Things That Matter

101-Year-Old Mexican Abuelito Got His U.S. Citizenship To Vote Against Donald Trump

Credit: Agencia Efe / YouTube

They became citizens so they could help other immigrants.

Ignacio Villegas Arellano and his wife, Maria Guadalupe Correa de Villegas, have been legal permanent residents of the United states since 1968. But then the rise of Donald Trump happened, prompting the 101-year-old Villegas Arellano to become a full-fledged citizen . His 94-year-old wife followed his lead just one week after his April 19 naturalization. Though they were in the country legally, the couple says that Trump’s insistence on deporting undocumented Mexican immigrants left them scared they would be rounded up, as well. Ignacio was a farmworker, traveling between the U.S. and Mexico for years before settling in California, thanks in large part to his children.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla was at the naturalization in Fresno and praised the couple on their accomplishment.

Credit: @AlexPadilla4CA / Twitter

“For many, applying to become a citizen can be frightening and the process can be intimidating,” Secretary Padilla told mitú in an emailed statement. “I know this on a personal level. My mother and father became citizens almost twenty years ago. I remember my parents worry as they studied for the citizenship test. Like Mr. Villegas, they were successful. Mr. Villegas can now be a louder voice for his community and help shape the direction of our state and our nation.”

¡Orale!

giphy
Credit: Giphy / Giphy

READ: Latinos Are Becoming U.S. Citizens To Vote Against Trump

Register to vote today by downloading the Latinos Vote app for iOS and Android. Our voice matters. #WeAreAmerica

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

With Immigration Fees Set To Increase, Advocacy Groups Are Hosting “Citizenship Weeks” To Help People Get Their Documents In On Time

Things That Matter

With Immigration Fees Set To Increase, Advocacy Groups Are Hosting “Citizenship Weeks” To Help People Get Their Documents In On Time

Damen Wood / Getty Images

Becoming a U.S. resident or citizen has never been an easy process. The country’s immigration system is a convoluted mess that sharply leans in favor of high-wealth individuals and under the Trump administration that is becoming more apparent than ever.

But 2020 has been an especially challenging year for immigrants seeking to complete their citizenship process.

Although it’s common for interest in naturalization to spike in the months leading up to presidential elections, the Coronavirus pandemic forced the citizenship process to a grinding halt in March. The outbreak shut offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) all across the country. And although many of these offices reopened in July, there is a widening backlog of applications.

Meanwhile, on October 2, looming fee increases could leave applications and citizenship out of reach for tens of thousands of immigrants, as the process becomes significantly more costly.

Many migrant advocacy groups are hosting events meant to help immigrants complete their applications before prices are set to rise.

In South Florida, the Office of New Americans (ONA) — a public-private partnership between Miami-Dade County and non-profit legal service providers — launched its second Miami Citizenship Week on Sept. 11. This 10-day event is designed to help immigrants with free legal support so participants can beat the October 2 deadline.

In addition, the event will host a mix of celebrations meant to highlight the social and economic contributions of South Florida’s large immigrant communities.

“I think in Miami we talk about how we are diverse and how we are adjacent to Latin America, but we never take a moment to celebrate immigrants and the amazing work that they do whether it’s the nurses in our hospitals, the drivers that drive our buses, small business owners,” said Krystina François, ONA’s executive director. “We need to reclaim the narrative around immigrants and around our communities because it’s what makes us great.”

However, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions, the events will all be hosted online.

Much like any other event, Covid-19 has greatly impacted this year’s “Citizenship Week.” Therefore, the event will be hosted virtually. That includes the Mega Citizenship Clinic, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16-20. At the event, pro-bono lawyers from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Americans for Immigrant Justice and other groups will connect with attendees one-on-one on Zoom and walk them through the process of filling out the 20-page citizenship application form. 

The clinic is open to immigrants eligible to become naturalized citizens, meaning permanent residents who have had a green card for at least five years.

Cities like Dallas are also getting in on similar events, meant to welcome new residents and citizens into the city.

Dallas’ Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs is hosting a series of virtual events from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20 in honor of Welcoming Week. The virtual events aim to promote Dallas’ diverse communities and to unite all residents, including immigrants and refugees.

