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'No kids in cages': Children's book authors unite against Trump policy separating families at the border

'No kids in cages': Children's book authors unite against Trump policy separating families at the border
In an image provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigrants taken into custody at the border sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, on Sunday. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection / AP)

More than 4,000 children’s book, YA authors and their supporters have signed onto a campaign to oppose President Trump's controversial family separation immigration policy under the name "Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages."

The campaign made its appearance Monday on Twitter with a statement signed by 20 people with connections to children's literature, including Rainbow Rowell, Veronica Roth, Ransom Riggs, Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz. As of Thursday, more than 4,000 writers, illustrators and supporters had signed the statement. To date the campaign has raised more than $170,000.

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"As members of the children's book industry who have built careers with teen and youth readers around the world, we jointly and strongly condemn the inhumane treatment of immigrant children evidenced by the United States Department of Justice in the past week," the statement reads. "We believe that innocent children should not be separated from their parents. We believe the 'Zero Tolerance' directive issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is cruel, immoral and outrageous.”

It continues, "We believe the Department of Justice is engaging in practices that should be restricted to the pages of dystopian novels. We demand and expect better, and call on our readers to do the same."

A fundraising campaign will direct donations to seven groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services and Los Angeles-based Al Otro Lado.

The webpage for the fundraising campaign says that it started with an initial goal of $42,000, which it met in less than a day. It has extended that goal to $125,000 and as of Thursday raised more than $170,000 from more than 2,800 donors. The organizers are hoping to meet a goal of $200,000, which is going to six organizations and nonprofits providing support to immigrant children and families.

As a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, more than 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border since April, with some being held in large metal cages, with one such enclosure containing 20 children.

Trump has defended the policy and falsely blamed Democrats for the family separations. The administration's policy has drawn criticism from Democrats and some Republicans.

June 21, 12 p.m.: This story was updated with funds raised and signatures gathered as of Thursday.

This post was originally published on June 19 at 11:25 a.m.

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