Family Separation and Detention


Many families have been impacted by the "zero tolerance" policy at the U.S. southern border. The Trump Administration has separated thousands of children from their parents; and is detaining and criminally prosecuting asylum seekers and others for crossing the border. People seeking refuge at our borders are entitled to a fair, humane, legal process. See the resources and volunteer opportunities below to learn more and to get involved.


Resources to Help Families:

How to Help Someone in Detention
This article describes how to locate someone in immigration detention, and how to help them get out.

Pro Bono Practice Tips Series: Working with Immigrant Children
By: CAIR Coalition
This article discusses strategies and tools for working with immigrant children.

The Trauma of Childhood Separation
By: The Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell
This fact sheet outlines the traumatic impact of separating children from their parents.

The Impact of Family Detention on Children
By: The Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell
This fact sheet describes the impact family detention has on children.


Resource Collections on Stand With Immigrants:

Immigration Detention in the U.S.
Background materials and information about volunteering as a visitor in an immigration detention facility.

Working with survivors of trauma
Information on helping survivors and self-care for advocates.

Immigration 101
An introduction to immigration law.

Introductory information on the legal protection for people who flee persecution and violence.

Information on providing mental health evaluations for asylum seekers
Mental health professionals can help asylum seekers prove they have a “credible fear” of returning to their home country.


Volunteer Opportunities:

Immigration Justice Campaign (IJC)
The IJC needs attorneys, translators, interpreters, social workers, and more to volunteer in person and remotely.

CARA Pro Bono Project
Volunteers for CARA spend a week in Dilley, TX helping detained mothers and children in immigration proceedings. The project provides training.

Other National Opportunities
Check here for national volunteer opportunities. Most of these projects can be done remotely, or from multiple locations.

Other Local Opportunities
Check here to see if a nonprofit in your area needs volunteers. Search by state or zipcode on our volunteer opportunities guide.


Additional Resources:

Noncitizen Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: 2018 Update
By: The Annie E. Casey Foundation
This report details how recent policy changes have impacted immigrant children, and offers advice on working with noncitizen youth and their families.

The Flores Settlement & Family Separation at the BorderBy: the Women’s Refugee Commission
This document offers background information on an immigration policy that relates to family separation and detention at the U.S border.



Family Separation and Detention
Family Separation and Detention
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