Does the world sometimes seem like it's a little bit, y'know, on fire? Do you want help, but feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of bad news pouring into your eye holes every time you check Twitter?
Well, that's why Cracked's starting How To Help, a series dedicated to fixing the world's problems until they are all solved and we don't have to write this anymore. Today's topic ...
How To Help With Family Separations At The U.S. Border
Since May 2018, nearly 3,000 migrant children have been forcefully separated from their parents as they tried to enter the U.S., a number any Germanic fairy tale would be jealous of. While their parents go to jail, the children are spirited away to what the government calls "processing centers" and "tender age shelters," but which look like if a supermax had an onsite daycare. But since the news hasn't reported on any new Baby Snatcher bills being passed through Congress, many people are confused as to why this is suddenly happening.
While crossing a border illegally is a misdemeanor offence, like jaywalking or pretending margarine is butter in Iowa, the state is allowed to criminally prosecute people for it, i.e. throw them into actual jails until they get to see a judge. Before now, though, no one ever saw the need to go full Judge Dredd on these families, many of whom are fleeing from violence and poverty in Central America.
But this April, the Trump administration made it policy to treat every single mom and dad not using the proper immigration channels as criminals. And while the government is cool with jailing adults for stepping over an imaginary line, the same cannot be said for children. So instead of putting these kids in jail with their parents, which is wrong, children are taken away from their parents and placed in closed facilities with curfews and guards, which is, uh, apparently what God would want?
Fortunately, there are many amazing nonprofit organizations focusing on offering social and legal help to these families. These are humanitarian behemoths like the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services and the American Civil Liberties Union. Thanks to these organizations and a resounding "Go to bed, America, you're drunk" from everybody from Willie Nelson to the pope, President Trump was pressured into signing an executive order to walk back this policy. Furthermore, a federal judge gave the administration a two-week deadline to return detained children under five back to their parents.
But the Trump administration has made it clear that it won't stop dropping the hammer on migrant families anytime soon. Worse, because of how "under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property" (to quote the judge who ordered the deadline, which got blown), barely half of the 102 toddlers and babies have been reunited with their parents.
The most efficient way to get into the fight is to donate money, but having to choose Bachelorette-style between all of these humanitarian hunks can be daunting. Thankfully, there's a super easy way to make sure your money is covering all of the bases: Support Kids at the Border, a blanket donation site hosted by ActBlue. Through them, you can simply give money to "the cause," and the website spreads that money evenly among 14 trustworthy and hardworking organizations. It's one of the rare occasions where you can make it rain and not feel skeezy afterwards. Of course, if you prefer your philanthropy more in buffet form, ActBlue also lets you pick and choose exactly which charities you wish to donate to, and in which amounts.
This helps the poor folks who are dire straits right now, but to make sure we never again have to think of child concentration camps outside of reading a dystopian sci-fi novel, it's time for action. This is not a partisan issue, as both parties have a moral duty to do all they can to keep the United States from turning into a country-sized, ominously nondescript cargo van. That's why the folks over at the Indivisible Project have whipped up a one-stop web page that provides you with all the info you need to easily get in touch with all of your representatives. They even provide a polite but firm script to follow so you can tell your tax-funded Washington employees to get their act together.
Finally, if you're in the area of Texas, you might want to take the opportunity to become one of those pairs of boots on the ground. Organizations like the Texas Civil Rights Project are always looking for "volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q'eqchi' or K'iche' and have paralegal or legal assistant experience."
Whatever you do to help, we want to say thanks for being an awesome human being who would totally be on a first-name basis with Superman.
Cedric Voets is but a writer and comedian.
It might also be a good idea to learn some Spanish.
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