The separations at the border began earlier this year when Sessions decreed that all people caught crossing into the U.S. illegally be put to trial. Under that policy, adults were sent to jail under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, while children have been held in facilities run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Since the policy was implemented, over 2,000 children have been separated, according to government figures.
Many people are appalled and upset with the Trump administration, including Charlotte and Dave Willner, who had seen the pictures of migrant children crying at the border. One image in particular caught their attention, reminding them of their own two-year-old daughter.
As Donald Trump’s administration continued to jail migrant parents caught crossing the border, separating them from their children who they then sent to shelters, the Willners realised that there was a way to reunite families; detained migrant parents could actually post bond and simply walk out of jail, just like other arrested Americans.
The Willners then realised that a sum of money could not only help parents post bail, but it would also allow them to collect their children from government custody, and live in the US until their court dates (which are often months away).
There was only one problem; bonds typically range from hundreds to many thousands of dollars, which is money many families simply don’t have.
So the Willners created a Facebook fundraiser over the weekend to raise $US1500, which is enough to free a single migrant parent with a relatively low bond. Dave Willner told the Mercury News, “It was the closest thing we could do to hugging that kid.”
Money started rolling in once like-minded people heard of the Willners’ plan. Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was among the more than 100,000 people who had contributed by Tuesday morning. Private donors have matched at least $US250,000 ($340,000) of the total, but the Willners said the average donation is just $US40 ($54).
After just four days, the page has raised more than $US14 million, with donations still continuing to pour in.
Their goal is now to raise $US 20 million, and it’s looking highly likely that they will get there.
For those who want to contribute, click here.
It seems like their efforts, and those of others (including Donald Trump’s wife Melania) making similar protests are working.
In a surprising sudden reversal, President Trump has just signed an executive order designed to keep together immigrant families who have been detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, while also retaining his administration’s supposedly “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border, but continue to be zero tolerance.”
Trump’s executive order would keep most families together under the Department of Homeland Security, except in cases where an adult may pose a threat to a child.
“You’re going to have a lot of happy people,” Trump said as he signed the order.