Immigrant Parents Are Being Charged to Call the Children They’re Separated From

“The only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children.  Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him?”

Pope Francis, Guadete et Exsultate, 102

Over and over again our country has committed horrific, inhumane acts against refugee children. They’ve ripped children from their parents, put them in cages, subjected them to horrifying conditions. Now, to add an extra layer of cruelty, the government is charging parents money just to speak to the children they’ve been separated from.

The government is charging immigrant parents as much as $8 per minute to call their children. These parents, who have often fled horrific conditions in an attempt to find safety for their families, aren’t going to have that kind of money easily available.

Per ICE’s own rules, detainees should have the right to contact immediate family members via phone for free, but media outlets have discovered that immigrants are being charged to make such calls anyway. The Texas Tribune has accounts from a Guatemalan mom who could only call her three children after saving up enough money to place the call, as well as a father who was denied a call to his son because he didn’t have sufficient funds in his account.

These families should be speedily reunited, and in the meantime, there’s no reason to compound the cruelty. Please, sign a petition demanding ICE ensure all phone calls between separated parents and children be free of charge.