In the aftermath of the largest single-day raid in U.S. history that occurred Aug. 7 in Mississippi, organizations and advocates have been rallying support for the affected families. Nearly 680 people were apprehended in food processing plants in six different cities in southern Mississippi including Canton, Bay Springs, Carthage, Sebastopol, and Pelahatchie which left many families in crisis.
The heartbreaking images of children crying for their parent’s return brought to light the effects of the raids in a time when Trump continues to push for more deportations and stricter immigration laws. Children affected by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids became the voices for those undocumented workers with teary-eyed kids pleading for their parent’s return.
Those without criminal records or orders of deportations will be placed in immigration proceedings before a judge and could be released, CBS News reports. An ICE official told the publication that several hundreds of the workers were released, while others will be moved to a detention facility. But with many children still without parents and families trying to work through the detainment, we’ve compiled a list of ways to help through volunteer efforts or donations.
El Pueblo Mississippi
El Pueblo Mississippi helps provide legal services to immigrant families and they’ve been promoting a community phone line for those affected by the raid. “Our dedicated staff member, Iveth Diaz, spent the weekend doing intakes and interpreting for the English-only attorneys. It was so helpful that she could be here. How blessed we are at El Pueblo that 6 out of our 7 staffers are bilingual! So far the coalition teams have processed over 300 legal screenings. That is an amazing accomplishment in such a short time. As of today, there will be 5 intake centers in 5 communities,” they wrote in a Facebook post.
MacArthur Justice Center
MacArthur Justice Center, a part of the University of Mississippi School of Law, is coordinating for volunteer lawyers to work pro bono. They recently spoke out on a Facebook post after learning that attorneys were “charging big fees” to consult families and reminded people that “attorneys are available at NO COST in every community where people were detained.” The organization is a member of the Mississippi Immigration Coalition and has been promoting various ways for people to provide aid including monetary donations that’ll be split among different immigrant advocacy organizations.
Mississippi Center for Justice
The Mississippi Center for Justice is a nonprofit, public interest law firm that’s providing legal aid to the families, creating a Facebook fundraiser to help their efforts. “We are coordinating a rapid response legal team to help community members locate detained loved ones, provide immigration legal assistance to those now facing removal, and ensure the care of children whose parents or guardians have been imprisoned,” they wrote on the fundraiser page. Licensed attorneys can fill out a Google form to volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org, to receive additional information.
Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA)
MIRA is providing support services and coordinating a hotline. They’ve been out in the field in Morton, Forest, and Canton to figure out what the families need. “We also know that families are suffering and may be unable to return to work. Please help us support these hard-working families after the cruel trauma of being ripped away from loved ones and imprisoned. Our most pressing need is making sure our staff can assess the short and long-term needs of these communities,” they wrote in a Facebook post. They also have plans to train any volunteers interested in helping.
Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN)
SEIRN is providing support services to the immigrant community through translators and coordinating the hotline. Anyone interested in volunteering as a hotline operator, translator, on-the-ground support, mental health support or financial support can sign up online. SEIRN’s Nayely Perez-Huerta is seeking volunteer translators and can also connect immigrants seeking translation help via a hotline. Email her at email@example.com.
Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
After the news, the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services immediately asked that anyone who knows of any children left without guardians can call 1-800-222-8000. They have licensed emergency foster homes available and were not previously informed of the number or location of the children affected so they’re relying on the community for info. “As soon as we discovered what was happening, we began preparing our emergency response,” said MDCPS Commissioner Jess Dickinson in a Facebook post. “Our top concern was and is the safety and wellbeing of these children.” Any reports of children who aren’t cared for activates a service response, it does not begin the process of placing a child into MDCPS care. Detained parents retain the legal right and authority to select who cares for their child(ren) and MDCPS is a liaison to services for the kids and their caregivers.
Various Religious Organizations
The Immaculate Conception Church in Laurel is collecting food and gift card donations to help families affected in Bay Springs. Scott County Baptist Association created a GoFundMe for the Carlisle Crisis Center and they’re currently about $6k from their goal of $30k. Grace Episcopal Church in Canton is collecting money and gift cards for school supplies. online donation or drop off. Centro Missionaro Trinidad at Trinity Methodist Church is seeking canned food, water, hygiene products, and baby products and can be contacted at 601-469-1346. In Scott County Scott Co. Baptist Association is collecting non-perishable foods, you can call 601-469-1951. Rev. C.J. Rhodes of Jackson posted a video with different ways to help and later wrote on Twitter: “I understand that all of the children have been reunited with their families as of last night. There may be further humanitarian needs, such as additional legal and financial assistance as the parents go through the legal process.”
Help a classroom directly
Television personality and style expert Lilliana Vazquez was so affected after seeing the children suffering that she contacted the head of the Scott County school district and spoke with superintendent Tony McGee who said they need gift cards and people can also purchase a copy of Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers for each classroom. The book is about how the country was built through immigration and refers to the message of acceptance on the Statue of Liberty’s right foot. She’s asking that donations be sent to Lilliana Vazquez, 130 7th Ave, Box #223, New York, NY 10011 so she can aggregate them and send a package in the following week. “And if your heart moves you, please include a personal note/card and let these children know WHY they are supported by you and that they are not alone,” she also wrote in an Instagram post.
ACLU of Mississippi
The American Civil Liberties Union in Mississippi has been promoting the various ways to help mentioned in previous slides but is also working on a national level to directly aid the families affected and provide relevant information and resources. “Nothing about their detention helps local families, local communities, local businesses, or Mississippi’s economy. The ACLU of Mississippi is working with partners across the state and the country, to organize a response to help the families affected and to push back against these anti-immigrant mass deportation policies,” ACLU MS Legal Director Joshua Tom said in a Facebook video. Anyone affected can call their office at 601-354-3408.
Mississippi Rising Coalition
Mississippi Rising Coalition is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to empower and mobilize marginalized community members. To learn about how to get involved in their efforts, email contact firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this online form to receive more information about MRC. “Terrorize, arrest, detain and deport the poor workers of color. Let the wealthy white male business owner off the hook. This is who we are. But it’s not who we have to be,” they wrote in a Facebook post.