A Message from Chancellor Groves
Dear Antioch Community:
Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of times when I felt it imperative that Antioch University speaks to its values in the face of actions being taken by our government. This is one of those occasions. The removal of migrant infants and children from their parents and the internment of children and babies separated from their mothers and fathers is outrageous, un-American, and morally unconscionable. We’ve all seen the images of crying babies and children in cages and fenced enclosures as their parents were being processed by ICE officers. There are no laws that require this inhumane treatment.
The family separations began earlier this year after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero tolerance” policy of referring all border crossings for federal criminal prosecution, which leads to children being separated as their parents are sent to jail to await trial. Heretofore, children and parents awaiting trial were kept together in detention centers. Most of them face misdemeanor “unlawful entry” charges for which no jail time would typically be imposed. Some of them are lawfully applying for asylum and may never be prosecuted as “illegal aliens.” Yet, the children are now quite literally incarcerated while their parents are separately detained awaiting an immigration hearing or a trial that could take months.
There are now thousands of children in internment camps and other facilities. Many of them have been transported by commercial airlines to locations as far away as NYC while their parents await their hearings or trials in Texas. Some of them have now been separated from their parents for over a month at an age when maternal and paternal nurturing is crucial to their healthy development. While the policy of separation was discontinued by Executive Order yesterday, there are no plans to release and reunite the approximately 11,000 children already in custody.
Yesterday, several commercial airlines, including American Airlines, and United Airlines, announced that they were family-centered companies that would not be complicit in the government’s actions to separate children from their families. They both communicated with the federal government that they were not to be engaged to transport children who are being relocated by ICE. Several days ago, thousands of College and University professors sent an open letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security arguing that the Family Separation Policy was “nothing less than government-sponsored child abuse.”
Antioch University is a historically progressive institution in pursuit of a better world. We pride ourselves in continually being on the right side of history for the past 166 years. We now STAND with the companies, institutions, and individuals who stand up against this policy. As the proud Chancellor of Antioch, and as a horrified American citizen, I encourage all of us to make our voices heard and to STAND up for the values we share. Here are just a few of the possible ways to help.
Don’t feel helpless. Take action.
- Donate Directly to the Kids
Baby2Baby and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) set up a baby registry at Target to send bundles of essentials like diapers, wipes, shampoo, and soap directly to immigrant children.
But most charities say the best way to help is through financial donations, not product donations. Well-vetted groups that provide humanitarian aid to migrants include Pueblo Sin Fronteras, an organization with two shelters along the border of the Sonoran Desert, and Border Angels, a volunteer coalition that provides water, free legal help, and emergency services.
- Support the Lawyers Fighting for Them
In just one Facebook campaign, more than $15 million has been raised for The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), the largest immigration services legal nonprofit in Texas. By donating to RAICES, you support every aspect of legal aid for immigrant families. The group aims to locate and reunite every family and child affected by this policy and to provide legal services, including posting bail money, to every detained immigrant waiting for trial. Most of these trials are for misdemeanor “unlawful entry” charges. They also aim to pay off immigration bonds to free asylum seekers from ICE custody, letting them reunite with their children. In addition to the Facebook initiative, you can also donate directly through their website.
If you want to donate your time, help interview migrants at the border. If you live in a border area, have legal or paralegal experience, and speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’, sign up to volunteer with the Texas Civil Rights Project. The Legal Aid Justice Center also looks for volunteers who live in the Virginia area and can help with translation or administrative tasks.
- Donate to Several Places at Once
ActBlue splits your donations between 12 different groups. The nonprofit fundraising platform for liberal causes has set up a page that benefits Al Otro Lado, The Florence Project, Neta, Innovation Law Lab, Fuerza Del Valle, The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, We Belong Together, United We Dream, The Women’s Refugee Commission, The ACLU, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project, Human Rights First, and La Union de Pueblo Entero. You can donate any amount, and split it however you want between the groups. The campaign has raised more than $1.6 million so far.
- Call Your Senator and Say This Exactly
There are currently several bills being proposed to fight back against child separation at the border. The ACLU urges people to call their senators to advocate against the Trump administration’s current policies. You can check out their website and fill out a form, and the ACLU will connect you to make the call. They’ll get you in touch with a congressional staffer, and then they recommend you say, “Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and my zip code is [YOUR ZIP]. I’m urging the Senator to denounce Trump’s family separation policy and use all of Congress’ authority to stop it.”
- Participate In a Protest
On June 30, various advocacy groups are organizing protests across the country against child separation. The main Families Belong Together rally will take place in Washington, but there are other demonstrations happening in cities across the U.S. that day. Check out where and when to protest at MoveOn.org.
As Antiochians, we STAND for social, economic, and environmental justice. I invite you to STAND with us.
William R. Groves, JD