Things That Matter

8 Ways Immigration has Hurt Young People

It’s time for a change and Jose Antonio Vargas is leading the charge. The Define American founder launched a new campaign, Coming Out, to give undocumented Americans a virtual community to unite, empower and work toward an immigration reform. Why would someone “come out” for immigration? As Vargas says, “We ‘come out’ to let people in.” Here are some men and women that have come out.

Katherine Vieiramendes

Wife of Brazilian Immigrant

Credit: Katherine Vieiramendes/Facebook

“In Rodrigo I see somebody who embodies all that it means to be American. He holds himself to a high standard every day.”

US-born Katherine Vieiramendes joined the campaign for her husband Rodrigo who migrated from Brazil at 22. Katherine’s eyes opened after seeing her husband work 12-hour, back-breaking construction shifts in order for them to survive.

Julio Navarrete


Credit: Julio Navarrete/Facebook

“I’m shattered, like a broken mirror, reflecting my fragmented reality. How do I pick up the pieces and move on?”

After working three jobs and going to school full-time to become a teacher, Julio Navarrete was alerted by the human resources department at Downtown College Prep that his social security number. His only hope for residency is through the DREAM Act.

Nick & Eloisa Haynes


Credit: Nick-Eloisa Haynes/Facebook

“There are no laws in effect to protect me or my family from this. While politicians debate, millions of families like mine are being torn apart.”

Nick and Eloisa received a letter from the government saying she is permanently barred from becoming a U.S. citizen. They revoked her legal permanent residency because because she lied about her citizenship in college. She says she is left with no choice but to return to Mexico. Her husband, an American citizen, has decided to follow Eloisa to Mexico.

Fernando Sacoto


Credit: Fernando Sacoto/Facebook

“The problem is that the only people that get visas are the people that have money. The poor people, they never get a visa.” 

Fernando Sacoto says he had to immigrate illegally because the legal immigration process for the U.S. discriminates against the poor. He dedicated countless nights while at war and in military training to learn the English language to fully assimilate. Fernando says it took “fighting during a hostile time” in 2006 for him to become a citizen.

WATCH: Man Harasses Latinos for Papers in a Restaurant, Peoples Reactions Captured on Video

Esmy Jimenez


Credit: Esmy Jimenez/Facebook

“I learned that I did not, as a human being, belong to this nation. That twisted sentiment was always a painful one to come to terms with. That I was unwanted. That my existence was ‘illegal.'”

Esmy Jimenez’s mother brought her to the U.S. when she was one year old, fleeing an abusive husband and extreme poverty. As she grew up, she heard the politicians and some Americans talking about the problem of illegal immigration making her feel like “a thing.” She is now at the University of Southern California on a full tuition, merit-based scholarship.

Ashley Brooke Sims-Pecina

Wife of a Mexican Immigrant

Credit: Ashley Brooke Sims-Pecina/Facebook

“I understand why there is a need to pass something, but honestly does it need to be so harsh? Immigrants are people too! And one of those people just happen to be my soul mate.”

Ashley Sims-Pecina was born and raised in Alabama and that’s where she met her husband Michael Pecina. Years after they met, Michael came out to Ashley as undocumented. Living in Alabama, the state with the harshest anti-immigrant laws, leaves Ashley with a constant fear of losing her husband because he is still undocumented.

READ: Gabriela Ledezma’s Turn at the American Dream

Julián Gómez


Credit: Julián G. Gómez/Facebook

“While I can, thankfully now, legally work and travel domestically, and I know in my heart that I am an American, I’m still waiting for my country to recognize me as such.”

Julián Gómez was brought to Miami with his sister after their parents’ store in Argentina was robbed. Julián lived as an undocumented American until he applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That was not enough to offer him the same benefits other American citizens receive for higher education. Julián was unable to get federal student loans because he did not have a green card. He is now buried under a crushing private loan debt he is trying to pay off working as a digital analyst in Washington D.C.

Ariana Aparicio – Mexico

Credit: Ariana Aparicio/Facebook

“It was important for me to come out because I needed to reveal, for myself, and for those who come after me, that there is hope and that there is a way out.”

Ariana Aparicio was born in Mexico but the U.S. is her home and the only country she knows. Ariana has been open about her undocumented status since she was in college and coming out then offered her resources to get the education she needed to follow her dream of educating her community. Ariana hopes that, through education, the undocumented community can create a permanent change that will benefit everyone.

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Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime


Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

The media advocacy group Define American recently released a study that focused on the way immigrant characters are depicted on television. The second-annual study is entitled “Change the Narrative, Change the World”.

Although the study reports progress in some areas of onscreen representation, there is still a long way to go.

For example, the study reported that half of the immigrant characters depicted on television are Latino, which is consistent with reality. What is not consistent with reality, however, is how crime-related storylines are still an overrepresented theme in these storylines.

The study shows that on television 22% of immigrant characters have crime storylines show up as part of their narratives. These types of storylines further pedal the false narrative that immigrants are criminals, when in reality, they’re just everyday people who are trying to lives their best lives. Ironically, this statistic is an improvement on the previous year’s statistics in which crime themes made up 34% of immigrants’ stories on TV.

These numbers are further proof that the media feels stories of Latino immigration have to be about sadness and hardship in order to be worth watching.

According to Define American’s website, their organization believes that “powerful storytelling is the catalyst that can reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.”

They believe that changing the narratives depicted in entertainment media can “reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.” 

“We wanted to determine if seeing the specific immigration storylines influenced [viewers’] attitudes, behavior, or knowledge in the real world,” said Sarah Lowe, the associate director of research and impact at Define American to Variety. “And we were reassured and inspired to see the impact it had.” 

