Culture

VIDEO: Quinceañera Breaks Down In Tears As She Dances With Her Brother After Father Was Deported

There seems to be no end to the horrifying stories we’ve been hearing that illustrate the fallout of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy one which has been the hallmark of his presidency since he took office. Among the headlines that describe the effects of the immigration policy are those highlighting the sub-human conditions at the migrant-holding facilities at the border, or the those telling the terrifying stories of students being taken into ICE custody right before their high school graduation.

And the sad news doesn’t stop there.

Recently, a Latina’s Twitter post went viral when she shared the story of her niece being forced to dance el valz at her Quinceañera with her brother after her father was “taken” by immigration.

Twitter user @prisesaks took to Twitter on Monday to share a video of her young cousin dancing what is traditionally the father-daughter dance while holding her brother and crying. “So my uncle which is her dad was taken by immigration a week before her 15 and sadly he wasn’t able to be there,” @prisesaks said. “Her brother had to take his place in the father/daughter dance. It just broke my heart”.

The heart-tugging video shows the 15-year-old girl holding her brother while slow dancing with him. Her hand covers her mouth as she tries to hold back sobs. Her brother also looks visibly emotional.

The video and Tweet quickly went viral, racking up almost 3.5 million views, over 60,000 retweets, and almost 1,500 comments.

The traditional father/daughter dance at a Quinceañera is one of the most important parts of the birthday celebration and also a moment that many young Latinas look back on as a defining moment of transition from youth to adulthood. The fact that this Latina’s father could not be there to celebrate it with her is understandably upsetting for many people.

Twitter users responded to the video with a spectrum of emotions ranging from pity to outrage.

It’s understandable that such an emotionally-charged video can bring up a lot of feelings in people. Quinceañeras are supposed to be a day of celebration–a time in a Latina’s life when she gets to be “Queen for a Day” and she officially begins the transition from a child to a young woman. Unfortunately, this young woman’s entry into adulthood was much sadder than she had anticipated.

This Twitter user brought up a valid point about the difference between flashy headlines and the fact that people’s lives are actually being affected:

With all of the political tactics and clickbait articles that go around online, it’s easy to forget that there are humans beings involved in the immigration debate.

This Latina was heartbroken over the separation of a family:

After hearing stories of the appalling behavior of border control agents mocking migrant deaths and making fun of their pain, it’s easy to feel jaded towards immigration officials.

This Latina gave props to where props were due for the younger brother for stepping up for his sister:

The burden of family separation should not have to be placed on the shoulders of young ones.

Even the birthday girl’s older sister took to Twitter to express her appreciation that their story was being told:

Although their family’s situation is a tragedy, it’s a blessing that they have a platform to educate the world on the everyday realities of family separation.

This man educated the public on how important the father/daughter dance is to many young Latinas:

We can’t imagine how the young girl was feeling at the moment.

The video is just more evidence of how Trump’s policy of family separation has a real, lasting impact on Latino families. While statistics and news article tell a part of the story, the numbers and abstract policy discussion don’t illustrate the full picture like these small, intimate glimpses into the lives of Latinx families whose lives are forever changed by the Trump administration. Moments like these are formative in young adults’ lives, and this girl will forever have to look back on what was supposed to be a special day with bittersweet feelings.

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Fierce

AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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Woman Who Watched Her Mother Die Before Her Eyes While At Sea As A 9-Year-Old Reunited With Her Rescuers

Fierce

Woman Who Watched Her Mother Die Before Her Eyes While At Sea As A 9-Year-Old Reunited With Her Rescuers

May 20, 1986, started out for Desireé Rodriguez and her family as an idyllic morning.

At the time, Desireé’s father (a 30-year-old construction worker by the name of Thomas Rodriguez) had taken her, her mother, and sister as well an aunt and uncle out to Catalina Island for a day of sailing. The plan was to go out, fish, and bask in the summer sun before heading back home. In the evening, just as they were headed home the family was impacted by a dense fog. Desireé and her 5-year-old sister Trisha awoke from a nap on the boat to calls from her father to abandon ship and within minutes the entire family was lost at sea. Out in the water and away from their boat that had capsized.

 The family of six was stranded in the chilly Pacific water for hours and Desireé watched as her father first went to swim for rescue and never returned. In the hours that slowly stretched by Desireé witnessed the death of her sister, her mother, her uncle and then her aunt.

Decades have passed since her family’s accident but Desireé has lived to tell of the story thanks to the two men who rescued her.

In a recent piece by The New York times, Desireé was reunited with the two men who were remarkably able to save her after she spent a nightmarish 20 hours in the ocean.

Only 9-years-old at the time of the tragic events, Desireé recalls believing that her father would return with help when he first swam away from the boat. “My dad was like the superhero to me. I actually thought he would get help,” Desireé explained before calling the desperate hours that followed. After watching her family members die, she found herself all alone.

“At that point, I just kind of made the decision, I need to get away from this boat,” Desireé recalled to the New York Times. “I need to swim away, somewhere else. … Where? I don’t know.”

Just when Desireé decided to give up hope, the skipper of a commercial sportfishing boat spotted her orange life jacket in the water.

The boat’s first officer leapt into the water and fished Desireé out of the water. Desireé was ultimately transported back to San Pedro and never saw her rescuers again.

“I don’t think I would have lived, I’ll be honest with you. I think at that point, I was just kind of done,” Desireé explained in a recent interview about the incident. According to an article at the time that described the incident, Desireé had suffered no major physical injuries and was “in good spirits.” She left the hospital in San Pedro the next time.

“I had even hoped that my dad did make it somewhere,” Desireé explained of her thinking of the time. “Maybe he is living on an island and just got amnesia and didn’t know that he has a family. You know, you always have hope. But you get older, and reality sets in, and you’re like, OK. He didn’t make it.”

Paul Strasser and Mark Pisano, the two men who rescued her, ultimately earned commemorative plaques for their bravery from Mayor Tom Bradley. Desireé Rodriguez, now Desireé Campuzano, was adopted by another aunt and uncle who raised her. She went onto attend junior college in Fullerton, built herself a career in criminal justice, married and had a son. Still, she always wondered what had happened to the men who saved her.

It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that Strasser and Pisano came into contact with Philip Friedman who launched a podcast about his hobby as a fisherman.

“Friedman Adventures” which launched this past December, shares incredible stories from fishermen. Ine one episode Pisano spoke about the 1986 rescue.

“It’s kind of a weird story, kind of like there are some supernatural qualities,” Pisano explained of the experience on the podcast.

Friedman felt motivated to unite the two rescuers and Desireé. Ultimately a friend of Desireé’s heard the episode when it aired and made the connection. He reached out to Desireé and then Friedman and ultimately she and her rescuers were reunited.

“I was nervous at first,” Desireé said of meeting Strasser and Pisano “just seeing [the] guys and putting kind of finalization to the ‘what happened.’” The three were finally reunited during another episode of the podcast.

“I feel like she’s sort of our daughter, in a way, because we brought her back to life,” Strasser said during their reunion. “Even though we never knew each other.”

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