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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Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

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Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool / Getty Images

President Joe Biden has a lot of work ahead of him and he is hitting the ground running. On his first day in office, President Biden has a series of executive actions he is signing to reverse a lot of the damage created by the Trump administration. Here are some of the things President Biden will do with these actions.

The border wall on the southern border is done, y’all.

President Biden is saving the taxpayers billions of dollars by halting the construction of President Trump’s border wall. The border wall is one of former President Trump’s several unfulfilled promises at the expense of the taxpayers.

Despite his unrelenting campaign, Mexico never paid a dime to the wall. President Biden’s action to halt the border wall is a humanitarian and conservationist move that will save billions of tax dollars. According to estimates, there would be $3.3 billion in unused funds in the projects accounts.

The emotionally devastating Muslim ban will finally come to an end.

Former President Trump famously put an end to travel from predominantly Muslim countries. The order arbitrarily excluded a group of people based on their religion. The order that has kept families apart for years is finally coming to an end thanks to President Biden.

President Biden’s ation will bring families together and safeguards the rights of religious freedom. The ban has kept spouses separated, children apart from parents, and caused real damage. There is more to be done to make up for the stain on American history and the action is the first step.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is toast.

We all remember the terrifying scenes of Native people being brutalized by federal officials under Trump’s command. President Biden will make sure that the permit for the pipeline is revoked and put an end to a project that has been devastating the Native community. Activists have been fighting for years to get this done.

Undocumented people will have to be included in census counts.

President Biden is getting rid of the Trump administration’s terrible policy of ignoring undocumented people in the census. There have been several arguments by officials that the move would work to undermine certain states. The policy would take federal money away from states that did not support the former president and have high undocumented populations.

President Biden is going to preserve DACA.

More than 600,000 people benefit from the Obama-era program. Former President Trump waged a war against DACA and Dreamers for political points. Most Americans support DACA and a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries. With the new executive action, President Biden will instruct the federal government to restore the program to its fullest.

There is still a lawsuit the Biden administration will have to fight. The lawsuit challenging DACA’s legality was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In total, President Biden will sign 17 executive actions that will roll back several issues created by the previous administration.

“Today, hours after taking the oath of office, President-elect Biden will take a historic number of actions to deliver immediate relief for families across America that are struggling in the face of converging crises. He will sign a combination of executive orders, memoranda, directives, and letters to take initial steps to address these crises, including by changing the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief, tackling climate change, and advancing racial equity,” reads a statement from the Biden-Harris Transition Team. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward. These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president.”

READ: President Joe Biden’s And Vice President Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Represented America

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

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