Define American’s founder, Jose Antonio Vargas, is relatively optimistic about the study’s outcomes, saying that the report has “some promising findings” and the numbers “provide [him] with hope”. He added that there are still “many areas in which immigrant representation can improve”.

via Getty Images

Namely, Vargas was disappointed in television’s failure to take an intersectional approach to immigration in regards to undocumented Black immigrants. 

“Black undocumented immigrants are detained and deported at higher rates than other ethnic groups,” Vargas told Variety. “But their stories are largely left off-screen and left out of the larger narrative around immigration.” 

“Change the Narrative, Change the World” also showed that Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants are also under-represented on television compared with reality. Also worth noting, male immigrants were over-represented on television compared to reality, while immigrants with disabilities were also under-represented.

The study also showed that when viewers are exposed to TV storylines that humanize immigrants, they’re more likely to take action on immigration issues themselves. 

The effect that fictional entertainment narratives have on viewers further proves that representation does, indeed, matter. What we watch as entertainment changes the way we think about other people’s lived experiences. And that, in turn, can change the world.

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A Group Of TPS Beneficiaries Are Touring The Country In A Bus To Save The Crucial Immigration Program

Things That Matter

A Group Of TPS Beneficiaries Are Touring The Country In A Bus To Save The Crucial Immigration Program

tps_alliance / Instagram

Updated September 23, 2020

A coalition of people is coming together to stand up for Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries. Federal judges recently gave the Trump administration the approval to end the status for 300,000 people in the U.S.

A group of Temporary Protect Status holders is on a road trip to save the program for 300,000 people.

The National TPS Alliance is driving across the country to engage voters about the need to protect the program. The “Road to Justice” road tour started in Los Angeles and will be stopping in 54 cities in 32 states. The tour ends in Washington, D.C. where the TPS holders will petition Congress directly to save the program.

The program was started in 1990 and offers safe refuge for people who’s countries have experienced disaster, civil unrest, or other extraordinary circumstances. Some people who have been granted TPS in the U.S. include Central Americans after Hurricane Mitch, the second-largest hurricane in the Atlantic, devastated large swaths of the region in 1998. Haitians were also given TPS after the earthquake that devastated Port Au Prince in 2010.

The organization is hoping to engage voters and get them to care about the immigration crisis facing the nation. Activists have already praised the group and pledged to support their cause at the ballot box.

“We are going to vote for justice, for the TPS community,” Angélica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told NBC News. “President (Trump) and his administration are racist and do not care about the damage they are causing to our community.”

Original: A federal court just handed a huge ‘victory’ to the Trump administration, which has been eager to restart mass deportations. Despite a global health pandemic, the administration has been pressing forward with plans to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.

Until now, many of these migrants were safe from deportation thanks to Temporary Protected Status, which shields some immigrants from deportation under humanitarian claims. However, the recent court decision – in San Francisco’s 9th Circuit – gives Trump exactly what he wants right before the elections.

But how will it affect immigrant communities across the country? Here’s everything you need to know about this major decision.

The 9th Circuit Court just ended TPS for more than 300,000 undocumented immigrants.

A California appeals court on Monday gave the Trump Administration permission to end Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan, clearing the way for officials to force more than 300,000 immigrants out of the country.

The decision affects people from all walks of life, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, have U.S.-born children and have been considered essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

This week’s ruling from the circuit court comes after a district court (also in California) temporarily halted Trump’s plan to end TPS in late 2018 after a group of lawyers sued, arguing that Trump was motivated by racial discrimination.

“The president’s vile statements about TPS holders made perfectly clear that his administration acted out of racial animus,”Ahilan Arulanantham, a lawyer for the ACLU of Southern California, wrote in a statement. “The Constitution does not permit policy to be driven by racism. We will seek further review of the court’s decision.”

But today’s 2-1 decision reversed the district court’s temporary order and allowed the federal government to take away TPS protections while the court case continues.

ICE and DHS has promised to wait several months before taking away TPS status if the agency won in court. As a result, the ACLU told NPR that it expects the protections to start ending no sooner than March, meaning that Joe Biden could reverse the administration’s decision if he wins in November, though the organization plans to fight back in the meantime.

Temporary Protected Status was created to protect people in the U.S. from being sent back to dangerous places – and it’s saved lives.

Credit: Daniel Ortega / Getty Images

The TPS program was first introduced in 1990, and it has protected immigrants from more than 20 countries at various points since then. More than 300,000 people from 10 different nations currently use the program, some of whom have lived and worked in the United States for decades.

Trump has sharply criticized the program, sometimes along racial lines, and in one infamous and widely criticized incident two years ago, the president reportedly referred to the program’s beneficiaries as “people from shithole countries.”

TPS provides protection for short periods of up to 18 months, but the federal government has continuously extended it for the countries mentioned in the lawsuit “based on repeated findings that it remains unsafe to return.” 

As a result, it said, most TPS holders have been living in the U.S. for more than a decade, contributing to their communities and raising their families. Many of the more than 200,000 U.S.-citizen children of TPS holders have never been to the country their parents are from and would have to choose between their families and their homes.

The ruling will have a major impact on migrant families and communities across the U.S.

Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Immigration advocacy groups are slamming the court’s ruling, noting it will impact hundreds of thousands of TPS holders as well as their families and communities. In a statement, Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, said the decision will “plunge their lives into further turmoil at a time when we all need greater certainty.” 

As the global pandemic stretches on, immigrants with protected status make up a large portion of the country’s front-line workers. More than 130,000 TPS recipients are essential workers, according to the Center for American Progress. 

“TPS recipients have deep economic and social roots in communities across the nation,” said Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “And, as the U.S. responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, TPS recipients are standing shoulder to shoulder with Americans and doing essential work.”

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