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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

Mexico

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

Mexico

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

Ecuador

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

Mexico

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

Argentina

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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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

Things That Matter

Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

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A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Things That Matter

A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Photo via Getty Images

For most Latinas, having a quinceañera is a right-of-passage. Your quinceañera is the official milestone that proves you’re finally a woman. It’s a party that you look forward to your entire childhood. It’s that one time in your life that you, and only you, get to feel like a princess.

Unfortunately, not every girl has the luxury of having a quinceañera. Some girls’ families don’t have the finances to throw a huge party.

In Miami, a group of “fairy godmothers” organized a quinceañera for a homeless teen girl whose family recently emigrated from Mexico.

The girl, Adriana Palma, had moved with her family from Mexico to Miami in early 2020. But because of the pandemic, her father lost his job. Adriana, her parents, and her three younger brothers spent the next four months living in their SUV.

Relocating to another country is hard enough, but Adriana faced another challenge by being homeless, struggling to learn English, and chasing down random Wi-Fi signals in order to complete her homework assignments. It was a struggle, to say the least.

And to make matters worse, Adriana’s fifteenth birthday was coming up. Adrian’s parents told her that, since they were homeless, they wouldn’t be able to throw her a quinceañera. “We will be together as a family,” her mother, Itzel Palma, told her. “That will be my gift to you.”

Luckily, the Palma family had a group of guardian angels watching out for them. Being homeless wouldn’t prevent Adriana from having a quinceañera.

A charity called Miami Rescue Mission had already hooked up the Palmas with a small apartment for the family to get back on their feet. “Cover Girls”, a subgroup of the Miami Rescue Mission, dedicate their time to help women and children who are in tough circumstances.

When Lian Navarro, leader of the Cover Girls, found out about Adriana’s situation, she knew she had to help. Cuban-Amercian herself, Navarro knew how important quinceañeras are to young Latinas. She called up her group of volunteers and they got to work making Adriana’s dream come true.

The 60 “fairy godmothers” decided to throw Adriana the quinceañera of her dreams in a local Miami church. They settled on a theme: Paris.

The volunteers decorated the bare church in gold Eiffel towers, supplied pink macarons and French pastries, they topped off each table with a floral centerpiece. They gifted Adriana with every item on her wish list. Not to mention, Adriana was able to be dressed up in a frilly pink quinceañera dress. Her hair and makeup were professionally done. A professional photographer captured her special day.

“We want them to have these memories,” said Cover Girl volunteer, Tadia Silva, about children and teens who grow up homeless. “They have to believe they are worth all that because they are.”

After her beautiful quinceañera, Adriana appeared to know her true worth. At the end of the party, she gave her “fairy godmothers” personalized notes of thanks. “I felt like a princess,” she said.

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