After heartbreaking images and stories highlighted the harmful impacts of the Trump Administration’s new policy to separate children from their parents at the border, many felt compelled to help this group of undocumented immigrants. Several websites and people on social media tossed the name RAICES – Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services – as a way to assist this vulnerable community. RAICES is a Texas-based non-profit that provides legal services to undocumented immigrants. In a typical year, it runs on a $7 million budget, but after an influx of donations – thanks to a fundraiser that Charlotte and Dave Wilner started – the organization now finds itself with nearly three times its annual allowance. But despite raising more than $20 million, the organization still needs our support for the herculean task ahead.
“It’s a ton of money, but we’re actually up against the federal government,” said Jenny Hixon, development director at RAICES, during a recent Facebook Live session. “They obviously have well more than $20 million to both detain and prosecute these folks. We really want to make sure that we’re able to represent everybody who needs representation.”
The money – which will go toward legal fees, bond (so that families can be released from detention and find their children again), and transportation costs – will quickly dissipate. A case can range between $2,500 to $15,000. Currently, the organization – which didn’t expect such an outpouring of support – is working to hire more staff. The organization has 50 lawyers on staff, but “plans to go on a hiring spree.” It currently cannot take on volunteers currently because of time constraints.
Though President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order to end separations at the border, about 2,000 families were split up when the policy was enacted. While some have been reunited, there are still many more that haven’t been. As RAICES works to make this happen, you can continue to back them by donating.