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A New Documentary Tells the Story of Latinas Who Were Sterilized Without Knowing It

No Más Bebés is a documentary that is finally shedding light on one of California’s most troubling secrets… forced sterilization.

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Credit: @TheStreetCircus / Twitter

For decades, California was one of several states that performed forced sterilization. For women, it meant having one’s “tubes tied” after giving birth – usually without their consent. It wasn’t just women, though. Men were also given vasectomies without their knowledge. Hardest hit: Spanish-speaking immigrants.

From 1909 to 1963, 20,000 Californians were subject to forced sterilization. In the ’70s, it continued on a smaller scale.

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Credit: Film Independent / YouTube

READ: A New Documentary Shows How an Undocumented Immigrant from Colombia Found Her Voice

By the late ’60s, women, particularly immigrant women, were going to the Los Angeles County Hospital to give birth. They were leaving sterilized without their consent.

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Many of the women had no idea they were being sterilized until the doctor informed them – AFTER the procedure was done.

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Credit: Film Independent / YouTube

Soon, the word got out that California was sterilizing people against their will. The Latino community rallied against the practice and exposed what was seen as legitimate population control. California’s government argued that forced sterilization, sometimes agreed to during labor, was necessary to keep welfare from being exploited and overwhelmed.

The forced sterilizations were exposed in the mid-70s during the height of the Latino civil rights movement.

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Credit: Film Independent / YouTube

Some argue that the sterilizations were being used to curb the Mexican American population from growing. California government officials were adamant that the accusations were false. However, some investigations have found that some of the sterilizations were done to rid society of “undesirables.”

The revelation of the forced sterilization prompted a class-action lawsuit (Madrigal v. Quilligan) against L.A. county doctors as well as the state and federal governments.

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Credit: Film Independent / YouTube

They lost the lawsuit when it was brought to court, but the result was better informed consent for patients, especially for non-English speakers.

READ: Get a Box of Tissues Before You Read This Woman’s Brave Fight Against Bullying

No Más Bebés explores the lives of those affected by the practice and revisits the lawsuit that was a direct result of the forced sterilizations. Watch the full trailer below:

Credit: Film Independent / YouTube

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This Video Of Children Reading The Testimonies Of Migrant Children Detained By The U.S. Government Will Break Your Heart

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This Video Of Children Reading The Testimonies Of Migrant Children Detained By The U.S. Government Will Break Your Heart

It’s been a little over a year since news broke of the Trump administration ordering prosecutors along the border to immediately adopt a “zero-tolerance policy” for crossings across the U.S.-Mexico border. Under this policy, families were separated along the border, leaving migrant children alone in other Customers and Border Protection facilities. And leaving them alone with inhumane border patrol agents who have mistreated and had no empathy for these children. Since then, we’ve also witnessed just how little the Trump administration cares to reunite these children with their families after ripping them away. 

The New York Times published a video Op-Ed featuring children reading testimonies given by young migrants detained in detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border – and it’s harrowing. 

Although the video reveals what we already know and what we’ve already seen day after day on the news, it’s still painful to watch other young children – who could easily be in a similar situation – read the details of children living in cages and going hungry. 

“Border Patrol has been detaining thousands of children, sometimes for weeks, in conditions no child anywhere should suffer. At a June hearing before a federal appeals court, judges were stunned by the administration’s arguments that these children were kept in ‘safe and sanitary’ facilities, as required by the Flores Settlement,” reads the New York Times Op-Ed

“My skin is itchy and red and my nose is stuffed up,” one child reads. “It’s so ugly to be locked up all the time.”

According to reports released in April, it could take up to two years to identify thousands of separated immigrant families. Many immigration rights organizations and advocates have taken to social media and to the streets to fight for the reunification of migrant children with their families and there’s no sign of stopping. Especially after the continuous reports of migrant children dying at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents. 

The New York Times’ latest video also isn’t the first time we hear firsthand accounts from migrant children detained in these inhumane facilities and cages. 

In a report released by BuzzFeed News in late June, more kids described in their own words the atrocious conditions inside a border detention center. “We are in a metal cage with 20 other teenagers with babies and young children. We have one mat we need to share with each other. It is very cold. We each got a mylar blanket, but it is not enough to warm up,” one 16-year-old said. 

You can watch the full video here: 

Here are more quotes of migrant children detained by the U.S. government:

“There isn’t water or soap to wash our hands after we use the bathroom. We have to ask for toilet paper if we want any. My sister and I hold a blanket up so no one can see us when we go to the bathroom.”

“I’m hungry here all the time. I’m so hungry I wake up in the middle of the night with hunger. I’m too scared to ask the officials for any more food.”

“We spend all day every day inside of that room. There are no activities. Only crying. During the two weeks we have been here they have let us outside 5 times. For twenty minutes. I would like to get some fresh air.”

The New York Times video quickly went viral on social media and many celebrities, public figures, and immigration rights organizations spoke up about the video.      

Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes tweeted, “Keep families together… Please support organizations like @supportKIND, that are working to #protectfamilies imprisoned at the border.” 

The largest immigration legal services non-profit in Texas, RAICES, also tweeted, “We demand #JusticeForOurChildren.”

RAICES works with under-served immigrant children, families, and refugees.   

The Children’s Defense Fund urged its followers to “listen to heartbreaking testimonies from children detained at the border.”  

They went on to describe the inhumane living conditions of these migrant children –– “living in cages, going hungry and tending to infants without their parents. #CloseTheCamps #KeepFamiliesTogether”       

National Board Member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Tea Leoni tweeted that this video isn’t just a response to a #BorderCrisis – this is a humanitarian crisis.       

Leoni goes on to thank the New York Times for “shining a light on the horrible conditions that children are facing at the border.” 

If you want to help migrant children at the border imprisoned in detention centers, you can buy your #CloseTheCamps tee from Mitú here.  

Mitú is partnering with immigration rights organization RAICES and donating 100% of the proceeds to help the nonprofit continue their fight to free these children from detention centers. 

Aside from supporting and donating to your local or national advocacy organizations, you can also contact your elected officials, educate yourself with accurate information and share that information with family, friends, and followers. Remember, you can make a small impact by simply educating yourself and others. 

No one belongs in a cage. 

Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

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Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

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As our country protests what is happening on the southern border–children in cages without enough food, water or even a bed to sleep on, separated from their family–fear of ICE reaches nationwide. In a Vermont town, undocumented immigrants and allies rallied outside Burlington Church on July 2nd, demanding an end to those very child internment camps. While showing solidarity for migrants at the border, they took the opportunity to speak up for the undocumented members of their community recently arrested while shopping at Walmart.

Three Vermont dairy workers were arrested within a single month. All arrests were made while grocery shopping at Walmart.

Undocumented organizer, Zully Palacios carried a sign with all three of their faces.

Credit: @farmworkerjustice / Twitter

Palacios herself is risking her status by speaking out, and still, she is a spokesperson for Migrant Justice. She told Vermont’s Seven Days, “As we read about what’s happening on the southern border, we must not forget what’s happening here, on the northern border.”

Federal data proves that ICE arrests have escalated under Trump’s administration.

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“These three members of our community were going about their lives, fulfilling their daily needs, shopping for food, sending money to their families in Mexico,” she told the outlet. “For that, they were detained and now find themselves behind bars.”

Ismael Mendez-Lopez, Mario Diaz-Aguilar, and Ubertoni Aguilar-Montero were stopped in the parking lot.

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The three went to Walmart both to buy groceries and to wire money to their families back in Mexico. Before they did that, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in an unmarked car stopped them in the parking lot. They spoke briefly and went on their way. The agent followed them. After they finished shopping at Walmart, they were arrested for not having paperwork on them. 

They’re currently being held in a New Hampshire county jail pending ICE deportation proceedings.

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A spokesperson for Border Patrol confirmed that they were arrested “based on the information from a concerned citizen.” This was the same reason for seven undocumented farmworker arrests outside that same Walmart Supercenter since February 2018. Matt Cameron, an immigration attorney, believes that these “concerned citizens” are actually informants.

Migrant workers in Vermont are struggling to feed themselves for fear of arrest.

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A newly published research study shows that each ICE raid or arrest creates an environment of fear that tangibly affects the rest of the roughly 1,500 migrant farmworkers in Vermont. They’re afraid that every trip to go get groceries might be one they never come home from.

All it takes is one racist shopper calling ICE because they saw a brown person.

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Just like how all it took was one customer complaint to report to Dunkin’ Donuts that they suspect undocumented workers. Now, Dunkin’ is suing its own franchise owners in a massive company crackdown on hiring undocumented workers.

Trump has confirmed that ICE raids will result in thousands of arrests Sunday.

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Roberto Suro, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California suspects that, while Sunday will deport .2 percent of those with deportation orders, the true attack is “purely psychological.” He told the Los Angeles Times, “This is yet one more example of how the Trump administration is trying to use fear as an instrument of immigration control. It generates a lot of fear and anxiety but not a lot of control. This has nothing to do with actual enforcement.”

The ICE raids are designed to cause fear for immigrants and to appease Trump’s right-wing base.

Credit: realdonaldtrump / Instagram

After news surfaced that a raid was on its way, Trump revealed to reporters on Friday that it would be a “major operation.” “One audience is supposed to feel like something is happening,” Suro said, “and the other is supposed to be scared to death.”

Since then, immigrants across the country have called out of work, further destabilizing the community.

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Activist tip hotlines have received an influx of calls, and an advocacy group in New York has already submitted a preemptive lawsuit. The more fear he creates, the more satisfied his base will be after his failure to deliver “The Wall.”

READ: If ICE Raids Dairy Farms, It Could Make Your Gallon Of Milk $8

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