Culture

A Woman Captured Her Abuelo Finally Getting His U.S. Passport After Waiting Decades For His Citizenship And It’s So Sweet

The news cycle continues to feed us harrowing stories of communities of color under attack due to the unavoidable influence of Donald Trump’s racist beliefs. We continue to see devastating stories of gun violence against the Latinx community, images of children being ripped away from their families and more images of our communities suffering as a result of dangerous laws and policies put in place by the Trump administration. 

So it’s almost surprising (yet refreshing and hopeful) to see the opposite imagery and portrayal of our communities when they circulate on social media. 

Earlier this month, Brianna Valle shared a video that quickly went viral on social media of her 76-year-old grandfather, Arnulfo, who had just learned that he’d officially become a U.S. citizen.

In the video, the grandfather can be seen overcome with emotion as he reads the news that after nearly two decades, he’s finally become a citizen of the U.S. “It took my tata 19 years to finally get his citizenship. Unfortunately, some families have to wait even longer, even if it’s just to become a resident. Be grateful guys,” writes Valle in a tweet.  

Many people though think that obtaining your citizenship in the U.S. or being on the path to citizenship is as easy as “getting in line.”

There is no line, and if there is, it’s never-ending—especially with the Trump administration’s policies on immigration. 

According to an article in the New York Times, one California man applied for U.S. citizenship in the fall of 2017 (after paying a $725 fee) and it wasn’t until February of 2019 that his application was fully processed. It took more than a year after he applied to be scheduled for a citizenship interview. 

The same article also states that the time “aspiring” Americans must wait to be naturalized citizens has skyrocketed to almost twice as long. Of course, the delays are a result of the Trump administration’s scrutiny of these applications and the diversion of staff from reviewing them. Further, it’s a result of the administration “introducing proposals likely to make it more difficult, and cumbersome, for green-card holders to qualify and complete the process.”

Once the grandfather (Arnulfo) had received his citizen passport card, his wife/Valle’s grandmother laid it out on the table for him to find. In the heartwarming video, you can feel Arnulfo’s relief, happiness, and joy when he takes a look at the citizen passport card.

Valle also spoke to Mashable about the heartfelt video, and she told the publication that her grandfather had gone to the ceremony to become a citizen in July and then he had applied for the passport. “He’s not very familiar with the process and when he had to turn in his citizen certificate and his green card in order to get the passport, he became distressed after a few weeks when he still didn’t receive the passport,” Valle said. 

Valle shared with Mashable that her grandfather also felt stressed when he would see immigration-related news because he no longer had that physical proof of residency from the U.S., so when he finally saw the passport on the table earlier this month—many of his worries went away. 

This just comes to show the real ways that the Trump administration’s stance on immigration hurts our communities. The news alone is enough to trigger or traumatize folks who may fear deportation.

Despite the uneasiness, he felt in the weeks leading up to receiving his U.S. passport, we hope Valle’s grandfather knows that he has many people rooting for him.

People who don’t even know him but were touched by his reaction and his story. “I hope people realize their advantages, while others keep striving to get theirs,” the Twitter user said. 

People on social media shared with Valle their own story about being a naturalized citizen and wished her grandfather the best.

“We take this for granted sometimes, but I know he *never* will. Felicidad!,” another user Twitter said in a post.

Even Latina journalist Maria Hinojosa replied to the video and shared her joy for Arnulfo.

“Crying crying joy,” she said in a tweet. “This is who we are.” 

Valle also explained to Mashable that in the video, her grandfather can be heard saying, “God this is all I’ve asked you, and you gave it to me.” 

“He studied so hard for so long but because of his disability and age it was harder him to learn and understand the questions,” Valle said. But despite those challenges, we’re glad to see that he prevailed and was able to see his efforts pay off. 

Congratulations Arnulfo! 

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

The Biden administration inherited more than an out of control pandemic when they got to work in January. The former administration also left the Biden administration an orchestrated crisis at the border. For some, President Joe Biden is not acting fast enough to fix the problem.

President Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the response to immigration at the border.

The approach, according to Politico, is going to be a two-pronged approach to effectively curb irregular immigration. First, the vice president will focus on stopping the migration journey by addressing the issues in the countries that people are fleeing. Particularly, Vice President Harris will be focusing on the issues in the Northern Triangle countries, which are El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

At the same time, the vice president will be working with the countries directly to solve the root problems. Vice President Harris will be working to strengthen the nation’s relations with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this,” President Biden told reporters at the White House.

There is a lot of talk about the U.S.-Mexico border right now from both Democrats and Republicans.

Bruno Lozano, the Democratic mayor of Del Rio, Texas, is calling on the Biden administration to take steps to curb the issue. Mayor Lozano was a guest on Fox News recently and spoke about what he saw as an influx of migrants coming into his town. Mayor Lozano told Fox News that the number of people coming to the border has strained Customs and Border Patrol in his city.

“You have a breach on national security levels that have never before been seen in modern history and you’re not even batting an eye about it, you’re not even calling it a ‘crisis‘, you’re calling it a quote-unquote challenge,” Mayor Lozano, told the New York Post on Sunday. “It’s a slap in the face.”

Some residents of Del Rio are critical of their local leaders shifting blame for their own shortcomings.

The brutal winter storm that recently shut down Texas depleted many municipalities of their resources. Residents in Del Rio are putting the blame on their local leaders who have tried to pass the buck. Weeks after the winter storm crippled Texas, grocery store shelves remained empty and residents felt overlooked.

Mayor Lozano has been pleading with President Biden to step up and help them deal with the influx of migrants. Del Rio has one processing center for migrants and the increase has left the city and the processing facility strained.

The Biden administration has faced backlash after photos of detention centers show people sleeping on floors.

There have been several reports that the Biden administration is building new places to hold migrants that have come to the border seeking asylum. The administration is currently taking in unaccompanied minors who are arriving at the border while preventing other migrants from crossing the border.

The Biden administration promised to change the approach to the border, but Title 42 has been left intact. Title 42, which was enacted by the former administration at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, keeps people from entering the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that invoked Title 42, which closed the border indefinitely due to public health concerns.

At the root of the attention is the claim that there is a surge of migrants.

Some Republican politicians are claiming that news of more lenient immigration laws is prompting a “surge” of arrivals. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California claims that what is happening is a “crisis … created by the presidential policies of this new administration.”

Yet, a Washington Post report debunks the idea that there is a sudden surge. Rather, what is happening, according to the report, is a usual seasonal trend. CBP has reported a 28 percent increase in apprehensions at the southern border in January and February but data shows an annual spike in migrants from March to May every year.

The issues on the border are complex and will require a lot of time and energy to handle effectively and compassionately. The Biden administration promised to tackle the complex issue of immigration during the campaign.

READ: Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

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