Entertainment

These Celebrities Experienced The Devastating Impact Of The US Immigration System And Are Fighting Back

The current crackdown by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on individuals who live in the United States as undocumented migrants has generated concern throughout the world. Stories of broken families and shattered hearts constantly appear on the media, and thousands of hard-working migrants tremble every time the president tweets a threat announcing a further crackdown. Some celebrities have been able to voice their concerns and share their stories of family and community separation. But let’s not forget that not everyone is afforded a voice, and that lives are being torn apart every single day! 

These are a few of the celebs who have been affected by immigration policies and who have spoken out against the separation of family and friends in a country that was founded on the principle of having open arms for new, hard-working arrivals. 

Diane Guerrero (actress, Orange is the New Black), whose parents were taken by ICE when she was a teenager

Credit: Instagram. @dianexguerrero

The actress was born in the United States from Colombian parents. When she was only 14 in 2001, a high school freshman, her parents were taken by ICE and deported back to South America due to their undocumented status. Guerrero told The Washington Post reflecting on her own experience as a teenager and what younger kids must be going through: “I remember my cries, and it’s nothing like what a 2-year-old must feel. It’s terrifying. I relied on friends and the kindness of strangers. I can only imagine how much harder it would be for children to have to rely on [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] agents and prison guards for comfort.”

Guerrero narrated her experiences in the book My Family Divided.

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She also told Vogue: “We need to protect our children. There are real people behind these issues: families, children’s lives at stake. I was a casualty of it. Me staying behind, living the way I did, a lot of kids go through this. We need comprehensive immigration reform so that we’re not creating this cycle of poverty and depression and everything that comes with separating a family.” What a story, and what an incredibly strong woman. 

Cardi B, who dealt with the deportation of a dear friend.

21savage / Instagram
Credit: Instagram. @iamcardib

Cardi B is famous for being outspoken and never, ever holding back (that is why we love her!). On February 4, 2019, she came in defense of her friend, British rapper 21 Savage, a British citizen who was taken by ICE because he allegedly overstayed his visa. Cardi B wrote: ““Now let me get ghetto ….and for ya d*** breath mother****** talking bout ‘sO hE nOt FrOm AtLaNta’ he grew up there,” she wrote. “His kids and family live there and BLEW UP there with the support of the community he was raised in. Thank you @21savage for being really good friend to me and @offsetyrn and always coming thru when we need you (sic).” Those who defended the rapper claim that the detention had a racial bias: perhaps his real name, Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, had something to do with it?  

Real Housewives star Teresa Giudice, whose husband was never a U.S. citizen. 

Credit: Instagram. @teresaguidice

Giudice’s husband Joe is due to be deported to Italy after being released from prison in 2018. As it happens, Joe was not aware that he was never a United States citizen, as he migrated with his parents when he was an infant. A statement released by the authorities read: “As standard practice, ICE, through its Criminal Alien Program (CAP) works with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to identify foreign-born nationals who are amenable to removal”.

We can only think of all the Latino families that are in the same boat. In the end, it is all about family. As E! News reported at the time, a source informed them that: “Teresa and Joe have no current plan in place for what to do next in their marriage, even though she is committed to finding a way to make this situation work for her family”. Joe remains in ICE custody as the legal proceedings continue. 

Stories like these break our hearts, but some celebrities are using their migratory status to raise awareness!

The Cuban singer shared how at just six years old, she left her hometown of Havana with her mother on a trip she thought would take her to Disney World. From Mexico, the singer traveled to the United States through Texas where she left on a 36-hour bus ride to Miami. Together, Cabello and her mother started off a backpack that held onto their possessions and $500. “Her goal was always to end up in the United States,” Cabello told the magazine in her retelling of the story. “When she got pregnant with me, she wanted me to be in a place where there was no ceiling to whatever I wanted to do.”

Camila Cabello’s story concerns how much her parents were willing to give up for her in order to ensure she had the best life possible.

While Cabello’s mother had been an architect in Cuba she worked in the U.S. at a Marshalls. To ensure Cabello could attend a public school of the highest quality her mother used a fake address associated with an affluent neighborhood. A year later, Cabello’s father, who is from Mexico, swam the Rio Grande to join his family. To help his family make ends meet her father washed cars at a mall. In 2016, he finally received his green card.

César Millán has also spoken up about living in fear of deportation.

