What’s happening to separated families & detained children right now

Today, we hear directly from our trusted partner Erika Pinheiro, whose organization, Al Otro Lado, has reunited more separated families—parents were deported without their children—than any other organization, in conversation with Together Rising Board member Amanda Doyle.

In partnership with Erika, Together Rising has reunited 35 families who were deemed impossible to find and ineligible for reunification, and is reuniting an additional 38 families imminently. 

Here’s what we know: What separated families and unaccompanied detained children are enduring is unacceptable—it was unacceptable years ago under the former administration, and it’s unacceptable today. 

That’s why we’ve invested $9,397,703.37 across 13 organizations to reunify, protect, and advocate for separated families and detained children over the last 3 years and why later today we are announcing an additional $603,072.40 investment in the same urgent work.

Hundreds of families who were ripped apart more than three years ago are still separated from their children. Although the new administration has initiated a task force for reunification, advocates stress that this is not enough. As Erika shared, “Every single day that they’re separated is like an excruciating eternity.”

While this years-long injustice persists, another crisis surges: At least 11,000 unaccompanied children were detained at the border in the last month. Children are denied adequate access to food, soap, and showers, and are sleeping on mats on the ground, wrapped in foil blankets for warmth. The facilities are so inadequate that US law mandates children cannot be held there for more than 72 hours—yet, reports indicate that at least 5,000 children have remained in these conditions beyond that deadline. 

You said it two years ago when you brought Ariel back into his father J Jesus’s arms, and you’re saying it now: We will stand with these families and children until each child is treated humanely, and each and every baby is safe and back in their parents’ arms. 

Later today we will announce your next investment in this work. To see where every penny has been invested and your impact in this crisis, please go to togetherrising.org/family-reunification.