Today in a column for HuffPost, Juan Escalante, Communications Manager for America’s Voice, details his experience in Arizona this week helping the Flights for Families campaign reunite immigrant families separated by the Trump administration. Escalante tells readers how he and many other volunteers are stepping in to end the senseless devastation inflicted on migrant families by the Trump administration.
The article is excerpted below and can be read in full here:
Americans have watched, read and heard about the cruelty of President Donald Trump’s family separation policy over the past couple of months, but to see it in action is a completely different story. This week I’ve had a front row seat to the turmoil that immigration detention and family separation has had on immigrants who risked their lives to escape violent conditions in their home countries.
I’ve been in Phoenix, more specifically in a small room in the basement of a downtown Phoenix building. The space, a makeshift office for seven volunteers for a nonprofit organization, is covered with educational posters displaying numbers, the letters of the alphabet, the days of the week and the months of the year. The shelves are lined with school supplies, which tells me the room is a classroom for young children ― immigrants and refugees who have recently arrived in the United States, primarily.
[. . .]
Some of these families are going to nearby states like Utah. Others, as far as Rhode Island. Regardless of where their travels take them, immigrants and their families often undergo a transformative experience ― for the better. Their faces reflect a small yet mighty sense of hope, renewed by every volunteer they’ve encountered since their release from detention. That, of course, is a reward to everyone aiding these families here in Phoenix.
But another, very different kind of transformation is occurring with regard to how this country deals with immigrants and refugees. And this transformation is for the worse. Trump ― and his anti-immigrant and racist policies ― are still unleashing fear and terror on migrant families.
On Thursday the Trump administration once again missed a court-imposed deadline to reunify migrant children with their parents. And it would be easy to dismiss this as just another of Trump and his incompetent staff’s bumbling failures. However, the underlying reason for all this administration’s immigration policies is simple: brutal and unforgiving cruelty toward any kind of foreigner.
It’s hard to overstate how refreshing and eye-opening it is to see the direct impact everyday Americans are having on these migrant families ― plunged into the darkness and cold by Trump, then rescued and brought into the light by volunteers and organizations from every corner of the United States.