End Child Detention - Define American

Featured Blog post

End Child Detention

"Sick babies are [supposed to be] crying. These kids were just … silent." — The Texas Tribune

Hundreds of thousands of average Americans are speaking up, saying that we will not be a nation that jails migrant children. They are travelling to detention camps along the border to protest, blockading ICE detention facilities in their own towns, walking out of their jobs to protest, writing letters to the editor, and sharing information with family and friends.

You can join this movement and stand up for children and families who are merely seeking safety and security in our country.

Media reports over the past few weeks show young children and teenagers in makeshift detention facilities being subjected to horrific conditions, including: 

○ Lack of showers for days or even weeks

○ Denial of adequate food, water, or clothing 

○ Rampant illness and overcrowding

○ Intentional denial of basic needs such as soap and toothpaste

○ Temperatures that are freezing cold or extremely hot

○ Sleeping on hard concrete under bright lights

The United States has the resources, the technical know-how, and the stated commitment to human rights to process asylum seekers in a fair and humane way. In fact, asylum seekers in developing economies such as Uganda, are met with soap, water, containers for carrying and storing their things, blankets, sleeping mats, and high-energy bars. We can, and must do better in the United States.

In our nation’s treatment of children and families seeking asylum, we are making critical choices about who we are as a nation. This is a historic moment where WE can help shape our own legacy and the type of nation we leave for future generations.

Are you with us?

Here are ways you can take action today to demand accountability and an end to these inhumane detention facilities:


Use this social media toolkit to raise awareness about the treatment of children and their families seeking asylum, and resources on navigating conversations with your family and friends. 

Click here to get updates and resources



**UPDATE** On Saturday, July 27th and Sunday July 28th, kids and families across America are “taking a stand” to raise awareness about the continued separation of thousands of migrant families and raise funds to support migrant families.

Find a lemonade stand near you or host a local event! All proceeds go to help two groups  doing great, on-the-ground work along the southern border: the Rio Grande Valley Rapid Response and KIND (Kids in Need of Defense).

  • Talking points to #EndChildDetention. Can be used when talking to press or in your social media messaging. 
  • Email us if you’re hosting an event, and mention @defineamerican on your social media posts with so we can share your story widely.




Letters to the editor are an impactful tool for advocacy. Not only are they a great way to share information with your local community, but they are also monitored by decision makers who use it as a way to find out what their constituents are thinking. 

Here are some talking points you can use in your letter:

  • Children and families are coming to this country looking for safety, hoping to provide a stable life for themselves and their communities. But instead of safety, they are met with detention centers that are essentially concentration camps. They are met with rape, death, and sickness.
  • Children face horrific conditions, including lack of showers for days or even weeks; denial of adequate food, water, or clothing; rampant illness and overcrowding, intentional denial of basic amenities such as soap and toothpaste; temperatures that are freezing cold or extremely hot; and sleep on hard concrete under bright lights.

Here are some tips on writing letters to the Editor 

  • Personalize it by sharing your connection to the issue. Talk about your own children or your own experience.
  • Keep it short and to the point. Most newspapers have strict word limits on letters, keeping the letter between 200 and 250 words will improve your chances of being published.
  • Think local. Send your letter to community papers which are always looking to share community perspectives.  
  • Include your contact information. It won’t be published, but most newspapers require it to be able to follow up with the author. 

If your letter is published, be sure to let us know by emailing Khadija so that we can share it on our social media channels.


Family separation and detentions are happening across the country, most likely even in your community. 

ICE remands people to detention centers across the country, holding people under criminal/penal rules, deporting them for something as small as fare evasion. You can take action and support immigrants in your community today by finding a local advocacy organization to volunteer with. 



Inhumane conditions at detention camps have been widely reported.

“A chaotic scene of sickness and filth is unfolding in an overcrowded border station in Clint, Tex., where hundreds of young people who have recently crossed the border are being held.” — The New York Times

This is an urgent situation. The trauma we are inflicting upon these children and their families could impact the rest of their lives, and some have already died in detention. Our nation has long held two opposing strands of cultural thought on newcomers. Those who support segregation, mass incarceration, immigrant detention, and internment seed fear and hatred in their hearts and into our communities. But Americans who look to create a diverse nation of greater freedoms for all — and social, political, and economic inclusion — continue to seed a spirit of welcoming newcomers, and nurturing an America where people from all backgrounds can belong and dream.

Accountability is necessary. Accountability for those committing these inhumane acts, and for the media, which plays a critical role in defining America as a nation where all who yearn for freedom are welcomed, and not a nation that cages children. 

Join the movement and we will send you tools to ensure the media continues critical and hard-hitting coverage of this issue and re-writes the hate-filled narrative that allowed kids to be placed into detention in the first place. In our nation’s treatment of children and families seeking asylum, we are making critical choices about who we are as a nation.





○ Join us today in building the movement by bringing your friends and families into the conversation. 

○ Be bold in your advocacy of our immigrant friends, families, and neighbors across the nation. 

○ Together, we will hold the administration accountable and demand an end to these inhumane practices.

Let's Talk

Create change, one story at a time.