Concentration Camps, How Best to Help? July 1, 2019 7:27 PM   Subscribe

I was hoping we could make a place to talk about the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border and private prison facilities, help each other with the best information and resources, and maybe talk about if people are going to the MoveOn Protest/Rally July 2 or the Indivisible one on July 13 (or is that just Chicago)? Or know of other plans?

It feels like this situation needs Women's March type of organization and urgency, but isn't getting that. (I hope people don't mind the U.S.-centric post.) Also, I thought it might be nice to hear from Mefites nearby who might be planning to attend one of these events?

I would just like to know if someone in this community knows more about the best ways to help in this situation, and to have a place to check for updates if people are interested in that.
posted by Glinn to Other at 7:27 PM (28 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

Hey, if you speak Spanish, they're apparently looking for people to help with intake interviews that would help the asylum speakers.

Another suggestion includes donating frequent flier miles to immigration lawyers (same link).

There was a march in Minneapolis this weekend, but unfortunately it was during a thunderstorm.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:41 PM on July 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

Lights for Liberty is coordinating a bunch of demonstrations on Friday, July 12. They're all over the US and also in a couple of other countries, if non-US-based Mefites want to make their voices heard. (There are a bunch in Canada and also ones in the UK, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, France, Germany, and a virtual demonstration for Peace Corps volunteers.) If you don't see one near you, you can create a local event. My local one has a Facebook group, and they're coordinating transportation for people who need a lift.

Another thing to do is to look for who locally is supporting people at risk of detention and deportation. For me, that's the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project and the Center for Worker Justice. Those local organizations will probably be plugged in to national networks, and they can help you respond both locally and nationally.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:09 AM on July 2, 2019 [12 favorites]

The Texas Tribune has a long list of organizations that are helping, originally posted in 2018 but updated June 2019, in case people can find ways they can help there.
posted by Glinn at 5:17 AM on July 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

Thanks for that link! I donated about 3 flights of AA and Delta miles I've had knocking about that I most likely won't be able to use this year.
posted by larthegreat at 6:30 AM on July 2, 2019 [9 favorites]

Yes, Chicago is one exception to the Lights for Liberty date--we originally had a LfL on the 12 and the rally on the 13 but merged to the 13th for ease of coordinating. For Chicago, there is a rally at Chuy Garcia's office at 3pm today.

More Chicago-specific things: AILA Chicago is very active in placing immigration bond hearings with attorneys who know how (there's limited support for attorneys who don't practice immigration law). CVLS will host guardianship clinics for families at risk of deportation again in the fall. You can memail me for details.
posted by crush at 8:05 AM on July 2, 2019 [6 favorites]

Immigration legal resources are being collected on the MeFi Wiki Get a Lawyer page, including Free and Low-Cost legal assistance directories, Immigration bond funds, Know-Your-Rights explainers, and Hotlines for detention/deportation crisis, ICE Raids, Mexicans in the US, Family Separations, and LGBTQ rights.

I've been curating the page to try to keep it streamlined and to avoid redundancies, and I encourage people to either add to the page or to MeMail me additional resources, especially new legal hotlines, which aren't necessarily easy to find on the currently-listed legal directories.
posted by Little Dawn at 8:44 AM on July 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

Hello Minnesotans!

To keep up with immigration rights and protests, you can follow MIRAC (Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee), the Advocates for Human Rights, the James Bringer Center for New Americans, the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Jewish Community Action, Navigate Minnesota, CAIR-MN (Council on American Islamic Relations) and the Immigrant Freedom Network. (I'm sure there's others; those are just the ones I know.)

You can also follow Detention Watch, which is a national group.

The Minnesota Freedom Fund is an organization which provides bail to low-income people and which has been recommended to me specifically as working with immigrants.

If you follow those, you will hear from people who are organizing against the proposed expansion of the Sherburne County detention facility to hold 500 more immigrants. I think they're still getting started, as I haven't seen too much.

You can volunteer to do court-watching at immigration hearings through The Advocates for Human Rights - you sign up for shifts as often as you have time, go to court (right off the blue line near the airport) and fill out a report about what you see. You do not need to be a lawyer to do this.

Many of these groups need volunteers in other capacities too.

