22 Jun

Keep Immigrant Families Together

LSA Family Health Service stands against family separation and for family reunification.

The current immigration crisis in which children are being separated from their parents resonates with us as an organization that:

  • strives to keep families in crisis together;
  • works closely with immigrant families in East Harlem who sacrifice so much to make a better future for their children;
  • provides mental health services to families experiencing the trauma of being separated from their loved ones in coming to this country;
  • is made up of trained professionals who understand the fragility of a developing child and the lasting trauma that separation from a parent can cause;
  • is a community of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.
We urge our legislators and government agencies to return the children quickly and prevent the toxic trauma to children that results from prolonged separation from parents. And we urge them to begin serious work on an immigration policy that is moral, just and humane, and to ensure that this tragedy is never repeated.

What we’re doing to help

For the families we serve, immigration policies that result in families being indiscriminately torn apart have increased the levels of toxic stress in individuals, families, and the community at large. These effects are likely to have long-lasting consequences and intergenerational layers of traumatic stress.

While policy-level changes are essential, the services immigrant families receive through our programs, including a supportive and safe environment, mitigate some of the negative experiences of trauma and loss.

Our on-staff Immigration Outreach Coordinator continues to provide up to date information and resources to families. In the past year, over 1,000 people have participated in our Know Your Rights workshops, and over 400 people received free, on-site immigration legal assistance.

Our counseling and support groups give community members an opportunity to discuss their concerns and fears about immigration policies and the current situation at the border.

We are seeking speakers of indigenous languages in our community to provide translation help to RAICES, a Texas-based organization working to reunite families.

We will continue to mobilize our community to respond in any way we can.

What you can do

Cayuga Centers in East Harlem is looking for Spanish-speaking foster families that would be wiling to temporarily care for immigrant children.  People willing to foster should be Spanish-speaking, live in New York City, and have a bedroom for the child. If you are interested in serving in this role, call the agency’s Home Finding department at 718-860-1656.

Volunteer as a Child Advocate for a unaccompanied migrant child. A Child Advocate is an adult who volunteers to spend time with and advocate on behalf of an individual unaccompanied immigrant child while he or she is subject to deportation proceedings.  Visit Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights for details

The New York Immigration Coalition offers a list of resources for those who wish to take action, including links and referrals to upcoming rallies, information on the most recent immigration legislation, and links to volunteer opportunities and petitions.

Contact your legislators and urge them to close loopholes that allow for family separation. Tell them that you want our government to return separated children to their parents immediately. (Look up contact information for your representatives here.)

Join LSA in the End Family Separation March and Rally taking place on June 30th, 10am – 2pm.  Click here for more details on how to participate.

Make a donation to support LSA Family Health Service and our work with immigrant families in East Harlem.

Updated as of June 23, 2018