Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for Getty Images, John Moore, has been photographing immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border for years. This week one of his pictures became the most visible symbol of the immigration debate in America. Keep Families Together

So powerful was that image, TIME magazine’s editors selected it to create the photo illustration to make the July 2, 2018, cover of the magazine. You’ve almost certainly seen it on social media?

Trump’s politically toxic policy, adopted as a bargaining chip to use against Democrats – no wall, no child - has reaped support from just 17% of Americans . It’s also won him the antipathy of the United States’ closest allies, Pope Francis and every living former first lady.


The trauma being perpetrated on children and families at the southern border is a cruelly orchestrated humanitarian crisis.

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Earlier today, Trump signed an executive order intended to stop his policy of separating families at the border. This sounded like good news, but there are in fact at least two major reasons why his executive order is not a real solution.

1. It doesn’t reunite the thousands of families who have already been separated.

Although incoming families may stay together, there is no plan to reunite the thousands of families that have already been forcibly separated. They’re not grandfathered in by the executive order. This means that those 2,300+ children are still separated from their parents, and may not be reunified for months or years.

Lawyers and advocates told The New Yorker that there’s no protocol for keeping track of these parents and children concurrently, or for keeping families in contact with each other while they’re separated. “This crisis will not abate until each and every single child is reunited with his or her parent,” says Anthony D. Romero, the Executive Director of the ACLU. Without a clear process, it’s possible some of these children and parents will never see each other again, according to a New York Magazine report.

2. It paves the way for children and families to be imprisoned indefinitely.

Trump’s plan would keep incoming families together — but in federal custody. Right now, because of a 1997 decree known as the Flores settlement, immigration authorities cannot keep children in detention, even if they’re with their parents, for more than 20 days. But Trump’s executive order says that he wants to be able to detain infants and children with their parents indefinitely, without due process. This could lead to babies and children being locked up with their parents for months or even years.


“This executive order replaces one crisis for another: children don’t belong in jail at all, even with their parents, under any set of circumstances,” says Anthony D. Romero, the Executive Director of the ACLU.

“Family incarceration is not a solution or a reasonable alternative to family separation,” says a spokesperson from the Florence Project, an Arizona non-profit legal organization. “The experience of being incarcerated is traumatic, and countless child welfare experts have spoken out against family detention.” It’s also extremely hard for families held in detention to access the resources they need to fight their cases.


  1. Donate to organisations who will help these children and their parents, and fight this barbarism: RAICES, The ACLU, Catholic Charitiesof Houston and Glennon Doyle’s Together Rising flash mob are good places to look. Check out this state-by-state list of immigration organisations and resources and share as widely as possible.
  2. Join one of the 600+ Families Belong Together events planned for Saturday, 30th June in Washington DC, or in a city or town near you. If you’re in the UK, join the event at the U.S. Embassy which I’m co-hosting.
  3. Follow me in the Families Belong Together – UK group where I’m giving regular briefings on Facebook Live.
  4. And finally if you’re in the UK, sign Amnesty International’s global campaign to reunite refugee families.

Thank you so much for reading and for being such a smart and compassionate community. Please share if you have other ideas for how to help.

Question: Has this article helped you to understand the Executive Order better? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share in the comments box below. 


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