Culture

On A Scale Of 1 To Mazapán, We Know How Much Your Life Is Falling Apart?

Credit: @aqalfredo / Instagram

Is your life solid or crumbling in your hands like an old piece of Mazapán? We’d bet you we can tell from these questions.

US Border Patrol Sent This Man And His Child Back To Mexico And Hours Later They Were Thrown Into Trucks And Abducted

Things That Matter

US Border Patrol Sent This Man And His Child Back To Mexico And Hours Later They Were Thrown Into Trucks And Abducted

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It seems like every day we hear another tragic story about a family being denied entry to the US, or a archer dying with his daughter as they attempt to cross the Rio Grande. The news coming from the US-Mexico border is largely framed in Trump’s quest to literally seal it off from the rest of the world. 

What we lose in that narrative are the stories that paint the truly disturbing picture of US complacency in the crimes that are being perpetrated against the people we are sending back to Mexico as they await their court dates. Many of these people are fleeing extreme violence and poverty in their native countries and yet the US is forcing entire families to wait in what they themselves call “no-go zones” — areas that are so dangerous the US advises it’s own citizens to avoid all travel to.

Trump’s ‘Migrant Protection Protocols’ – commonly known as ‘Remain in Mexico’ – is jeopardizing people’s lives. 

According to a report by VICE News, a man and his family were kidnapped hours after being turned back to Mexico. 

After being turned away by US immigration officials, under the guise of Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, a man identified as David says cartel members surrounded David and a dozen other migrants at a bus station. The exact same bus station the US border patrol had just dropped them off at. 

David is among the estimated 42,000 asylum seekers who’ve been returned to Mexico in recent months under President Trump’s new asylum policies. The Trump administration calls the policy “Migrant Protection Protocols,” but far from offering protection, the policy has led to a brutal wave of kidnappings in some of Mexico’s most dangerous border cities.

“They are sending them to a place that is too dangerous,” Laura, David’s sister, told VICE News. “Why are they doing this? Why, if Mexico is a place that is so dangerous?”

The man and his child were forced into trucks and taken away. 

David told VICE News that he and another dozen or so asylum seekers who had been returned that day to Mexico arrived at the bus station in Nuevo Laredo, a group of 20 men were already waiting for them. Immediately, the men forced David, his child, and the other migrants into trucks, as an immigration official looked their way but did nothing. 

And according to “David,” an immigration official looked their way and did nothing to help. 

David said the kidnappers took his few belongings, including the paperwork U.S. Customs and Border Protection had given him. Without it, he and his child can’t enter the U.S. to attend their hearing in December.

The kidnappers took a dozen pictures of each of the migrants who were being held, and they took notes on everyone — their full names, where they were from, their family members. The cartel was also holding at least 20 other men, plus dozens of children and women, who “were treated like pieces of meat,” David said.

They separated the women from the men, and beat any of the men who turned to look. David said one man tried to escape and they shot him dead.

The cartels know these are some of the most vulnerable people and they’re ready to make money off their suffering.

Powerful criminal organizations have seized on Trump’s changes, targeting asylum seekers with family in the U.S. by holding them hostage until their relatives come up with thousands of dollars to pay for their release.

And the US government is letting it happen.

In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across from El Paso, Texas, more than 6,000 people are registered as waiting in line just to receive court dates. Many are at shelters run by charities where small children have been sleeping for months on exercise mats. Shelters have been attacked by gunmen, and migrants have been kidnapped by human traffickers as they wait for their names to be called by the U.S. Often, only 10 to 20 families a day are interviewed.

At a migrant camp on the Mexico side of the Gateway International Bridge, which links Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas, migrants don’t have access to showers and resort to bathing in the Rio Grande River, said Dani Marrero Hi, an outreach coordinator at the Texas Civil Rights Project. Earlier this week, a 17-year-old girl had to be rescued after she couldn’t swim against the current, she said.

The Hispanic Caucus wasn’t mincing words, saying they completely blame the administration for this tragedy. 

Several non profit organizations and members of Congress have admonished the administration for acting without care for any of these people’s lives and safety.

Yet a recent Supreme Court ruling empowers Trump to take his cruel ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy even further.

The decision allows the Trump administration to enforce a new rule sharply limiting who can apply for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. While a legal challenge proceeds, Central Americans who cross through Mexico won’t be able to claim refugee status in the U.S. unless they previously applied for protection from one of the countries they passed through.

After the court decision was announced, the White House issued a statement saying it allowed the administration to make “needed fixes to the broken asylum system,” adding, “This greatly helps build on the progress we’ve made addressing the crisis at our southern border and will ultimately make American communities safer.”

