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Online fundraiser for separated migrant families has brought in over $18.5M, breaking records

June 22, 2018 - 11:10 am
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(NEW YORK) -- Hundreds of thousands of people upset about the separation of immigrant families at the border are putting their money into the fight, and making history in the process.

A Facebook fundraiser called "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child" has now raised more than $18.5 million in less than a week, with more than 481,000 people contributing.

A Facebook representative told ABC News it is the largest fundraiser to date created on the Facebook Fundraisers tool.

The representative said it became the social platform’s largest single fundraiser in less than four days.

Since it launched Sunday, June 17, the money-raising effort has regularly increased its goal as it continued meeting previous targets that have included $5 million, $8 million and $15 million.

As of Friday morning, the target was $20 million.

The money is to go to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, a non-profit that according to its website provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families and refugees in central and south Texas.

The fundraising page was launched by Silicon Valley power trio Malorie Lucich and Dave and Charlotte Willner, who were among the original employees at Facebook and now work at Pinterest, the popular image-collecting site. The Willners also work at Airbnb.

Public outrage over the border separations prompted President Donald Trump to sign an executive order Wednesday aimed at keeping immigrant families together.

"I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," Trump said at the signing in the Oval Office.

Under the executive action, the Justice Department is to start a legal process to change an existing court settlement that restricts the government to keeping children in detention with their parents for no longer than 20 days. The sought-after change would allow children to stay with their families for however long the adults are detained.

The order does not do anything to affect the fate of families that have already been separated.

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