San Diego, CA—6 August 2018
The family separation crisis at the border is one of the most profound humanitarian challenges of our time. Babies ripped from their parents’ arms, children kept in cages and subjected to unspeakable forms of abuse, the criminalization of people seeking asylum, and the terrifying cycle of detention and deportation have tested the nation’s conscience and provoked bipartisan cries of alarm. Each day brings disturbing new revelations, new attempts to justify the federal government’s actions, and fresh excuses for failing to correct these grievous wrongs. While many funders have moved swiftly to address the crisis, the sheer pace and intensity have left others uncertain about how best to step in, and what investments will be most effective and expeditious in mitigating this harm.
Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP), a transnational network that works to increase impactful investment in Latino communities, has a plan to help. On August 6 – 8, 2018, HIP is leading a delegation of some of our country’s most important philanthropic organizations—national foundations and local funders alike—to the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego. Funders will visit key immigration sites and hear from local experts and immigrant-serving organizations to learn about the dimensions of the crisis and guide their long-term funding strategies.
Participants will have the opportunity to attend a hearing on the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of criminally prosecuting those crossing the border and visit Tijuana organizations providing services to newly deported women and their children. Our hope in arranging these visits is to keep the focus on the very real human toll this administration’s policies have taken on the most vulnerable among us, and to better understand the tactics the government is using to criminalize immigrants and asylum seekers. While the policy debates continue, we must never lose sight of the fact that families—mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children—are the ones suffering the consequences of ill-informed and cruel government action.
But our intention is not just to shine a light on the current crisis. We hope that this experience will draw new funders—those not normally active on immigration, asylum, and refugee issues—into this human rights crisis. Our challenge to philanthropy is to stay the course for the long term. There is an urgent need to reset how we approach immigration in this country, centering racial equity and justice, and philanthropy must play a critical role.
We call on our philanthropic partners to help re-spark the ideas and movements that truly embody our American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As George Washington, the father of our country, said so eloquently: “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges.”
HIP urges all of our fellow funders to help honor the vision of our founding fathers, and realize the promise of their dream.
For more information, contact HIP’s senior manager for media, policy, and advocacy, Sonia Melendez Reyes, at [email protected] or 626.274.4877.