Culture

These Signs First Appeared In Southern California 20 Years Ago And There Is Only One Still Standing

In the mid-1980s, immigrants fleeing north to the U.S. from Mexico were risking their lives by crossing through busy freeways. Dozens of immigrants were struck by moving vehicles and some immigrants were left watching their parents or children die from their injuries, according to San Diego Union-Tribune. The frequency of the accidents prompted the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to create a sign to alert drivers to the danger that was specific to that stretch of the interstate along the U.S.-Mexico border. There were originally ten signs along the 5 Freeway alerting drivers to the danger of people running across the freeway. Today, only one remains and, according to Los Angeles Times, as soon as it’s gone, it won’t be coming back.

The decreasing number of border crossings means that the signs are now considered obsolete.

According to Cindy Carcamo of The Los Angeles Times, 1986 was the most active time for border crossings in California. Border patrol agents in the San Diego area detained 628,000 people who crossed the border into the U.S. Despite being rather small in comparison to the rest of the border, Los Angeles Times reports that the border along the California state line accounted for almost 40 percent of all immigration arrests in the 1990s. The sheer number of people crossing is why CalTrans graphic designer John Hood was assigned the task of creating a sign that would let drivers know what to expect on that stretch of freeway. Since then, the number of people crossing over from Mexico to California has seen a significant drop, with only 31,891 arrested for crossing the border in 2016, according to Los Angeles Times.

When the signs were first revealed, there were immediate and strong reactions from all sides of the immigration debate, according to San Diego Union-Tribune. Immigrants and Latinos saw the sign as dehumanizing and akin to showing immigrants as faceless animals. Those who were against undocumented immigration thought that the state should not be spending time and money trying to keep them safe.

“Either you liked it or you hated it,” Steve Saville, a veteran CalTrans spokesman, told San Diego Union-Tribune. “It was an extraordinary measure to deal with an extraordinary situation.”

The road sign became a part of pop culture, with artists taking the original image and reimagining it. Here’s one from Chicano artist Lalo Alcaraz.

CREDIT: laloalcaraz.com/

“You create your work, and that’s the extent of it. You never envision something like that to happen,” Hood told Los Angeles Times. “It’s become an iconic element. It lives on.”

It has also been used as a politically-charged message about immigration and political climate.

CREDIT: GETSTUMPED / Reddit

The signs above appeared aroundSouthernn California leading up to the 2016 election. It was created by street artist Unsavory Agents to be pro-Trump’s immigration rhetoric.

“It’s served its purpose,” Hood told his son when they visited the last sign, according to Los Angeles Times.

(MORE: Los Angeles Times)


READ: Malibu Sanctuary City Sign Draws Strong Reaction From Left And Right

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California Farmworkers Treated To Touching ‘Farmworkers Appreciation Caravan’

Culture

California Farmworkers Treated To Touching ‘Farmworkers Appreciation Caravan’

Sal Lua / Facebook

No matter what is happening in the world, farmworkers are always there to make sure that we have food. We have seen images of farmworkers in the fields during wildfires and other natural disasters. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different and some people have come together to show them some love.

Farmworkers are still in the fields harvesting produce so we can all have food while sheltering at home.

Credit: Sal Lua / Facebook

Farmworkers have been deemed as essential during the pandemic and they are still in the fields picking the fruits and vegetables we all need during this time. Unlike most people, the farmworkers, who are largely migrants, are risking their health to make sure that we all have the food we all want and need.

One group of farmworkers got a moment of love and appreciation from people who rely on them.

Credit: Sal Lua / Facebook

Despite being deemed essential and being given paperwork that lists them as essential, they are still not protected. According to The New York Times, the same workers deemed as essential are still at risk every day of being arrested, detained, and deported because of their immigration status.

The small parade of love has received national attention on social media.

The photos came from a farm in California, which has a high undocumented population, especially among farmworkers. According to data on undocumented immigrant stimulus checks offered, there are about 2.3 million undocumented people living in California.

People in the mini parade held signs offering messages of love and appreciation for the people working in the fields.

Credit: Sal Lua / Facebook

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have both called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to develop a plan to help detainees during this time. Immigration and criminal justice reform advocates fear the devastating impact COVID-19 could have on people currently detained.

