcerated with their children
- The only winners are private prison companies, who donate to Trump