Credit: Instagram. @cesarsway

The most famous dog trainer of them all, Mexican (and now an American citizen) César Millán arrived to the United States as an undocumented worker. He was just 21 and had $100 dollars with him when he crossed the border. His story is a true manifestation of the American Dream and evidences the hard-working nature of many migrants. He wrote in his book “Cesar’s Way”: “I am not ashamed to say it: I came to the United States illegally, for the poor and working class of Mexico, there is no other way to come to America except illegally. It’s impossible”. He is now a United States citizen and has generated hundreds of jobs. 

Bambadjan Bamba, the beloved “Black Panther” is a Dreamer.

Credit: Instagram. @bambathegreat

Bambadjan Bamba is a 35-year-old actor who “came out” as a Dreamer in 2017 after the Trump administration threatened to end the program. He was just ten when he arrived in the United States with his parents, feeling a precarious situation in his native country of Ivory Coast.

He was one of the first and few Hollywood actors to reveal his DACA status. He told Variety: “I’m going public first and foremost because I’m sick and tired of living in fear and hiding about this issue. I’ve kind of been in this status for 25 years of my life. I remember when the administration decided to cancel DACA — that was the last straw for me because not only am I married, but I have a daughter now. I didn’t feel like I could still sit back and keep hitting the snooze button.”

Salma Hayek has said that she was also undocumented when she started out in Hollywood

Credit: Instagram. @salmahayek

Our beloved Salmita moved to Los Angeles in 1991 as a student, hoping to become an actress. She has admitted that her visa expired and was in the country illegally, a fact that has been confirmed by her publicist. The truth is that Salma is one of the most representative Mexican voices in the United States, and she often voices her support for immigration reform.

She told World Entertainment News Network about her early days working in Hollywood saying “We are productive for society in many ways. The movies that I’ve worked in have amounted to almost one billion dollars. This is good for this economy. We contribute and it’s a lot of money that I had a part in”.

She also defended the decision of farm workers and other types of laborers to migrate north: “If they could work legally, then they would pay the taxes that benefit America. There needs to be immigration reform. It is really horrible that we are not spending the time actually working out a good well-planned, well thought-out immigration reform.” Hear, hear, girl! 

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

Things That Matter

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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Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Culture

Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Photo via chocolleto/Instagram

Fans of the crispy, buttery Tate’s cookies might be sad when they hear this news. According to current employees, the popular cookie business has been threatening employees who are trying to unionize.

According to multiple employees, Tate’s cookies threatened to contact ICE if workers vote to unionize next month.

According to Gothamist, most of Tate Bake Shop’s 432 employees are undocumented workers. But the National Labor Relations Act says that undocumented workers have a lawful right to unionize.

The powerhouse baked goods company Mondelēz International owns Tate’s cookies. Additionally, Mondelēz owns other popular brands like Oreo and Chips Ahoy. Local union leaders have called the company “anti-union on steroids”.

Once Tate’s cookies heard rumblings of their workers unionizing, however, they hired an anti-labor consultant. The consultant, Carlos Flores, brags on LinkedIn about keeping businesses “labor free”.

“They began threatening people based on their immigration status, telling them that if their documents are not in order and they attempted to join the labor union they would get deported,” said Eastern States’ Union president, Cosmo Lubrano.

The consultant allegedly told workers that he would review their documentation to see if “everything was in order”. If it wasn’t, he said ICE might “send them back”.

“Just because a worker wants to organize, wants to have representation doesn’t mean a company should make their life miserable,” said Julio, an undocumented worker, to The New York Times.

Tate’s cookies employees only began to discuss the possibility of unionizing when the pandemic hit. Workers felt that the cookie company might not protect them should they fall ill.

“We were in the heart of the pandemic at that time and they didn’t know any of the rules that applied to them,” said Anthony Miranti, an Eastern States’ union delegate.

“Will they get paid if they have to self-quarantine? How do they get safety equipment? They were telling us about how they’re all at minimum wage and needed more paid time off and there was just nobody to listen to their problems.”

Officially, Mondelēz denies all claims or threatening workers. They released a statement saying: “Any allegation that the company has violated any aspect of the National Labor Relations Act is untrue. Tate’s prides itself on treating all its employees with respect, and we have fostered over many years an inclusive, supportive, caring work environment and culture with our employees.”

Despite the threats to their livelihood, many workers still believe unionizing will ultimately be beneficial.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who work in union shops. They say things are better,” said an undocumented worker by the name of Catalina to the New York Times. “Why not give this an opportunity?”

As Miranti says, “I think the workers that produce these products should be able to put their heads down on their pillows at night and know their job is secured, that their family has the best coverage out there, that they’ll have a pension to retire on someday.”

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