This little Mexican genius just adorably destroyed the anti-vaxxer argument.
Marco Arturo has set the Internet on FIRE. This 12-year-old Mexican genius went full savage on people who legit think that vaccines lead to autism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already stressed that vaccines don’t cause autism, but that’s not enough for the anti-vaccine truthers. So young Marco stepped in to further drive this point home.
You might say, “But it’s my child so I should have the right to choose what happens to my child.” Marco agrees with you on that 100 percent.
“OK. I agree,” he says. “It’s your choice if you are going to expose your child to deadly diseases, but, you know, it’s not just your child. It’s basically everyone else’s child. It’s also everyone else’s child you are putting in danger because you read some forwarded email.” [insert dripping sarcasm]
While the international news about Venezuela may have subsided just a tiny bit, make no mistake that the crisis is still very alive. The difference now is that Venezuelans are not only protesting President Nicolás Maduro, but also President Donald Trump. For years, Venezuelans have pleaded that they’re in dire need of food and other essentials, but it’s as if no one seems to care. Trump has now imposed more economic sanctions on Venezuela, though it may be all smoke and mirrors. The reality is people want Maduro out, and they want to be able to survive there too. Most low-income people have to travel to Colombia in order to get essentials that they cannot get back home. But now the most vulnerable are paying the price.
The health care system of Venezuela has stopped purchasing HIV and AIDS medication, which means an estimated 7,700 Venezuelans that are living with the disease are facing a significant emergency.
A new report in Foreign Policy informs that due to the dire situation in Venezuela, their healthcare system has been unable to purchase HIV/AIDS medication. This is putting thousands of people infected at risk. The turmoil of the country’s healthcare is the result of the corruption that has plagued Venezuela since former President Hugo Chávez was in charge. It’s even worse now under Maduro.
“As a result, the country’s medical system is severely under-resourced, FP reports. “Government funding for medical care has been slashed, more than half the country’s doctors have fled Venezuela, and drastic shortages in medical equipment have hampered the ability of hospitals to provide even basic treatment for their patients.”
People with HIV or AIDS are not the only ones suffering from this downturn in medical supplies; others, including children, need basic vaccines as well.
Marisol Ramírez is a 56-year-old Venezuelan who travels to Colombia not just for medication but also for food. She said she sometimes has to decide between food or medicine because it is too expensive to get both. Many others are in the same position.
“Just last month, they gave me enough [antiretroviral drugs] for three months, because due to the situation in the country, we can’t be going up and down to get here. The price of [bus] tickets are incredibly high, and we can’t be coming down here every month,” Marisol Ramírez told Foreign Policy.
There is some hope. The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) are reportedly going to send 12,000 doses of HIV/AIDS medication, but there are still several issues.
“When I was there I actually signed a letter of intent with the minister of health Juan Pablo Uribe for the United States to be providing HIV antiretrovirals to Colombia for the use with Venezuelan refugees,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar told Reuters. Azar also said there’s a plan in place to rebuild the healthcare system once Maduro is out, but who knows when that will be.
“If you don’t have any money … or you don’t support the current government you don’t have anything,” a Venezuelan man told the Washington Blade. “It is, unfortunately, very sad.”
Some may assume that because HIV and AIDS are treatable that it’s not a problem like it was in previous years. However, people are only surviving this terrible illness because of medication, so, without it, people are likely to die.
Jesus Aguais, founder of Aid for AIDS, an international organization, said that 80 percent of Venezuelans “with HIV who should be on treatment are not,” and added, “That’s terrible from a public health perspective. Not only are people going to get sicker, but HIV is going to spread faster.”
He also said another vulnerable group that is suffering from this disease that is not getting the help they deserve is the indigenous Warao community. He noted that HIV and AIDS are affecting them, and if they don’t get the proper medication, the community as a whole may be completely wiped out.