The latest blow to people fleeing violence and political unrest arrives amid President Donald Trump’s push to drive down border crossings. Those numbers have already plunged after he persuaded Mexico under threat of tariffs to send more than 25,000 national guard troops to its borders and to receive tens of thousands of asylum seekers awaiting court hearings in the U.S.

From Mordida To Having Enough Beer To Fill A Stadium, Mexican Birthday Parties For Kids Are Where The Real People Turn Up

Culture

From Mordida To Having Enough Beer To Fill A Stadium, Mexican Birthday Parties For Kids Are Where The Real People Turn Up

There are tons of perks to getting older. You’re finally allowed to do all the things you couldn’t wait to do when growing up. You have more personal freedoms and — with every year you get another opportunity to celebrate your birthday. As awesome as these events can be, they never quite live up to the birthday parties of our childhoods. 

The piñatas, the presents, the pastel — these celebrations were really one of a kind and have set the standard for all the merry-making of our lives. There’s really nothing like the gatherings of our early years and we have plenty of fond memories that prove that our childhood birthday parties really couldn’t be beat when it came to food, fun and family.

1. Getting to go all out with your birthday outfit.

Instagram / @cant_read_cause_im_blind

Just like our parties nowadays, birthdays are an occasion to show out with our best looks. Back then it might have meant appearing in your prettiest princess dress or whatever outfit you had to grab everyone’s attention. Whatever it was, it needed to let the whole party know that they were there for your big day. 

2. Having your party be an excuse for a mini-family reunion. 

Twitter / @GeorgeDomimguez

Your birthday party was basically an excuse for your parents to invite every adult they knew. That mostly meant an invite to family members you couldn’t really remember. This wasn’t a problem, though. After all, more guests means more presents. 

3. Getting cash slipped to you as you greet all your tias and tios.

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Speaking of presents, remember when your older family members would causally slip you the best birthday present there is. We’re talking about cold, hard cash. Your birthday party was the one day of the year where your mom didn’t have to nag you about saying “hi” to everyone. You were already ready to get that green even if it meant letting all the tias pinch your cheeks. 

4. Going wild with your primos in the bounce house.

Instagram / @njtoddleradventures

The bounce house is a staple at any birthday party but they really posed an opportunity for us to go wild as kids. This wasn’t meant to be a relaxing jump; most of the time we were honestly trying to tip this thing over.

5. Taking that same energy to the dance floor when your favorite song came on.

Instagram / @aferzystka

Another place that we were able to let loose was the dance floor. Back then, it didn’t matter if we didn’t know the dance moves or didn’t have the rhythm down. All that mattered was that we were tiring ourselves out and working up an appetite. 

6. The overwhelming amount of food your family prepared.

Twitter / @carliannvela

Speaking of being hungry, if there’s one thing that our culture appreciates, it’s food. Back in the day, we all had bottomless stomachs and didn’t have to worry about la dieta. Those were the days. 

7. Having more beer than kids at the party.

Twitter / @bluestripzjulio

It didn’t seem strange when we were kids, but it definitely makes us laugh now. Growing up, there was always an excess of cerveza at every party we went to. Be it baby shower or christening, beer was always in supply but no time more than during our childhood birthday parties. Now we’re the one’s bring the six-packs into the parties.  

8. Whacking that piñata filled with all your favorite candy.

Twitter / @ririgreeena

No party is complete without a piñata. Who among us doesn’t have a picture like this from one of our parties. While most of us are now on piñata duty, back then we got to take out our aggression by whacking the candy out of these party staples. 

9. Having all your drunken tios singing “Happy Birthday” to you.

Instagram / @blue_eyez1333

Back during these childhood birthdays, we would have to sit through “Happy Birthday” in both English and Spanish. Sometimes, “Las Mañanitas” was also brought out depending how drunk the tios were. Now, when we suffer through that as adults, it’s usually our friends drunkenly singing to us. 

10. That one family member that just had to smash your face into the cake. 

Twitter / @celestefayala

Some things you never grow out of and this is one of them. We call this a birthday facial and the sooner you get it over with, the sooner we can eat some cake. 

11. Surviving a cascarones battle with all the other kids (and some of the adults).

Instagram / @vankoran

Cascarones are the colorful, confetti-filled eggs that Mexicans have during Easter and at birthday parties. You definitely don’t miss these if you were the kid all the other kids targeted. We’ve still got confetti in our hair from our last cascaron battle. 

12. Having tons of pictures taken of you all throughout the party.

Instagram / @callmesabrina

Having a whole group of people yell at you to smile while blinding you with flashes doesn’t seem like it would be a fond memory but it is. Maybe that’s why we love taking selfies so much.

13. Planning next years party before your last guest even leaves the house.

Instagram / @thealarconlife

One year down and, hopefully, many more to go. When we were kids, we never minded growing older. Catch us at the next children’s birthday party, reliving these memories as adults.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6x5jSCNE2w&t=3s