How to Help Families in Detention (Alt-Title: How to Deal with the Unmitigated Shitstorm at the Border)

Are you feeling angry, lost, frustrated, and/or helpless about the situation at the border? Do you want to support and empower the children who are being unceremoniously locked in cages but feel powerless to do so?

We’re mad as hell. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of suggested actions, (and we’re looking for more, so please drop good ideas in the comments). In the meantime, here are a few ideas about how to help stop this atrocity.

Kindly note: We’ve kept our list on the legal side of the spectrum, but  insurgency is looking increasingly tempting with every passing day.

Report and Share ICE Raids

Find your local hotline for reporting ICE raids. If you are aware of any raids at workplaces, schools, churches, neighborhoods, or on public transit, report it to the hotline immediately.

Sign up for email or text alerts regarding local ICE raids. When you get a notification of a local ICE raid, notify those around you immediately and disseminate the information to your networks.

Know Your Rights (and Help Others Learn Theirs)

If you don’t know immigration rights, learn them. Read this document from Immigrant Defense Project and Center for Constitutional Rights about Defending Against ICE Raids and Community Arrests.

You can also check out these Know Your Rights fliers from Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. They also have safety plans in English, Spanish, and Somali.

Network Up

If you haven’t already, expand your social media networks. Follow all of the local organizations that are working to end detention and to advocate for immigrant rights.

To make sure you see posts on Facebook, click the “following” drop down menu and select “See first” so that important alerts are not lost in the algorithms.


[Image description: screenshot of Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network Facebook page. There is a button in the lower lefthand corner of the header image that says “Following.” From this button a drop down menu appears. The option “See first” is highlighted.]


You may be surprised by the types of organizations that are doing immigration work. Search not only for immigration networks, but also for other types of organizations with a stake in immigrant rights. In our area, these include: legal advocacy organizations, religious (often Muslim or Sikh) organizations, cultural solidarity networks (often Latinx, Somali, and Syrian), prison/detention abolitionist networks, etc.


Consider volunteering for many of the above types of organizations or networks. If you are multilingual or have a legal background, your services will be particularly useful. If you do not have either, you may be useful in organizing protests or direct actions, filing paperwork or transcribing for a legal advocacy org, performing intakes, creating care packages, leafleting, gathering signatures for petitions, holding or organizing a fundraiser, etc. Call or email your local organizations, tell them about your skillset, and ask if they have a volunteer position for you. Be realistic about whether you can accept on ongoing position or can only volunteer for a weekend. (It takes a lot of time and energy for orgs to train you, so don’t take an ongoing position if you can’t meaningfully commit the time.)

Register to Vote, If You’re Able

Are you registered to vote? Find out here. If you are legally able to vote, get registered. Get your documents together so that you can register, and come November vote in all local, state, and federal elections. Already registered? Talk to friends and family to make sure they are registered.


Call Your Reps

Call your local representatives. Here’s how to find them.

If your local reps are already supportive of detention abolition, call the DOJ hotline. Feel free to use this script or come up with your own.

[Image description: Screenshot reading Call the DOJ main comment line: 202-353-1555 Here is a sample script to help you make your call: My name is [NAME] and I live in [CITY/STATE]. I am calling to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions that I do not support his decision in the Matter of A-B. With this order, the Trump administration has turned its back on some of the most vulnerable people in the world. I demand the attorney general stop his anti-immigrant agenda. I, and many other citizens, stand against hate and xenophobia — and demand that the Department of Justice do the same. ]

Credit to: Southern Poverty Law Center

Dispel the Myths

Are your friends and families and casual acquaintances and coworkers aware of what is happening? Are they sharing fake news? Do they know how to help? Share this list with them. Share real news with them. Engage in conversations so that you can dispel falsehoods, stay up to date on correct information, learn about local actions, and share tips about how to help.

Follow reliable news sources so that you are up to date on the latest accurate information about immigration detention. And learn how to spot fake news.

[Image description: How to spot fake news. Consider the source: Click away from the story to investigate the site, its mission and it’s contact info. Read beyond: Headlines can be outrageous in an effort to get clicks. What’s the whole story? Check the author. Do a quick search on the author. Are they credible? Are they real? Supporting sources. Click on those links. Determine if the info given actually supports the story. Check the date. Reposting old news stories doesn’t mean they’re relevant to current events. Is it a joke? If it is too outlandish, it might be satire. Research the site and author to be sure. Check your biases. Consider if your own beliefs could affect your judgment. Ask the experts. Ask a librarian, or consult a fact-checking site. From: International federation of library associations and institutions.]
Attribution: By IFLA ( [CC BY 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Donate, If You’re Able

We know that many in our communities are barely scraping by and don’t have extra economic capital to donate. But if you can, please do.

There are so many worthy places to donate.

Sometimes, though, when organizations get an unexpected windfall, they aren’t skilled at managing that great amount of money. (We’re thinking about some of the issues with ALS orgs a few years back.) Feel free to donate to these orgs, but consider donating to local advocacy groups as well, who may not be getting the same windfalls. Consider donating sustainably, and in an ongoing manner, if you are able.


If you’re near DC, there will be a June 30th protest at Lafeyette Square.

If you are anywhere else, use this map to find a protest near you.

Whatever You Do

Stay ready. Stay hydrated. Stay woke.

Love you, fam.


Want to join our volunteer team? Send us an email explaining your qualifications. Resume or writing samples appreciated, but not required. We’re looking for editors, writers who would like to regularly submit, and social media gurus. We do not currently have any paid positions and consist solely of volunteer staffers. In your email, please include creative suggestions on how you’d like to be compensated for your time. ​



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