What’s Happening to Families at the Border & How We Can Help

The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body.

So it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink.…

— Corinthians 12:12

Right now, families—including young children—are being separated and detained at the US/Mexico Border, and with no system in place to reunite them if/when they’re released.

This practice is unique in that it’s being criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike, including by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), who’s said that “all of the members of Republican conference support a plan that keeps families together while their immigration status is determined.” The criticism is coming from non-partisan entities as well, including the National UCC.

The President has stated that detaining children at the border is necessary to prosecute the parents for illegally entering the country, although the reasoning for this is unclear. It’s also unclear why many families haven’t been allowed to say goodbye to one another before being separated.

A question voiced by many: “If the families are in danger of being separated and detained, why don’t they just remain in Mexico?” The National UCC addresses this succinctly in their aforementioned article:

“There were a lot of women with children who were fleeing horrible domestic violence situations where their ex-husbands are trying to kill them. They had no idea that Attorney General Sessions has changed the laws and that they can’t even apply, or if they do, they will be separated from their kids,” says Rev. Randy Mayer, pastor at Good of the Shepard UCC in Sahuarita, Arizona. In other cases, “they can’t go back home because the cartels and gangs are waiting for them.”

These gangs make their profits by demand payments from families. If families don’t pay, the gangs threaten the family’s loved ones. In light of this, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of a choice at all for these families.

So, what do we do about it?

Along with long-term actions like voting for representatives who will stand up for all families, there are things you can do right now to alleviate this suffering:

  • Donate to the National UCC and designate it toward the “Keep Families Together” cause, increasing our power to effect change.
  • Demand action from your local representatives using this contact form from the UCC.
  • Volunteer to help families get reunited. If you live near the US/Mexico border and are fluent in Spanish, organizations such as the Texas Civil Rights Project (please contact them before taking action!) are looking for translators that can help reunite families.

Anything helps; Together, we can create powerful, lasting change.