According to the City of Dallas, this year’s theme is Creating Home Together, and it emphasizes the importance of coming together as a community to build a more inclusive city for everyone.

Participants will be able to learn about the voting process and what will be on the next ballot during the “Vontando Por Mi Familia: Enterate para que vas a votar” event. The event, hosted in partnership with Mi Familia, will be presented in Spanish.

A Council Member, Jaime Resendez, will host a virtual program on Tuesday at 11 a.m. that celebrates Latinx art and culture. The event will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Mayor Eric Johnson will read the Welcoming Week Proclamation, and the event will feature art exhibitions and performances showcasing the talents of performers and artists across Dallas.

Attendees will also have a chance to learn more about the availability of DACA and a citizenship workshop will take place where articipants will learn how to complete their N-400 application for citizenship. Volunteer immigration attorneys and accredited representatives from the Department of Justice will be there for assistance.

The events come as fees for several immigration proceedings are set to rise by dramatic amounts come October 1.

Starting on October 2, the financial barrier will grow even taller for many immigrants as fees are set to increase. The fee to apply for U.S. citizenship will increase from $640 to $1,160 if filed online, or $ 1,170 in paper filing, a more than 80% increase in cost. 

“In the middle of an economic downturn, an increase of $520 is a really big amount,” François told the Miami-Herald.

Aside from the fee increase, many non-citizen immigrants never truly felt the need to become citizens. That was until the Coronavirus pandemic hit and had many questioning their status in the country.

“There are people who up until this COVID crisis, their status as a permanent resident didn’t impact their day-to-day life … but then the pandemic has given them another reason of why it’s important to take that extra step and become a citizen, because of the additional rights and protections that are afforded to you, but also to just have a sense of security and stability in a crisis.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

As Kanye West Drops Out Of The Race, Here’s A Look Back At His 11-Day Campaign For President

Things That Matter

As Kanye West Drops Out Of The Race, Here’s A Look Back At His 11-Day Campaign For President

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Update July 15, 2020: According to a senior member of Kanye’s campaign, the rapper has officially suspended his campaign for president as it became increasingly obvious he’d face difficulties getting the several state’s ballots.

It’s official: Kanye West suspends his campaign for President of the United States.

After 11-days of intrigue and anxiety, Americans finally know that there will not be a Kanye West presidency – at least not for the foreseeable future. The Grammy-award winning rapper has suspended his 2020 campaign for president, according to a senior campaign member.

On July 14, a member of West’s campaign team confirmed that, even after amassing a 180-person campaign team in Florida, West would no longer be running. “He’s out. All our stuff is canceled,” Steve Kramer, a member of West’s campaign team told New York Magazine’s Intelligencer. “I have nothing good or bad to say about Kanye…Any candidate running for president for the first time goes through these hiccups.”

It’s no secret that West faced an uphill battle in his quest for the Oval Office. He entered the race extremely late as a member of his own independent party he called the “Birthday Party.” And even as he announced his candidacy, he had already missed the deadline to register for the ballot in six states: North Carolina, Texas, New York, Maine, New Mexico, and Indiana.

However, Kanye West’s 2020 run for president was apparently more legit than many expected.

Many threw doubt on Kanye’s campaign from the very beginning – he had long expressed interest in running for the presidency but never followed through. But this time seemed different since he was intending to run this year. And now the extent of his seriousness is clearer than ever.

West had amassed a 180-strong campaign team and his team had been spending a lot of time trying to get on the Florida and South Carolina ballots specifically. However, to appear on Florida’s ballot, the campaign has until July 15 to collect 132,781 required signatures.

Even though West never had a real chance at winning the presidency, he did have a chance to greatly influence the outcome of the 2020 election. Just this week, a poll revealed that West had the support of about two percent of voters overall if he were to run against Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Although this was a small margin, if that percentage came out of either candidate’s pool of voters, it could have created enough of a divide.

News of West’s campaign came as family members expressed concern about his mental health.

According to TMZ, West is not currently on his medications and has a major bipolar episode about once a year. The family is contributing West’s Forbes interview, where he said Planned Parenthood was doing the Devil’s work and admitted to his support of President Trump. The family, however, expect West to calm down soon and return to his normal.

