Kansas Citians help families detained at southwest border

We all know the story: in the course of a few weeks more than 2,300 children of various ages, from several Spanish speaking countries, were separated from their parents. Public outrage stopped the practice, but the damage had been done.

“Families who have been separated by the zero tolerance policy have needs,” said Megan Ganey of the organization 222 Hermosa. “Dedicated consultants can guide them through the complex process they have ahead of them.”

A short-lived policy continues to be a complex problem. The Justice Department began prosecuting adults crossing the southwest border illegally in May 2018, enforcing a zero tolerance policy dreamed up over a year ago. Adult parents crossing the border were charged with a crime. If children happened to be traveling with the adults, the minors were held in a separate facility.

Ganey set out to prove that people are not powerless when situations like this arise. Her organization, 222 Hermosa Productions hosted an event at the Record Bar last month, raising more than $4,000 in support of border families.

“We need to continue to protest, rally and call for reform,” said Ganey,. “We also need to help the people that our government has deemed unworthy of dignity or respect.”

A former resident of El Paso, Texas, Ganey lived at the border and knows how porous it was before 2016. She and other Hermosa Productions members feel simple solutions can help solve this complex problem.

UMKC alumnus, Jessica Piedra, who was voted Humanitarian of the Year in 2013 by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, explained how money raised by 222 Hermosa was distributed.

Piedra said two local organizations—Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation, or AIRR and Cosecha KC, are using the money to directly assist families with basic needs such as food and housing.

“The families seeking asylum are not given economic support while their cases are pending,” said Piedra. “They are not allowed to work until their paperwork has been pending for at least six months. We encourage folks to continue to give donations and to volunteer to help.”

There were 10 children separated from their parents housed at The Villages in Topeka, and those children have been reunited with family. At least five additional families separated at the border have now come to stay with family and friends in this area. They have immediate needs as well as the responsibility of hiring a lawyer to handle their legal case.

Megan Ganey will continue her fight from Kansas City.

“We need to stand with the immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers to show that we value their human rights,” said Ganey. “We; unlike our government, see them as mothers, children, neighbors and friends, humans with potential and worth—Mi casa es su casa.”

Find out you can get involved at www.222hermosa.com. 

dbv98@mail.umkc.edu

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