A California couple who started a Facebook campaign to reunite immigrant families will not stop raising money – despite President Donald Trump’s recent reversal on separating families that cross the US border.
Dave and Charlotte Willner have raised over $17 million from more than 460,000 donors since they started the campaign Saturday. The money goes to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES.
“This is a reminder of the power we have when we all stand together against injustice and now RAICES’ work becomes more important than ever. However, a change in policy doesn’t automatically reunite these innocent children with their families or erase the trauma our government inflicted. These families will need legal representation, counseling and other crucial services that RAICES will be able to provide to more people and at a greater and faster scale than ever before because of these funds,” said the Willners in a statement.
They’ve already reunited families
RAICES will use the money to help reunite families and provide legal services, as well as to start a joint reunification fund. This fund will allow them to work with other local organizations to make sure the donations reach as many people as possible.
The organization has already reunited families and provided funds for fathers to call their kids in detention centers. They’re also hiring more lawyers.
“Make no mistake that the administration is changing course because people spoke out,” the fundraiser’s Facebook page said.
“You spoke out. You showed that you’re not okay with this, that none of this okay, and that you won’t stand for it.”
The girl, her mother and others had rafted across the Rio Grande, and they were stopped in Texas by US Border Patrol Agents. The initial aim was to raise $1,500, but a flood of public support caused them to raise that goal. They now hope to raise $20 million, according to the fundraiser’s Facebook page.
“What started out as a hope to help one person get reunited with their family has turned into a movement that will help countless people,” the Willners said.
The couple encourages people to donate to other organizations that help reunite immigrant parents with their children as well.