Original: When will 2020 finally come to an end along with all of its shenanigans? That is the question so many are wondering after yet another not so surprising bombshell of an announcement from Kanye West – who in a tweet this weekend announced his candidacy for President of the United States.

Sure, Yeezy has often times claimed to be planning a run for president. He’s said it in 2014, 2015, and 2019. What makes this time different? He says he’s running for this year – 2020 – with the election just months away.

Many are rightfully skeptical of West’s announcement but even if the rapper isn’t totally serious, his simple announcement could have serious consequences on the actual election.

Kanye West celebrated the 4th of July by announcing his intention to run for President of the United States.

It’s official, Kanye West is running for President. Allegedly. His announcement came in the form of an out-of-the-blue tweet amid the 43-year-old’s promotion for his new single, pictures of him with Elon Musk (who has voiced his support for a West presidency, FYI) and promotion of the Gap X Yeezy collaboration.

He tweeted: “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” followed by the hashtag #2020vision.

Now, this is far from the first time that Yeezy has revealed his intentions to join the presidential election at some point in the future.In fact, just last year the rapper said he planned to run for the presidency in 2024: “When I run for president in 2024, we would’ve created so many jobs that I’m not going to run, I’m going to walk.”

So no one should be surprised that West has once again announced a potential run. But we are. And it’s largely because he says he’s planning a run for this year – 2020 – with the election just months away.

However, West hasn’t yet fulfilled any of the legal requirements to launch an actual candidacy.

Credit: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Despite his hastily announced ‘candidacy,’ West has yet to fulfill a single requirement to actually run for president. So his tweet was rightfully met with scepticism, given that we are only four months away from when Americans are supposedly heading to the polls.

If West was serious about running, he’ll have to do so as an Independent – which is still technically possible. But deadlines for those intending to run in several states have already passed. However, there is still time to register in some states, but for Texas, New Mexico, Indiana, Maine and North Carolina the deadline has passed. For the majority of other states, the deadline is August.

According to the BBC, West does not appear to have registered his name with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for November’s election. The closest name the FEC database shows is a candidate called “Kanye Deez Nutz West”, who filed their papers with the Green Party in 2015 under the address “1977 Golddigger Avenue, Suite Yeezus” and appears to have raised no money.

Even though he hasn’t legally started his campaign, even a potential candidacy could have a major impact on the 2020 race.

Credit: Dimitrious Kambouris / Getty Images

Over the years, Kanye has appeared to show support for both democrats and republicans since his rise to fame. He once denounced Republican president George W. Bush, famously accusing him of not ‘caring about Black people’ during the tragic Hurricane Katrina. However, in recent years, he has declared his support for Trump, both verbally and symbolically, by wearing a Make America Great Again red cap and holding meetings with Trump.

So as far as what a Kanye West presidency would like like…is anyone’s guess.

However, an even bigger concern is the rapper’s planned candidacy and how it could potentially help Trump’s bid for reelection. Anyone who may have voted for Trump in the past but is now on the fence, could see in Kanye a middle ground between Trump and Biden, Many fear a repeat of Jill Stein’s candidacy in 2016 that many say helped push the election in Trump’s favor.

Some fear that some torn between voting between Trump and Biden would instead make a protest vote for West – which could again throw the 2020 election to Trump. Even if West isn’t an official candidate on the 2020 ballot, many fear that people could write in his name.

Even though many expect his candidacy to be a publicity stunt, the Internet exploded with amazing memes.

Social media users have reacted both with shocking and hilarious tweets following the rapper’s tweet.

Many viewed West’s announcement as a publicity stunt just meant to add fuel to the dumpster fire that is 2020.

The year started off with record-setting Australian brush fires, an Amazon jungle burning to the ground, then came Coronavirus and a global pandemic and the continued murder of unarmed Black men by U.S. police forces followed by a massive movement for racial equality – 2020 has been one hell of a ride. And many think Kanye may simply be trying to get his name in the calendar of events.

Could the White House be a set for the Kardashian’s hit reality show?

Even though Donald Trump has basically already turned the White House into a reality TV set, the Kardashian’s could make it a real deal. They’re hit TV show is now in its 18th and allegedly finally season, but a chance to film in the White House could definitely help reignite the franchise.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com