I went to a protest at Amy Klobuchar's office today (had to leave early because the sun was making me sick; there was zero shade and it was very hot). I am going to make some little cards with all the "where to get more information" details for Minnesota to hand out at the next protest, since a lot of people are going to these who are new to activist stuff.
posted by Frowner at 4:02 PM on July 2, 2019 [10 favorites]

Never Again is Now
posted by Glinn at 4:38 PM on July 2, 2019 [12 favorites]

No protest in my town today, will attend the one on the 12th. Portland, Maine has long been a refugee gateway; Maine's African-American population is more likely to have been born in Africa than the US. The town proclaimed Sanctuary Status, and, how about that, just got @250 asylum-seekers bused in from San Antonio. For a town of 70,000, it's a huge deal. But people are donating, money, time, diapers, etc., and about 2/3 of the city is welcoming them. It's a major expense, most people who aren't happy are worried about the cost.
posted by theora55 at 6:03 PM on July 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

I didn't go to the rally today at the Holocaust memorial followed by a march to ICE's headquarters in Boston and I feel shitty about it. Here's my commitment to active participation beyond donations and calling my congresspeople when I next have the opportunity.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:44 PM on July 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

You can support/donate/volunteer with Al Otro Lado.
posted by anya32 at 6:50 AM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you for posting Glinn, dinty_moore and everyone. This has kept me severly worried for weeks and in dire need to do something. I just signed up as a remote intake volunteer!
posted by ipsative at 7:41 AM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have a meeting with the bank in about an hour to redirect all of my retirement investments into non-US funds. I'm also cutting out as much spending on US products and with US companies as I can. It probably amounts to basically nil in terms of effect, but I just want to make sure as close to 0 of my dollars are making their way to the American government as possible.

I had already ruled out travel to the US a while ago, but all that meant for me realistically was vetoing a couple of family vacation spots; no real impact on my life. Time to do a bit more.

Also, the territorial elections here are coming up and I read an important reminder from a friend to support politicians who make plain their support for accepting refugees into our country/territory, but also in providing resources and support for settling them here.
posted by ODiV at 9:58 AM on July 3, 2019 [9 favorites]

Oh sorry, I had meant to write a bit of a preamble about how I'm not American, but this has been on my mind a lot and hopefully I'm welcome to comment with actions I'm taking.
posted by ODiV at 10:14 AM on July 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

Crap, I wish I'd known about being able to donate miles before my miles with American expired a couple months back. But! I mostly flew with Delta the last few years, and probably even have some United miles to throw in. Thanks for letting me know about this, I'm going to repost it and harass my friends to do it too.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:22 AM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

So it looks like there is a Lights for Liberty event in Illinois on Friday July 12th, at McHenry County Jail in Woodstock, the closest detention center to Chicago (sorry could only find FB link). I think that's about 2 hours from Chicago by car.

In fact, there quite a lot of Lights for Liberty events listed for Illinois and in many other cities (including 2 currently listed for Chicago)
posted by Glinn at 4:24 PM on July 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

My husband and I were just having a conversation earlier about at what point do we go on a road trip with some heavy-duty wire cutters.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:02 AM on July 4, 2019 [8 favorites]

A new event from Indivisible Illinois (FB link)
July 6, 2019 Peace Coalition Monthly Peace and Justice Vigil


The Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois/FOR Monthly Vigil for Peace and Justice will be held Saturday, July 6, Noon to 1 P.M. at the corner of Illinois Ave. and Main Street in Carbondale.

I plan to go to one of the July 13 events because it feels like it could make a difference (planning and attendance). Of these smaller events I think they are valuable for a lot of reasons but I'm not sure how effective?

Also, in case you haven't seen it, there is a post on the blue about "Concentration Camps" as a descriptor but also more details and information about all of it.
posted by Glinn at 11:32 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

One of the Fourth of July events I went to had printed letters and addressed and stamped envelopes to email congressional representatives about what was going on at the camps and express our views, asking for them to be stopped. There was some gentle encouragement to sign a letter from people attending, but it wasn't a requirement.

I think incorporating low key activism in one's social activities has several benefits, in raising awareness of the issue, in getting people involved and thinking about things, and in increasing engagement with our representatives. That's not to say other methods of engagement are in anyway less meaningful or important.
posted by gryftir at 1:15 PM on July 5, 2019 [5 favorites]

Does anyone know of an organization that is specifically aimed toward helping the immigrant children who are being kept caged? I'm already donating regularly to an organization dealing with legal issues, and my preliminary research on Charity Navigator didn't quite deliver what was hoping to find.

Maine's African-American population is more likely to have been born in Africa than the US.

Black people who were born in Africa and are now residing in the U.S. are generally considered distinct from African-Americans who were born in the U.S. and are typically descended from American slaves. Many Africa-born Black people take offense at being lumped in with "African-Americans." It might be safer to refer to it as "Maine's Black population" instead.
posted by fuse theorem at 4:36 PM on July 5, 2019 [2 favorites]

Fuse Theorem - That's a tough question. I've spent a little time on it thinking I'd surely seen a fundraiser for such an organization, but no dice. RAICES offers legal aid, but they do have a petition regarding detention of babies.