Last year, the Trump administration stunned the world by announcing an unprecedented “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Prior to this, families entering the United States without documentation were held together while awaiting their hearing. The new and inhumane policy forcefully separated children from their parents with no exception and led to overcrowding at detention centers.
The Trump administration has a documented record of not caring for migrants’ health and wellbeing.
Slowly and surely, the Trump administration is finding ways to dismantle and remove protections for the undocumented community. This week, another unprecedented and inhumane restriction was announced. The federal government is now ending the “medical deferred action” policy, which allowed immigrants – who have a serious medical condition, such as cancer – to remain protected in the United States without risk of deportation.
Under the policy, the patient and immediate caregiver/parent were able to apply for medical stay with proof that treatment was unavailable in the country of origin. Stay was then granted for two-years at a time, which included a work permit for the family member that accompanied the patient.
Now, the Trump administration is reversing a policy that offered migrants a stay from deportation for medical issues.
Earlier this month, without warning, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office (a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security) began sending out rejection letters to families protected under this program who had sent in their renewal applications, notifying them they have 33 days to leave the country or face deportation. In addition, the USCIS claims they will no longer be accepting new applications either.
The only exceptions to the new policy change are for those in the military and those protected under DACA.
This could be the difference between life and death for many. Like the case of 16-year Jonathan Sanchez, who is receiving treatment for cystic fibrosis. He and his family are from Honduras, where his parents lost a daughter to the same illness. When Jonathan was a baby, his parents sent in blood samples to the United States in hopes of receiving medical treatment and saving his life. In 2016 they were able to apply and were granted permission to enter the United States under the medical deferral program. Jonathan has now been receiving treatment over the last three years. He is waiting to hear news of his renewal.
WBUR-FM, Boston’s NPR affiliate was the first to break the story a few days ago when the Irish International Immigrant Center began receiving the rejection letters.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the USCIS department has announced that all applications will now be rerouted and processed through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) whose mission is to deport immigrants.
Now attorneys are unsure of which way to advise clients because an attempt to fight this change in order to save the life of your child, will now put you and your child in direct risk of possible deportation.
The current acting director of USCIS is Ken Cuccinelli, who was quoted as wanting to alter the words on the Statue of Liberty to instead read “Give me your tired and your poor… who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” Cuccinelli is dedicated to “keeping Trump’s promises” and is currently hard at work finding ways to make life more difficult by denying green cards and visas to immigrants that, currently have or will need, public assistance including food stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid. Which implies that only wealthy immigrants would be “welcome.”
Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS, is standing by Trump’s policies.
“If they don’t have future prospects of being legal permanent residents without welfare, that will be counted against them,” Cuccinelli has stated.
So I guess he’s just going to ignore that whole “give me your tired, you POOR…” part of the Statue of Liberty and American history.
But applications are now being routed to ICE and the man behind that department is, Matthew Albence, the newly appointed Acting Director.
Albence has made controversial statements, like doubling down on his comments during his testimony in 2018, where he stated that the experience in the detention centers – that children are being held in – was comparable to summer camp.
One year later, we now know the truth of the horrific and inhumane conditions the camps are actually in.
But what is most concerning about the man behind ICE, is that in 2017, when he was part of Homeland Security and reported to Secretary John Kelly, Albence actually went a step further than the new Trump administration had instructed. At the time, the directive was to pretty much the same as the original purpose of the organization to “focus on apprehending illegal immigrants that had committed crimes or posed a security risk.”
Except Albenece decided to send out his own memo to agents: “Effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties.” This gave the green light for agents to hunt down anyone they “think” is undocumented, regardless of having committed a crime or not.
The head of ACLU Massachusetts has already vowed to that they will fight the medical deferred policy change in court.
What is hopeful is that we are not in this fight alone. The ACLU and MALDEF (and many other organizations) are leading the fight against this administration. What we can do, for those of us that can, is to go out there and vote, stay engaged and follow local and state elections as well. Those that we elect on the local and state level are the people that will ultimately fight or support the current laws and restrictions sent down from the federal government, so choose wisely.