The El Paso Community Foundation has formed a fund to help immigrant families at the border by providing them with everything from toothbrushes to housing and legal services.
Wednesday morning, the foundation started a fundraising page at epcf.org/families.
The foundation launched the "Migrant Families Relief Fund" after receiving inquiries from community foundations across the country and donors in El Paso who want to help, said Eric Pearson, president and CEO of the El Paso Community Foundation.
“We are just trying to do the right thing,” Pearson said.
Donations will be distributed to four organizations: Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services to provide legal services to immigrant children separated from their families, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center to provide legal services to asylum-seeking parents, Annunciation House to provide shelter to migrants, and the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee to help migrants pay the immigration bonds that release them from detention.
Launching the fund is not about taking a political position, Pearson said.
But, he added, “When policies of the U.S. are right on the edge of humane treatment, we have to think about that. We want to make sure we are trying to help people and not weighing in on political decisions that are being made but counteracting the ill effects of those decisions.”
A Trump administration zero-tolerance policy, which calls for prosecuting everyone who crosses the border illegally, has resulted in more than 2,300 children being taken away from their parents since early May. That has sparked protests at the Mexican border.
Father’s Day morning hundreds of people gathered in Tornillo southeast of El Paso to express their outrage toward the policy at a protest led by U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, and former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.
Then, on Tuesday, more than 1,000 people marched at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s El Paso Procession Center on the Eastside.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors says a bipartisan delegation of mayors from across the country, including El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, will gather in Tornillo Thursday morning to “protest the Trump administration’s family separation policy and call on the administration for an immediate reversal.”
President Donald Trump has blamed Democrats for the separation crisis and demanded that Congress address the issue by overhauling United States’ immigration laws.