“Immigration detention should not be a death sentence,” Andrea Flores, ACLU deputy director of policy, Equality Division said in a statement. “Detention in ICE facilities is inherently dangerous as we endure the COVID-19 pandemic, and ICE has demonstrated it is unable to provide safe and sanitary conditions — even in the best of circumstances. This extraordinary public health crisis compels an extraordinary response. Temporarily suspending enforcement and releasing those in detention is necessary both for the safety of detainees and staff and to flatten the curve for all.”

The group, called the Farmworker Appreciation Caravan, is doing more than showing support.

The group is raising money to help farmworkers and their families during this time. The farmworkers are not paid much for their jobs and the strain from a pandemic could bring financial stress under which most Americans are struggling. This bit of help from the community could change the world for some of the families.

The images are being met with an admiration for the farmworkers.

“Thank you to your hands who are making it possible for us to get food to our table,” one Twitter user said. “Thank you so much for your hard work.”

READ: More Than A Million Farmworkers Are Putting Themselves At Risk During The Coronavirus Pandemic And Here’s Why

Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

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Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

Win McNamee / Getty

Donald Trump ran on a campaign pledge to severely limit the rights of migrants and refugees attempting to reach the United States. In office, he wasted no time restricting authorized and unauthorized immigration, with travel bans for citizens of a number of Muslim-majority nations, cutting the numbers of refugees the U.S. accepts, and pushing ahead with plans to build a wall on the southern border.

Now amid a global health pandemic, the president is looking to scapegoat migrant and refugee communities by banning all applications for immigration to the U.S. The move is largely seen as symbolic, however, since the U.S. has already largely stopped processing immigration applications due to reduced capacity.

The White House on Monday announced that President Trump would be signing an executive order to temporarily ban all immigration to the U.S.

President Trump tweeted on Monday that he will pass an executive order to suspend immigration to the United States, claiming that he is seeking to protect jobs in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Democrats were quick to criticize it as a “dumb move” and pointed to testing as a safe way to reopen the economy. Not to mention that the U.S. is already home to the largest number of cases around the globe.

Trump tweeted: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

Obviously, since he made the major announcement over Twitter, there is very little clarity over what immigration programs might be impacted. And the White House still hasn’t offered any guidance on what Trump meant by the tweet.

Trump has taken credit for his restrictions on travel to the U.S. from China and hard-hit European countries, arguing it contributed to slowing the spread of the virus in the U.S. But he has yet to extend those restrictions to other nations now experiencing virus outbreaks.

Although the announcement has left many in shock, the U.S. was already severely limiting immigration due to the pandemic.

Already, much of the immigration flow into the country has been paused during the coronavirus pandemic, as the government has temporarily stopped processing all non-worker visas. And, the executive order in its current form will exempt seasonal foreign farm worker visas, one of the largest sources of immigration at the moment.

The administration has already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada and Mexico, and has paused processing for immigrants trying to come into the U.S. on non-worker visas because of office closures.

But given the usual chaotic roll out of Trump Administration directives, we still don’t know how long this suspension will last nor what will happen with the applicants already being processed.

Thomas Homan, Trump’s former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Reuters: “It’s really not about immigration. It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”

And it seems the fact that the U.S. already has the largest number of cases on Earth is completely lost on the president.

As of early April, the United States is now home to the largest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections on the planet. There are more than 800,000 cases confirmed by testing and more than 44,000 deaths associated with the virus. In fact, the U.S. now makes up for nearly a third of all Covid-19 infections and a quarter of all deaths.

If Trump wants to make an impact and help flatten the curve in the United States, he should stop promoting the anti-lockdown protests instead of scapegoating immigrant and refugee communities.

Democrats and migrant right’s groups quickly slammed the president’s proposal as xenophobic and counter-productive.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California, also a former 2020 presidential candidate, responded to Trump’s tweet as well, saying the move was “shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.”

“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1,” she wrote. “His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda. Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a Democrat who ran for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said in response, “We don’t need to protect America from immigrants. We need to protect her from you.” Now that’s a pretty legit clapback.