A six-year-old has raised a startling sum of money to help immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the border as a result of President Donald Trump’s policies that have criminalised individuals crossing into the US.
Atlanta mother Shannon Cofrin Gaggero said that, when she told her children about the families being separated by the Trump administration at the border, her six-year-old perked up with the bright idea to open a lemonade stand to help the cause.
“When I told our kids about children being separated from their parents at our borders, they were understandably upset,” Ms Gaggero wrote in a Facebook post that doubled as a fundraising prompt. “Our six-year-old came up with the idea to host a lemonade stand to raise money in support of those working hard to push back against this inhumane practice.”
Then, the project took a turn for the best when the stand — or, rather, the online fundraiser set up to supplement their earnings — went viral, and her son’s fundraising goal of $1,000 was quickly toppled, and eventually topped $13,000.
The proceeds are now headed to help the Refugee and Immigrant Centre for Education and Legal Service, or RAICES, a Texas non-profit that is offering free or low-cost legal services for immigrants.
The efforts of the Atlanta family fall into the fold of a nationwide trend to pitch in and help the families that have been impacted by Mr Trump’s policies, which have reportedly led to as many as 2,300 children — or more, depending on the estimates — being separated from their parents after arriving at the US border.
That has included children whose parents arrived at the border, and proceeded to present themselves to US Border Patrol agents, requesting asylum the United States. Some of those asylum seekers were then referred to criminal prosecution — while their asylum claims proceeded in tandem — leading to the separation of the families.
RAICES has been among those groups that have received love from the online fundraising, and recently received $20m from a viral Facebook fundraiser.
But, while the group typically has a $7m yearly operating budget, the group says that it even that added cash can go quickly for things like attorneys fees, transportation costs, and paying bond.
“It’s a ton of money, but we’re actually up against the federal government,” Jenny Hixon, development director at RAICES, said in a live question and answer session after the fundraiser wen viral. “They obviously have well more than $20 million to both detain and prosecute these folks. We really want to make sure that we’re able to represent everybody who needs representation.”