After raising $20 billion in a massive crowdfunding campaign, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) has stated they plan to post bonds for immigrant families separated at the border, according to The Hill. RAICES is a Texas non-profit organization that strives to provide legal services to immigrants and refugees.
The non-profit was gifted the funds after a California couple started a Facebook fundraiser, titled “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child” according to the Huffington Post. Within a matter of days, there had been millions of dollars donated to the cause. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg each donated over $10 million. To date, the fundraiser is the largest the social network had ever seen.
In a press release addressing the recent situation at the U.S. border in which thousands of immigrant families have been separated, RAICES executive director Jonathan Ryan stated that their organization was more than willing to take on the job of paying off the bonds.
“We will write every single individual bond check. The administration’s actions have already put a moral stain on the United States, and failure to accept this bond check will only delay and put reunification at risk.”
On Tuesday, RAICES hosted a press conference in Washington, D.C. They called for the end to family separation and called out the Trump administration for the “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in 2,500 children being taken from their families and detained. Though Trump signed an executive order halting the separation on June 20, the order did not guarantee the reunification of those already separated. RAICES announced their desire to pay off the bonds and urged that the White House take the $20 million to facilitate in reuniting the families.
Though the administration was given a two-week deadline to “reunite children under five with their families,” they announced today that they would only be releasing 54 of the 102 children. According to the Huffington Post, only four children have been reunited with their families. The next deadline for family reunification is July 26.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) spoke at the press conference held by RAICES Tuesday afternoon, calling the actions of the Trump administration “a human rights abuse.” He urged people to continue to “hold the administration accountable” by getting a solid timeline and plan of action for familial reunification.
So far, there has been no comment from the Trump administration regarding the RAICES press conference or the $20 million dollar check.