How to Help Families Separated at the Border

Ways to volunteer, ways to donate, ways to take action

Families Belong Together rally at the Texas State Capitol on June 14 (photo by John Anderson)

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of breaking up families who have crossed the U.S./Mexico border illegally has resulted in an estimated 2,000 children forcibly separated from their parents and housed in detention.

In addition to a mounting protest over the policy and housing conditions, a host of local and national nonprofits have stepped in to try to reconnect separated families and to provide emergency legal aid and other badly needed services along the border. Here are some of those groups, and ways to volunteer, donate to the cause, and make your voice heard by elected officials.

Families Belong Together National Day of Action

Dozens of advocacy groups including are organizing a nationwide day of action for Saturday, June 30. The main rally will take place in D.C.'s Lafayette Square; of the many satellite protests planned, Austin's will take place at the Texas State Capitol starting at noon.


The ACLU wants you to call your senator. Their website locates the phone number for you and provides a script for urging elected officials to denounce the Trump administration's family separation policy.

American Gateways

This Central Texas nonprofit provides legal services for asylum seekers. They are seeking both attorney volunteers and non-attorney volunteers, as well as donations.

Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project

ASAP is asking for donations for emergency legal services to refugee families.

The Austin Bar Association Civil Right and Immigration Section

The Austin Bar Civil Rights and Immigration Section is hosting a training session for attorneys to help families separated upon entering the United States. The session is full, but Spanish-speaking attorneys who wish to attend can be put on the waitlist.

CARA Family Detention Project

The CARA Project – a joint effort of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association – is looking for volunteer attorneys, law students, and paralegals with interest and experience in asylum work. Volunteers should be either fluent in Spanish or collaborating with an interpreter.

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley

The Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley is sheltering families who have recently been released from border patrol custody. They are taking volunteers and donations.

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services

Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services is taking donations and volunteers.

Kids in Need of Defense

KIND, which promotes immigrant and refugee children’s rights, is looking for volunteers and donations.

Las Americas Immigration Advocacy Center

The center seeks volunteers and donations to provide legal representation to refugee families.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is taking donations to provide children separated from their families with shelter and beds, medical services, counseling, and therapy.

Justice for Our Neighbors

This national United Methodist immigrant ministry provides legal services to immigrants, refugees, and asylum chapters, and has several Texas chapters.


Neta, a bilingual multimedia platform based in the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border, is taking online signups for residents who are able to visit the ports of entry to take supplies or verify if there are asylum seekers who need help. They are also taking money donations, which will go toward supplies, such as diapers, underwear, bras, baby wipes, sandals, non-perishable food items, deodorant, hygienic supplies, and water.


Via the LEAF Project, RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) is taking donations to provide universal representation for released unaccompanied kids in Texas.

RAICES is also accepting donations to support legal services for detained separated parents and for bonds to get parents released.

Safe Passage Project

Safe Passage Project is accepting donations to provide lawyers and part-time paralegals for underrepresented children. They are also seeking pro bono attorneys and other volunteers.

South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project

The project provides pro bono legal services to asylum seekers detained in South Texas. They’re seeking volunteers.

Texas Civil Rights Project

The Texas Civil Rights Project is looking for volunteers who speak Spanish, Mam, Q’eqchi’ or K’iche’ and have paralegal or legal assistant experience. They are also taking monetary donations.

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights is assigning child advocates to kids whose parents have been deported, and they are taking donations.

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