The news reports and images from border communities in Texas are as difficult to comprehend as they are to forget. Children — some not even a year old — scream as they are forcibly taken from their parents’ arms and driven to enclosed tents where they lie on the ground, a thin pad for comfort and a foil blanket for warmth. Parents, taken to a wholly different facility, sometimes more than a thousand miles away, don’t know what has become of their children, how to reach them, or whether they’re fed, clothed, bathed, or even safe.
It’s every family’s worst nightmare, and it’s happening right here, in our country, in front of our own eyes. Since May, more than 2,340 children have been taken from their parents as part of a federal “zero tolerance” policy for asylum seekers and migrants who illegally cross the border. We cannot stand by. We must do something. Today, we are announcing the CJP Fund to Aid Children and End Separation (FACES).
While an administration-issued executive order might cease the current process of separating families in favor of family incarceration, the fact remains that right now, in our country, thousands of children and parents are being kept from each other. Parents do not know where their children are. They need our help with basic necessities. And they need our help with legal assistance to navigate a system that has shown them no mercy or kindness.
FACES will offer immediate aid through three organizations: Catholic Charities, the Young Center, and the Interfaith Welcome Coalition. The services from these organizations will include legal assistance, social workers to act as family reunification specialists to help find the parents of separated children, and trauma specialists to support children experiencing extreme distress. Funds will also be used to help families once they are released from detention and await immigration trials. CJP will administer one fund that will distribute 100 percent of contributions to these organizations to have maximum impact immediately.
As Barry Shrage's blog notes, our Jewish texts are clear: we must welcome the stranger, for we were once strangers, too. With your help, Combined Jewish Philanthropies’ funding will boost efforts to reunite families and demonstrate one of our most sacred Jewish values by working tirelessly to support the most vulnerable.
Read the joint statement we have issued with United Way, The Boston Foundation, and Catholic Charities.