Entertainment

A Man Was Arrested By ICE After Criticizing Their Policies So Two NFL Players Bailed Him Out

Three months ago, we reported the ICE arrest of immigrant activist José Bello. Bello arrived in this country when he was just three years old, but he isn’t afraid to speak up and advocate for change. Bello has become a powerful activist in the undocumented community and used his poetry to criticize U.S. immigration policies. He did just that at a public forum at the Kern County Board of Supervisors by reading aloud his poem titled “Dear America.”

Less than 36 hours later, he was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and taken to the Mesa Verda detention center. The ACLU has represented Bello and contested the arrest as a violation of first amendment rights under the grounds that his arrest and the high bail bond was a “retaliatory” response from ICE to his poem. After 89 days in detention, unable to hold his son, NFL players Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins and Demario Davis of the New Orleans Saints teamed up with the New York Immigrant Freedom Fund and the National Bail Fund Network to pay Bello’s $50,000 bail.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) separated him from his son just two days after he recalled telling his son, “We will never be apart, chiquito.”

Credit: ACLU of Southern California / YouTube

Bello’s poem effectively tells America that immigrants aren’t out to get them–they’re here to “work hard, pay taxes, and study”… and build a safe home for their families. Here’s an excerpt:

“The fight has begun
‘We will never be apart chiquito,’ is what I promised my son.
Y’all can try to justify your actions. Try to make excuses.
The bottom line here is that at the end, the people always triumph and the government loses.”

Bello is a 22-year-old father of one, a farmworker, and Bakersfield College student.

Credit: @MVLiberation / Twitter

The ACLU also points to his $50,000 bond as a retaliation attempt by ICE given that he makes just $20,000 a year. During his 89 days of detention, he said, “I could see my whole future going out the window.”

“Those three months that I was detained, I just felt like it was cruel,” Bello told The Washington Post. “I couldn’t hold my child. I would have to push him away from me or I would get in trouble. I don’t think any parent should have to experience that. How do you do that to a child? I feel guilty about that, and I’m trying to make up for that time I couldn’t spend with him.”

Bellos said “it seemed like a dream” that NFL players were bailing him out.

Credit: @ufwf / Instagram

Above is an image of Bello reunited with his chiquito niño–finally able to give his son a hug, free from ICE. “To me, it seemed like a dream,” Bello told The Washington Post. “It’s like something that you hear about in movies. I watch football, and I know how much attention and how famous those people are, so just the fact that they would look into helping me out, it was a great honor. I know who they are. I was shocked in a good way.”

Washington Redskins’ Josh Norman and New Orleans Saints’ Demario Davis made his release possible.

Credit: @NFL / Twitter

“Jose Bello was exercising a fundamental right that we pride ourselves on as Americans,” Washington Redskins player, Norman, told ACLU. “If he was detained for reciting a peaceful poem then we should really ask ourselves, are our words truly free? This is America right? Where the 1st Amendment is freedom of speech unless I missed the memo somewhere. He was exercising that right.”

New Orlean Saints player, Davis, remarked, “We’ve seen ICE round up nearly 700 people in Mississippi and leave their children without parents, we’ve seen them turn away asylum seekers who will face certain death in their home countries. Is this America? We must say no, and we must start by helping our most vulnerable.”

Norman and Davis are both members of the independent “Players Coalition,” which “exists to end social injustices and racial inequality so future generations have opportunity to thrive without barriers.”

Credit: @playerscoalition / Twitter

The Players Coalition was founded in 2017 by Anquan Boldin and Malcom Jenkins. The Coalition also has a Task Force Board of 12 voting members, all of whom are NFL players, with the money and social influence to effect change. For example, Davis also helped push through LA House Bill 265 which expanded voting rights to returning citizens and Chris Long gave his entire year’s salary to educational initiatives.

Listen to Jose Bello’s “Dear America” to see why ICE retaliated.

The fight isn’t over. While Bello is out on bond, he’s still facing a judge’s decision about whether he will be deported or allowed to stay in America. ICE claims his arrest was the result of a DUI four months prior. ACLU suggests the timing is far more likely tied to his activism.

READ: An Activist Read A Poem Criticizing Inhumane Immigration Policies And ICE Arrested Him Two Days Later Now His Community Is Standing Behind Him

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All The Things We Learned From Netflix’s New “Pelé” Documentary

Entertainment

All The Things We Learned From Netflix’s New “Pelé” Documentary

Netflix continues to churn out powerful films in countries around the world and their latest venture, a look into the life of Brazilian footballer Pelé is another hit. Sure, Pelé may be considered the world’s best soccer player ever but his place in Brazilian history is less clear – at least according to the new doc.

Filmmakers David Tryhorn and Ben Nicholas spent hours in Pelé’s company interviewing him on everything from a childhood spent in poverty to his numerous affairs and his controversial relationship with the authoritarian regime that ruled Brazil during his playing career. Here are some of the key takeaways from this must watch documentary.

Pelé was criticized for not taking a political stance during Brazil’s authoritarian regime.

In 1964, the Brazilian military staged a coup, which led to a dictatorship being established in the country that lasted until 1985. The military government relied on torture and repression to maintain power.

In the film, Pelé is asked whether he knew about these practices at the time.

“If I were to say now that I had never been aware of it, that would be a lie,” he says. “There was a lot we never got to find out, but there were many stories too.”

However, the film paints him as taking a neutral stance throughout, never criticising the regime. Former team-mate Paulo Cezar Lima – aka Caju – doesn’t forgive him.

“I love Pele but that won’t stop me criticizing him. I thought his behavior was that of a black man who says ‘yes sir’,” said Caju. “A submissive black man. It’s a criticism I hold against him until this day, because just one statement from Pelé would have gone a long way.”

The government may have interfered with the Brazilian team.

A dejected Pele leaves the field at Goodison Park after being beaten 3-1 by Portugal, 1966.

The film paints a picture of how national team’s exploits were used to launder the reputation of the military regime during the 1960s. Before the 1970 World Cup, a journalist and friend of Pelé’s describes how it became very important for the regime’s international image that Brazil win the World Cup again. And that meant Pele had to play.

“Winning the World Cup became a governmental matter,” Kfouri says. “The team staff were almost entirely made up of military personnel.”

Manager Joao Saldanha appears to have been fired in the lead-up to the 1970 World Cup for criticizing the Brazilian president, telling a reporter: “I don’t pick his ministers and he doesn’t pick my team. That way we understand each other well.”

Pelé wanted to quit after the 1966 World Cup.

Credit: Pelé / Netflix

In the 1966 World Cup, Brazil was considered a favorite to win, having won the competition four years earlier in Chile. However, there was a massive shock when they were knocked out in the group stages.

“Getting knocked out of the World Cup in England was the saddest moment of my life,” Pelé says. In the film, he tells a reporter: “I don’t intend to play in any more World Cups, because I’m not lucky in them. This is the second World Cup where I have been injured after only two games.”

He played one more World Cup – the 1970 tournament in Mexico, which Brazil won. He’s still the only player to have won three World Cup trophies.

And he admits it was hard for him to stay faithful.

Stores of Pelé’s alleged infidelities and wild romances were common in the tabloids. By 1958, he was a global icon and football’s first millionaire while still only a teenager. And his fans followed him everywhere so it’s hardly a secret that Pelé did not show the same faithfulness to everyone in his life as he did to his club Santos.

At one point in the film, a journalist asks Pelé whether he found it difficult to remain faithful with the amount of women flirting with him.

“In all honesty, it was,” he says, “I’ve had a few affairs, some of which resulted in children, but I only learned about them later. My first wife knew all about it, I never lied to anyone.”

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This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

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