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How to Help Immigrant Families: Take Action

Many people are wondering how to help migrant families that have been detained here in McAllen, Texas and other areas of the Rio Grande Valley. Here are a few ways that members of the public can help.

Donating physical items to the detention centers is difficult, because members of the public are not allowed to enter. The best option is to make monetary donations to various organizations that are directly helping. Here are a few:

ProBAR

ProBAR provides pro bono legal services to children and adults, including asylum seekers and other vulnerable individuals, who are held in immigration detention in South Texas.

Texas Civil Rights Project

Read the organization's press release here about how they are helping.

RAICES

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) serves immigrants and refugees in our community by providing immigration-related legal services, advocacy and opportunities for educational and social support. 

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

From the "Fund Name" menu, choose "Individual Rights", which includes TRLA's immigration law department. Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services to low-income residents in sixty-eight counties of Southwest Texas, and represents migrant and seasonal farm workers throughout the state of Texas and six southern states.

ACLU of Texas

Read about the ACLU's mission to defend immigrants' rights here.

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley operates the Humanitarian Respite Center which offers short-term shelter, food, clothing, and assistance with travel arrangements.

Loaves and Fishes

Loaves and Fishes helps people experiencing hunger and homelessness, and has recently expanded to help migrants. You can read more about their services here.

You can contact your government representatives by e-mail, phone, Twitter, Facebook, snail mail, etc. If you are not sure which Representative or Senator represents you, you can find out here. Every representative has a website with an e-mail form and other ways of contacting them. Just a quick Google search for their name will find it. 

An even easier way to contact your representatives about any issue is with the Resistbot service. All you need to do is text the Resistbot service, and they will look up your representatives, send the representatives a letter that you send to them through text, and then they can also (optionally) post your letter on Twitter with your representatives tagged. The whole process only takes a couple of minutes and is very easy.  

Voting is the most important way to have a voice in anything that is happening.

Check your status:

  • If you live in Texas, you can check your voter registration status here.
  • If you live anywhere else in the country, you can check your voter registration status here. If you are not registered, look for the registration application on your Secretary of State's website.

Find the application:

  • If you live in Hidalgo County and are not registered to vote, you can find the Texas Voter Registration Application here
  • If you live elsewhere in Texas (not Hidalgo County) and are not registered to vote, you can find the Texas Voter Registration Application here.
  • We also have pre-stamped and pre-addressed Texas Voter Registration Applications (in English and Spanish) at the McAllen Public Library (limited supply).

If you are a lawyer or legal assistant, and particularly if you speak Spanish or any of the indigenous Central American languages, the legal aid organizations on the "Donate" tab might be able to use your assistance. Check their websites for more information.

If you are not a lawyer, there are also other ways you can volunteer locally.

Alison Young