How You Can Support Immigrant and Refugee Families—at the Border, and Beyond

With >2,000 #immigrant families separated in the US and more facing indefinite detention, here are 9 nonprofits to support providing legal + human services—at the border, or here in #Chicago Tweet This

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Since the April 2018 enactment of the ‘zero tolerance’ policy for border crossing, it has been reported that more than 2,000 families have been separated at the Texas-Mexico border and taken to separate facilities for detainment and processing. In June, the policy was revised from separating families to detaining entire families together, but seeks to detain them without limits throughout the entirety of criminal proceedings.

Needless to say, immigrant and refugee communities are in dire need of legal representation, social and human services and advocacy training. To assist our donors interested in supporting nonprofit organizations that are on the ground, diligently working on behalf of refugees and immigrants in Texas and across the country, we have compiled the following list:

The Illinois Immigration Funders Collaborative (IFC) is a donor advised fund of The Chicago Community Trust. IFC’s main purpose is to raise and collectively allocate funds for immigrant- and refugee-serving nonprofit organizations to fuel their ability to serve, organize and advocate for and with their communities. IFC was created in 2012, in response to President Obama’s executive order authorizing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program estimated to benefit up to 60,000 younger immigrants in Illinois alone. From January 2013 through September 2017, IFC’s funding was mainly focused on legal services and community education to support those eligible to apply for or renew their DACA status. IFC’s 2018 grant guidelines focus on immigrant and refugee communities, prioritizing funding for community engagement, humanitarian immigration legal services and capacity-building.

National Immigrant Justice Center, a program of Heartland Alliance, has been committed for more than 30 years to ensuring the U.S. government upholds due process and human rights for the women, men, children and families who flee to the United States seeking safety and security, as well as those who have long been contributing members of our communities.

Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is a human rights organization that advocates for the rights and best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children. Their goal is to change both immigration policy and practice so immigrant children are recognized first as children and their best interests are considered at every point of the process, from custody to release. The Young Center is a Chicago organization with an office at the Texas border.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service seeks to fulfill the basic human needs of refugee families and children across the country by providing, through its networks, “immediate shelter and beds, medical services, counseling and therapy to help families deal with the trauma of separation.”

Consider earmarking your donation for general operating support. This will enable the organization to both respond to current emergencies and be prepared for those that may arise as a result of potential policy changes.

RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and South Texas. RAICES is the largest immigration nonprofit in Texas, with offices in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

Refugee Services of Texas is a social service agency providing services that include, but are not limited to: employment assistance, initial housing, case management and education resources to refugees and other displaced persons.

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project works to prevent wrongful deportations by connecting refugee families to community support and emergency legal aid.

Border Angels is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that advocates for human rights, humane immigration reform and social justice with a special focus on issues related to issues related to the US-Mexican border.

Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) is the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization. It promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community, education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. MALDEF has offices in California, Texas, Washington D.C. and Chicago.

When donating to organizations on this list, consider earmarking your donation for general operating support. This will enable the organization to both respond to current emergencies and be prepared for those that may arise as a result of potential policy changes. Donations can be made through each organization’s website.

If you currently have a donor advised fund with the Trust, grants can be made from your fund to any of the organizations listed above. Please contact your fund relationship manager for more details. If you would like to learn about establishing a donor advised fund with the Trust, reach out to anyone on the Development and Donor Services team.