Call your government representatives
Call your local, state, and/or national representatives to let them know that you think this is a humanitarian issue. You can find your federal senators and representatives here. Key messages include:
1. Protect children’s rights. Do not eliminate any existing protections for immigrant children and families. Protections are not loopholes.
2. Give children the chance to tell their experiences, and evaluate their claims to see if they qualify as refugees.
3. Establish standards for the humane treatment of children (and families) in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody
4. This is a crisis of leadership, not a crisis of insufficient resources.
5. Prevent the government from re-directing any additional emergency funds to other enforcement purposes.
The government facilitates that hold unaccompanied children are generally not allowed to accept donated goods. However, private migrant shelters need supplies. Consider sending donations like books, clothing, stuffed animals, story time, and art projects to a local shelter near you.
Support migrant children and families in your community
As these families and children are released and reunited with family or sponsors, they will be entering communities throughout the country. They have undergone long journeys and find themselves in strange new environments. Offer support, friendship, and encouragement. Show them they are welcome here. Schools, churches, and community centers are a good place to start. When the new school year starts, keep an eye out for new students in your child’s school or new players on the soccer team. Offer assistance and support.
Most of the children coming to the US have family members in this country who can care for them. However, many families are afraid to come forward. In the meantime, shelters and foster families are a critical need for some children. If you are interested in being a foster family for some of the very young children or pregnant girls who are arriving, the best advice is to begin the process to become licensed foster parents. This is run through your local child welfare organization and is required by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. For more details, look at this page of the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s website, and at the two organizations that generally manage foster care for unaccompanied minors: the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Lutheran Social Services for Children and Families.