** edit: Since this post was written, Trump has signed an order to state that families detained after attempting illegal border crossings should be kept together. The order does not specify how the Trump administration will deal with the more than 2,300 children affected by the policy however, and for these children the crisis is far from over. I believe we still need to hold Trump to account for what has happened, and that to invite him to the UK is to betray every family impacted by his inhumane actions, so would ask people to still act, protest and donate if possible. **
This is my youngest at 8 months old. At 8 months, he still refused to take a bottle. Wasn’t particularly interested in food (weaning has never been my forte). Often still napped on me. He was snuggly. Smiley. A joy to be around. Starting to crawl and discover the world but still very much a baby, happiest when with his mummy, daddy and sister.
He’s lucky. He was born in a country that currently gives us no cause to flee. We have a house. Employment. Our lives are secure; we know where are next meal is coming from and where we will lay our head each night to sleep. We have shelter. We have each other.
In America, they are tearing children as young as 8 months old, like this little one, from their parents’ arms. Their only crime is to not have what we all take for granted – a safe home, a source of income or welfare to keep food on their table, clean water, clothes, access to education and jobs. Some of them will have it worse, they will be seeking asylum from countries where they are no longer safe. Imagine that. Your country of birth, the place you call home, so dangerous that you make the heartbreaking decision to leave. Only to find your children ripped from you the moment you reach somewhere supposedly safe. The American Dream.
It is inconceivable that this is happening, and a terrifying testament to the dangerous anti-migrant rhetoric that has been building on a global scale. It is hard to watch, to hear clips of children crying, terrified, as they are placed in cages with no idea when they will see their parents next.
But we cannot turn away. Inaction is no longer acceptable. Please, consider doing one of these things today. And then another tomorrow. And keep going until the world takes notice and reunites these families.
- Write to your MP. Donald Trump is due to visit this country on 13th July. Make it clear in no uncertain terms that you are not comfortable with your taxpayer’s money being spent on rolling out the red carpet for this man, and welcoming him as if he was not guilty of incredible crimes against humanity. You can find your local MP here: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
- Sign petitions. If you are an American reading this or have an American address, start signing. Here’s just one but there are several out there: https://action.aclu.org/petition/separating-families?social_referer_transaction=31212&ms=sbsocial&cid=ICEdetention
- Donate. Amnesty International are putting the pressure on Trump, help them to continue to do so with much-needed funds: https://www.amnesty.org.uk. Or consider these charities working on the ground in America too:
ACLU – American Civil Liberties Union, which supports immigrants and defends their rights in the US and are raising funds to provide legal representation for these families: http://www.aclu.org
RAICES – the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services – which is raising money to pay bonds for these families and provide legal services:
- Protest. If Trump does come to the UK on 13th July, join the protest. More details can be found here: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/index.php/events/national-events/3005-14-july-london-together-against-trump-national-demo If you want to protest but can’t afford to pay for the train ticket then shout – let’s start a Gin Fund crowdfunder to get as many of us there as possible.
The time for silence has passed. It is not enough to express outrage at what is happening, we have to act.