Lights for Liberty Photos and Follow-up

Thank you to the hundreds of people that joined us, our amazing partners- Missoula Rises, Montanans for Immigrant Justice, and the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center- and the incredible musicians- Jose Lobo, John Kratz, and Bernardo Paiva, to bring our voices together to ask for immediate solutions for families and children being detained in squalid, and life-threatening, conditions on our southern border.

We were part of an international movement that was over 700 cities strong, but the work does not stop with your attendance. If you couldn’t come, you still did not miss out on the most important part of this action. We must continue to be loud about this. Here are some step you can take and be sure to check out the amazing photos from photographer Tiffany Williams and remember the power of the vigil as you contact our representatives, and more!

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🔥ACTION ITEMS FROM THE VIGIL🔥

1. EDUCATE. Keep educating on the FACTS

Six migrant children — five from Guatemala and one from El Salvador — have died in federal custody since September (LA Times, 5/24/2019). One more child died in May 2018, after time in federal custody, likely as a result of improper medical care while there. (ABCNews, 8/29/18)

The 1997 Flores Settlement case requires that unaccompanied, or separated, children detained the Dept. of Homeland Security are promptly transferred into the custody of the Dept. of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement and held in “safe and sanitary” conditions.

Transfer times and ORR conditions are crowded, unsanitary, unsafe, and have been called concentration camps. Many children are being held at Border Patrol Stations, in jail-like holding cells for as many as 27 days, far longer than the Flores 72-hour limit.

Although the ACLU won a case last year halting family separation, loopholes have allowed the separation of over 700 families between June 2018 and May 2019. (Slate.com, 6/24/19)

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14). everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries. The 1951 UN Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol protects refugees from being returned to countries where they risk being persecuted and also protects their right to ask for asylum, regardless of how and where they arrive in a country. Refugees and asylum-seekers have the same rights as all other human beings.
The Trump administration is forcing many asylees to await court hearings in crowded, unsafe conditions in Mexico or releasing them to overcrowded, under-resourced shelters on the southern border.
There are 1.2 million refugees around the world. More than half of them are children. (Amnesty International)

2. ACT

📣Call/Email/Visit our Members of Congress OFTEN! Tell them you oppose the separation of migrant children from family members and that holding asylum seekers in concentration camps is inhumane, unjust and a violation of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. Demand inspection of detention centers and the release of children and families. Tell them to vote no on any additional funding for ICE/CBP and deportation. The Congressional Switchboard is: 202-224-3121. *** Ask that all 3 of our representative visit the INSIDE of the camps together and get a true eye on what is happening!***

📣Tell our local and congressional officials( Mayor, County Attorney, and Sheriff ) that you do not support local law enforcement cooperation with ICE raids and they must be stopped. Raids terrify and separate families, are conducted indiscriminately-without legal warrants, and decrease the likelihood that actual crimes will be reported. Holding people detained in raids in local county detention centers is a common practice and uses local resources. Sign the ACLU petition to end 287g agreements between ICE and local governments.

📣Reach out to local groups working on immigrants’ rights like: Montana Immigrant Justice Alliance, National Lawyers Guild Chapters, Montanans for Immigrant Justice, Billings Sanctuary Rising, Montana ACLU and Montana Human Rights Network, and International Rescue Committee.

📣Contribute to organizations on the front lines of assistance like: El Otro Lado, United We Dream, RAICES, Angry Tias y Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley, KIND – Kids in Need of Defense, The Florence Project, Make the Road, La Union del Pueblo Unido, Annunciation House, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and the Tuscon monastery shelter, No More Deaths. Check out www.miles4migrants.org to donate frequent flier miles to reunite families.