A fundraising campaign on Facebook called “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child” has garnered more than $15 million in just roughly five days.
It is the largest ever single fundraiser on the social media platform by far, Facebook confirmed Wednesday to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Started June 16 by a couple of average Facebook users, the online movement’s goal is to provide the organization RAICES, a legal service provider for immigrants in Texas, with the resources it needs.
“For years, RAICES has been working with some of the most vulnerable members of our society to ensure they receive advocacy and fair legal representation,” the fundraising page description reads. “They have two key goals at this time … directly fund the bond necessary to get parents out of detention and reunited with their children while awaiting court proceedings” and ensure legal representation for all children tied up in Texas’ immigration courts.
The initial goal was a modest $1,500. The operators of the Facebook page said “will see how far we get,” likely a statement written in the initial stages of the campaign’s publication, showing that the amount raised so far is well beyond their original expectations.
More than 295,000 people have donated, and around 268,000 have shared the page as of Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. eastern U.S. time. Facebook tells TheDCNF that the average donation is about $50.
“We do not have the words to thank Charlotte and Dave Willner [the two organizers of the fundraiser]. Thanks is inadequate for the work these funds will make possible. We know it will change lives. We know it will save lives by keeping people from being deported to unsafe countries,” RAICES said in a message provided to TheDCNF by Facebook. “We’ve been occasionally crying around the office all day when we check the fundraising totals.”
The U.S. seems to have had a policy splitting up immigrant families at the border for quite some time out of an apparent fear that some people who aren’t actually the parents are trying to use children as ploy for entry. But in recent days, the issue reached a new level of public concern. Many are not only protesting the practice of separating children from their parents, but also the allegedly inhumane conditions of the detention centers the waiting immigrants are kept in. An audio recording recently published by Pro Publica demonstrated how hard many of the children were crying. It also included insensitive remarks from certain Border Patrol agents overseeing the kids.
“We are collectively revulsed at what’s happening to immigrant families on our southern border,” the Facebook page’s “story” reads. “In times when we often think that the news can’t possibly get worse, it does — we learned last night that 2000 children (many of them infants and toddlers) have been separated from their parents in just six weeks under President Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy.” (RELATED: Wikipedia Adds US ‘Detention Centers’ To List Of Concentration And Internment Camps)
Trump has since said that he plans on using an executive order to end the policy, but it remains to be seen to what extent and when.
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