I've been donating to my local New Sanctuary group - I would think that there's likely a chapter in one of the border towns but I haven't located one.

Even the NYT's recent editorial, explaining how to help, references multiple organizations but primarily legal aid, as far as I can tell.
posted by bunderful at 5:06 AM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Never Again is Now: Chicago Mass Mobilization (FB link)
Monday, July 8, 4pm - 6pm

Again, I can't tell how large or effective this event will be. I've only seen this with 2 days notice.
It is not clear what the plan will be: At 4:00, we will meet at Congress Plaza to gather before we begin our action.

I will watch the info for this one, but so far I am planning to attend a July 12 event in Chicago or McHenry County Jail in Woodstock. (If you are going to one of those, let me know?)

I remember the first Women's March (my first march) and though it was excellent in kicking off the enthusiasm and gains of the midterms, it did not change the actions of the administration (maybe made them worse?).

And I don't see how these new demonstrations are going to change anything either. Do we expect thousands of ICE employees to be fired or find a shred of decency, or for this administration to suddenly act with even the lowest of ethical standards? They started stealing babies a year ago. And not keeping track of them. And they are still doing that, plus a hundred further horrors. Despite that, I encourage us all to try, even if it's just a little bit, even if nothing changes.
posted by Glinn at 12:13 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Lights for Liberty is planning national protests at the camps on July 12.

Iโ€™m doing cleanup work for family in Florida that week, my son and I are planning on driving to Homestead with our signs asking where are all the girls.

Edit add, perhaps the protests donโ€™t accomplish anything in real time, but they do raise awareness, and if nothing else, the political prisoners inside know that someone, anyone sees them, hears them, and is trying to help them.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:23 PM on July 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm participating in a Never Again Is Now action in DC on Tuesday morning at the Capitol. Facebook event here.

The action is being organized by local Jewish activists, in coordination with immigration activists. Non-Jews are very welcome to join in support and solidarity. If you want to help organize, MeMail me.
posted by galaxy rise at 5:30 PM on July 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Another recent FPP about the concentration camps is Some Suburb of Hell, which includes comments with information from organizations mobilizing protests.
posted by Little Dawn at 5:33 PM on July 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thank you, Little Dawn. I am going to quote rue72 from that thread, which speaks to the purpose/effects of the rallies and marches (read the whole comment if you can):

We have to keep speaking the truth now, it's important and helps shape how things will go. The point isn't "reaching" some random asshole in Trump country, it's making a statement to the people who are being terrorized and targeted here in the US, and communicating what's happening to everybody outside the US (including world leaders), and leaving a record of dissent for people in the future to refer back to, whether that future is in a few months or a few years or a few decades or longer. Also, solidarity itself isn't just some heartfelt bullshit, it's politically and concretely important in terms of forming reliable networks of help and resistance, so communicating solidarity is politically and concretely important.
posted by Glinn at 10:54 AM on July 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

I've seen a few reports that some members of congress are exercising some oversight, in addition to legislation (which is slower and harder to pass):

Senator Tammy Baldwin calls for a Senate Health Committee hearing on the health and safety of migrant children

Senator Jeff Merkley calls for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate the deaths of migrant children

Senator Bob Casey and 8 others call for an investigation into federal contractors in charge of migrant children (the others: Senators Brian Schatz, Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal, Michael Bennet and Kamala Harris)

Senator Jeff Merkley calls for the DHS Inspector General to investigate whether DHS officials or staff broke the law in mistreatment and neglect of children in their care

Rep. Elijah Cummings announces two more hearings on child separation

A lot of members of Congress are sponsoring legislation, but oversight is part of their job, too.

If you have time to make phone calls, you can try calling your congresspersons and asking them to use every tool at their disposal - particularly oversight functions - to stop the abuse and hold those responsible accountable.

(I think I'm going to post this in the main politics thread, too; I hope that's okay.)
posted by kristi at 7:01 PM on July 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

The lights for liberty protest near me last night was a great experience - hundreds of people with signs and candles, chants, nuns! I haven't seen nuns at a protest since we were marching against the Iraq war.

In case it's helpful to anyone else, how to make a big, readable protest sign. So so key. A 8x10 piece of paper is not big enough, even big letters on a piece of poster board are hard to read from a distance if you don't do bubble letters. These restickable poster letters are amazing - big enough to be seen from quite a distance, require zero design skill, and you can reuse them for the next protest! This is the kind I used, found them at office depot.
posted by last_fall at 10:59 AM on July 13, 2019 [4 favorites]

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