Today was the court-ordered deadline for the U.S. administration to reunite children under 5 who were separated from their families as part of a “Zero Tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border. As a result of the policy, over 2,000 children were involuntarily taken away from their parents. According to the ACLU, it appears likely that less than half of these children will be reunited by the deadline. As an organization focused on ensuring that children have access to quality early learning opportunities, we stand with the statements from the California Department of Education, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, First 5 LA and others in expressing our rejection of this extreme policy and concern over the short and long-term impact that being forcibly separated from a parent can have on a child. Regardless of the steps taken moving forward, the scope of the damage that this policy has already inflicted on babies, toddlers and young children is impossible to fully measure.Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children across the country, took to the streets on June 30th to protest this “Zero Tolerance” policy. We must continue to do what we can to express our support for the reunification of these children with their parents.As educators, understanding some of the struggles faced by the families of children who are in our classrooms and under our care is an important component of fostering and supporting quality learning.
We’ve compiled the following information and resources to help inform the issues faced by this community and to provide ways that we can all support these families in crisis.
Implementation of “Zero Tolerance,” the new order to reunite families and what’s happening in Central America
What’s happening in Central America (Colorín Colorado) Watch video of LA Times Pulitzer Prize winner Sonia Nazario on the violent narco trafficking that is driving families to flee Central American countries.
Describes sexual and physical violence that women, girls and LGBTI people in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala experience at the hands of family members, gangs, drug traffickers and even local police. Many of these people are eligible for asylum under U.S. refugee law.
New Yorker writerJonathan Blitzer who has been reporting on family separation from the border, recounts anecdotal evidence that government may have difficulty complying with court order to reunify families within 30 days.
Impact on Children’s Welfare
What science says about short- and long-term impacts of separating children from their parents, even for a short amount of time.
Colorín Colorado has compiled a list of resources for schools and educators, including study guides, classroom activities, and tips for talking to kids about family separation.
First 5 California has compiled a list of resources to assist immigrant families with legal services, immigration resources as well as coping skills and resources.
The following organizations have a track record of working to support immigrant families and/or advocating for unaccompanied minors.
The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights
Donations help to provide a child advocate to unaccompanied immigrant children. The organization recently received a $100,000 donation from George and Amal Clooney and Clooney Foundation for Justice.
California Community Foundation
Donations to LA for All fund will go to organizations engaged in providing legal representation to unaccompanied minors, family reunification and critical social services.
Donations support KIND’s pro bono network to represent unaccompanied children through their immigration proceedings. KIND is also coordinating volunteers to provide translations, toys and school supplies to children being served in local KIND offices.
Please note that Early Edge California does not endorse the entities listed above. These links are meant to serve as a reference and are not all-inclusive.