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This Former Marine Had To Self-Deport To Mexico Before He Could Become A U.S. Citizen

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Meet Daniel Torres. The former U.S. Marine and Iraq War veteran finally became a U.S. citizen after self-deporting five years ago.

Credit: @DeportedVets / Twitter

Despite being unauthorized to live in the United States, Torres wanted to fight for this country, so he used a false birth certificate to enlist.

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Credit: Hector Bajaras / Facebook

“When I enlisted in the Marines, I knew the risks. It was something that could come up; it was something that could come back and hurt me,” Torres told the press outside of San Diego’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ office. “I was just hoping that I wasn’t going to pay for that mistake for the rest of my life. And now I’m able to finally go home and live the life I feel like I need to.”

Torres was forced to leave the country he loved and defended because of a lost wallet.

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Credit: Hector Bajaras / Facebook

The Iraq vet went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get his lost ID card replaced, but Torres’s story raised enough suspicion that the DMV notified his superiors. The U.S. Marines discovered his immigration status and gave him an honorable discharge.

Torres originally went to France to fight for the Foreign Legion, but he eventually relocated to Tijuana, Mexico.

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According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Torres lost part of his hearing while serving in Iraq, which barred him from serving in the Foreign Legion. As a result, he moved back to TJ, the border city where was born.

It was in Tijuana that Torres got the support from other military vets that were deported after serving.

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Credit: Deported Veterans Support House / Facebook

The Deported Veterans Support House, or “the Bunker,”  helps vets adjust to their new country. The organization also provides assistance with food, housing and clothing, while also advocating for legislation that would end the deportation of those who have served.

Living in Mexico didn’t stop Torres from seeking legal status in the country he grew up in. Thanks to a special provision in the 1964 Immigration and Nationality Act, Torres could apply for citizenship because he served during a “time of hostility.”

Credit: @TatianaYSanchez / Twitter

That’s right. Undocumented people who serve in the military during certain times CAN become U.S. citizens after serving, but they have to serve during a time of hostility. Torres’ case was made easier because he wasn’t deported.

Here are the “times of hostility” that would allow undocumented service men and women to become  U.S. citizens if they so choose.

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Credit: uscis.gov

“[D]efending US interest is the one thing I am the proudest of. I did not join the Corps because I wanted an alibi for citizenship, no,” Torres said in an open letter to some haters (seriously). “I will not use my military service as an excuse, I love being a Devildog and I will be one till the day I die. All people who survive know they do so at a risk, the same goes for me; it was a risk to join claiming I was a citizen when I wasn’t, but you know what? I would do it all over again…”

“I just am really, really happy, to be able to finally go home and be here where I feel I belong,” Torres told local media.

Credit: @SDACLU / Twitter

“I’ve missed birthdays, Thanksgivings, reunions, weddings, funerals,” Torres continued in his open letter. “I cannot be there now while my mother struggles with chemotherapy. I do not want your pity or to feel bad for me, but I do want you to know, that we are people, good people.”

Way to go, Daniel.

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Credit: The Voice / NBC / The Voice / Giphy

Let’s hope that this conversation will continue so we can help all of our veterans, documented or not.

READ: How these Latino Military Heroes Put Trump to Shame

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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

icegov / Instagram

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.

Credit: @TheBaxterBean / Twitter

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.

Credit: @CosechaMovement / Twitter

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

The Trump Administration Is Targeting Thousands Of People This Sunday In Immigration Raids

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The Trump Administration Is Targeting Thousands Of People This Sunday In Immigration Raids

icegov / Instagram

Since mid-June, President Donald Trump has threatened that mass raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be taking place nationwide. He said the raids would take place in 10 major cities, which included Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Chicago.  He delayed those raids for two weeks and said that if the Democrats couldn’t fix the asylum laws that he would go forward. After the initial threat, people on social media were on high alert using the hashtags #ProtectOurCommunities, #ProtectMyNeighbor, and #AbolishICE. It looks like people will have to rev up those hashtags again because Trump has issued a new threat against undocumented immigrants.

ICE raids against undocumented people are supposed to take place starting this Sunday.

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A New York Times report states that “two current and one former homeland security officials” said raids would be happening on Sunday and that the immigration officials already had the deportation orders for 2,000 immigrants. It’s unclear what cities ICE would target, but the article stated that ten significant cities would be on their list, which indicates that aside from Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, other cities including Houston, San Francisco, and New York could also be included. Most of those cities are Sanctuary Cities, which intends to protect undocumented people.

Furthermore, undocumented immigrants that are “on the scene” while others are being detained will also get detained even if there isn’t an order for their deportation.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

The article goes on to say that ICE will go to great length to arrest as many people as they can by detaining others who happened to be around while people are being detained, that includes children. They also report that when families get arrested as a unit, they may get taken to a hotel because of crowding issues at detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. They will be held in a hotel room until their travel arrangements are made to either go a detention center or possibly be deported to their native country.

While the report does not include confirmation from ICE officials, CNN reports that acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli said the raids are indeed happening.

“They’re absolutely going to happen,” he said during a press conference. There are approximately a million people in this country with removal orders. And of course that isn’t what ICE will go after in this, but that’s the pool of people who have been all the way through the due process chain.”

There’s one city that won’t be a target, and that’s New Orleans because the state is under a state of emergency due to tropical storm Barry.

“The City of NOLA has confirmed with ICE in NOLA that immigration enforcement will be temporarily suspended through the weekend in the Barry impacted areas of Louisiana & Mississippi,” the city tweeted. “Make all storm preparations to stay safe regardless of your immigration status.”

People on social media, including several politicians, are once again campaigning efforts to help undocumented immigrants stay safe during this terrifying time of uncertainty.

Credit: @UNITEDWEDREAM / Twitter

United We Dream ‏ tweeted, “Together, we can fight back against #ICEraids, white supremacy, and scare tactics from a monstrous government. We have tools. We have power. We have community. Please share these resources widely.”

Local police in some of these cities also informed the public, via social media that they would not be assisting ICE in giving them any kind of information. The New York Police Department said that they don’t “ask about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or other people who ask for help.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also assured undocumented people that if ICE “comes knocking, you do NOT have to open your door unless there is a signed judicial warrant.”

Trump has not commented on the raids that are scheduled to begin Sunday.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has provided a handy sheet for undocumented immigrants in the case that ICE comes to their home.

Credit: @RyanValencia / Twitter
  • You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or other officials. Anything you tell an officer can later be used against you in immigration court.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you.
  • If an immigration agent asks if they can search you, you have the right to say no. Agents do not have the right to search you or your belongings without your consent or probable cause.
  • If you’re over 18, carry your papers with you at all times. If you don’t have them, tell the officer that you want to remain silent, or that you want to consult a lawyer before answering any questions.

For more information about your rights, click here.

READ: ICE Raids Ordered To Begin On Sunday In Major Cities

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