KEXP Exclusive Interview: José Manuel Vasquez of the Latino Community Fund

Community Engagement

As of Friday, June 15th, the U.S. government has separated 1,995 children from 1,940 adults at the U.S.-Mexico border between April 19th and May 31st, more than 100 under the age of four, according to reports from the New York Times and the Latino Community Fund website. 

This must end. Families must be reunited. We must act.

This Saturday, June 30th, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather across the country in protest of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. While the main rally will take place in Washington DC, 628 other rallies are planned across all 50 states, including the "Families Belong Together" rally at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. 

On the KEXP airwaves, José Manuel Vasquez of the Latino Community Fund will join DJ Morgan on the air from Noon to 1:00 PM PT to talk about ways KEXP listeners can stand with these families and support their communities. But first, KEXP’s Alina Santillan sat down with Vasquez to talk about how communities can stand with and support the families being separated at the border.

What does Latino Community Fund do, and who do they serve?
The Latino Community Fund cultivates new civically engaged leaders, supports cultural and community based non-profit organizations, and advocates for what is working in the Latino community. We are on the steering committee of the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network, a group of leaders and organizations coming together to work for immigrant rights and protection of our communities and families. Together, along with other coalitions, we are organizing a week of action to amplify the Families Belong Together mass mobilization and week of action for June 30th through July 7th.

How can people support these efforts?
Please help raise awareness and encourage your friends, co-workers, neighbors to come out to these events, donate, and stand up for families and justice in our immigrant communities in this great time of need. There are protests happening all around the world today in solidarity with the families who are being separated from their children at the border. 

Action items include:

•    Donate to our Resiliency Fund 
•    Call your representatives to urge them to reject the Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.
•    Call for all Washington corporations and businesses to stop aiding CBP and ICE in any family separation practice
•    Rally at the Northwest Detention Center on July 1 from 1:30 - 4:00 PM 
•    Activist symposium on July 7 from 11:30 - 4:00 PM at the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in Redmond

What is the biggest issue facing the immigrant and refugee population in the NW right now?

•    Family separation in immigrant communities in the U.S. is not new, and family detention was also happening under previous administrations. But the “Zero Tolerance” policy under the Trump administration is a new policy that criminalizes immigrants crossing the border.
•    Family separation was/is also used as a weapon of legal state-enforced human suffering in our black and indigenous communities for many centuries and today.  
•    The new Executive Order to stop family separation has no verifiable plan to reunite families. We know there are 202 adults in detention at SeaTac federal prison and have been told there are 9 children in WA state. There are also people being held at Tacoma NW Detention Center. 
•    ICE activity has been ramped up. ICE is now showing up in schools, communities, everywhere. Families are being torn apart, still. 
•    We need a cohesive message to State Legislature, Gov. Inslee and Trump administration.

How can people directly support the refugee and immigrant community here in Washington?
Funds are needed for the week of action to cover equipment rentals, permits, porta-potties, etc.  A GoFundMe fundraising campaign has been set up here. The Latino Community Fund of Washington is also establishing a Resiliency Fund to provide immediate assistance for reuniting families and invest directly in Latino-led organizations that are providing legal aid, defend immigration rights, support civic engagement, and/or providing safe spaces for the community to gather. We invite you to contribute to this fund and support our community organizations that are meeting the growing demand for their services.

How can people directly support those families being separated at the border?
Help raise awareness and contact your elected officials to take action and demand accountability over this hostile administration. 
The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES). RAICES is the largest immigration legal services non-profit in Texas, focusing on under-served immigrant children, families, and refugees. They have been receiving an immense amount of support and donations in the past few weeks. We encourage everyone to get involved locally and support immigrant-led groups by volunteering, donating, raising awareness. If you want to find out more about other organizations working with families directly at the border here is a list of a few organizations:

Name of Charity State City
Al Otro Lado CA Los Angeles
Fuerza del Valle TX San Juan
Grassroots Leadership TX Austin
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) DC, GA, MD, MA, TX, CA, NJ, NY, WA Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, San Francisco, Fresno, Seattle, Washington
National Immigrant Justice Center IL, IN, DC Chicago, Goshen, Washington
ProBAR and IJP National All
RMIAN CO Westminster
Texas Civil Rights Project TX Austin, Brownsville, Laredo, El Paso, Alpine, McAllen
The Florence Project AZ Florence, Phoenix, Tucson
Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights IL, TX, AZ, CA, NY, DC Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Harlingen, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, Washington
Innovation Law Lab OR Portland
We Belong Together National All
United We Dream National All
ACLU National All
Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project NY New York
Human Rights First TX Houston
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