Human Rights - Politics

Crowdfunded $20 Million Offered Up As Bail Bonds For Migrant Moms (IMAGE)

Published on July 10, 2018 by Athena Pallas

In an impressive display of support for the plight of separated immigrant families, over a million people donated a collective $20 million to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a non-profit organization that provides legal aid to immigrants. Now, in an effort to facilitate reunification, RAICES has offered up that $20 million as bail bonds for the more than 2,000 migrant moms still in detention under President Trump‘s zero tolerance policy.

All of this happens as the Trump administration is poised to miss the court imposed deadline to reunite all immigrant children under the age of 5 with their parents by today – reports indicate that only about half of those children will have been reunited with their parents by today’s deadline. According to The Hill:

A Texas legal nonprofit working to reunite immigrant families who were separated at the U.S. southern border said it plans to offer the Trump administration $20 million dollars raised from donations to cover the bail bonds of roughly 2,500 migrant mothers who have been detained…The nonprofit hosted a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday afternoon calling for all separated families to be reunited, and to demand that the Trump administration accept the $20 million bond check to “enable the speedy release of the mothers of the approximate 2500 children that have been separated so these families can be reunified.” “Today marks the 14 day deadline imposed by Judge Dana Sabraw of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California that required the Administration to reunite children under five with their families. But the fact that the Administration is only expected to reunite 54 of the 102 children identified is cause for concern not only in Congress but among the American people,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), who also attended the press conference, said in the release.

Jonathan Ryan, the executive director of RAICES said in a press release, according to The Hill, that RAICES is “dedicated, and uniquely positioned to take on the task of paying bonds for parents separated from their children, one by one” and further indicated that “We will write every single individual bond check. The administration’s actions have already put a moral stain on the United States, and failure to accept this bond check will only delay and put reunification at risk.” RAICES also tweeted the image below, declaring “WE’RE IN D.C. TO PAY BONDS! WITH A $20 MILLION CHECK TO PAY OUT SEPARATED MOTHERS” and writing, “We’re in D.C. with a $20m check to pay bail bonds for over 2,000 mothers still detained. More than 1 million people donated over $20m and their message is clear: reunite the families Trump says he’s a deal-maker, here’s his chance to cut a deal. ”

It is unclear what penalties, if any, the Trump administration would have faced for failing to meet today’s deadline to reunite all children under age 5 with their parents, other than bad press, but that question has been rendered moot by the judge in the case, Dana Sabraw, giving the government more time, after initially refusing to do so. The deadline to reunite all children age 5 and over, July 26, is apparently still in place, however. It appears as if the court ordered deadlines have successfully exerted pressure on the Trump administration to move more quickly – before the court ordered deadlines, the Trump administration had no cohesive plan or timeline for reunification.

People responded to the RAICES announcement with thanks and appreciation not just to the organization, but to the many people who donated to the fund, showing the positive side of our country – its people, not its current president. As this person wrote, “You are amazing! Thank you for helping us all remember that not everyone in our country has lost their soul.”

Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.