The Families Belong Together coalition includes nearly 250 organizations representing Americans from all backgrounds across the country who have joined together to fight family separation and promote dignity, unity, and compassion for all children and families.
Led by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Women’s Refugee Commission, MomsRising, FWD.us, United We Dream, People’s Action, ACLU, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, MoveOn and others, Families Belong Together first came onto the scene when they organized nationwide protests in summer 2018 to demand the end of the Trump administration’s family separation policy.
What we do?
- Families Belong Together works to permanently end family separation and detention, seek accountability for the harm that’s been done, and immediately reunite all families who remain torn apart.
- The coalition has raised millions of dollars for immigrant children and families, mobilized hundreds of thousands of people in all 50 states to take action, and helped to reunite thousands of families.
- The organization also draws attention to the inhumane conditions of family detention, especially the appalling recent deaths of children after coming into US immigration custody.
The short list of this administration’s failures over the past year:
- Tore thousands of families apart
- Jailed children in inhumane conditions
- Tear gassed asylum seekers
- Failed to reunite all families
- Implemented countless anti-immigrant policies
- Lied about what they’re doing to families
Family separation 101
In April of 2018, the Trump administration announced a torturous, anti-immigrant “zero-tolerance” policy of criminalizing all adults who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without papers, and tearing them from their children regardless of age, criminal record, or finding of unfitness. “Zero-tolerance” sent these adults into criminal custody while their children were falsely reclassified as “unaccompanied” minors and sent to the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) through the Office of Refugee Resettlement. As a result, thousands of children were separated from their families, including “tender age” children under 5-years-old.
These crimes against humanity set off nationwide outrage in the late spring of 2018 which forced President Trump to backtrack with a June 20 executive order supposedly ending the separation of families. Soon after, on June 26, 2018, Judge Dana Sabraw issued an order requiring the administration to also reunite all separated children.
But it soon became clear that immigration officials executed this administration’s family separation policy without an official tracking system in place, making it nearly impossible to find all the impacted children— especially the additional thousands of kids separated before “zero tolerance” was officially announced or who were already released out of custody before Sabraw’s order came into effect.
The Trump administration proceeded to fail to meet their reunification deadlines leaving separated children alone and traumatized in federal detention for months, including children under 5 years old. Babies became toddlers who no longer recognized their parents, and more reports surfaced of traumatized children rejecting their mothers at their reunification after months apart.
The laundry list of incompetence and cruelty this administration used to target vulnerable children and families goes on and on. For instance, the Administration deported an unknown number of parents without their children—likely in the thousands—before a federal judge halted the practice. The government tricked many of these desperate parents into signing up for deportation with a false promise that they would get their child back. The Trump administration was happy to permanently orphan thousands of children they tore from their parents, claiming it was “too difficult” to reunite these families.
In the past year, children have died after being taken into immigration custody, and countless others have suffered abuse that could last a lifetime.
The Trump administration has continued to expand its inhumane immigration policies including repeated attempts to dismantle the longstanding U.S. asylum system and even continuing to separate children from their families.
This administration’s constant attacks on refugee families are deeply at odds with the family values America was built on. We believe in supporting families and keeping them together, not tearing them apart through family separation or making them more vulnerable by leaving them in limbo through ‘Remain in Mexico.’ Each of these policies seek to discourage asylum seekers from coming to the United States
Families Belong Together will continue to fight this clear pattern of callous disregard for children and human life. We will not stop until this administration ends, and is held accountable for, its practice of tormenting and traumatizing vulnerable children and families.