#mitúWORLD

This Immigration Rights Group Gave 6 Families The Chance To Cross The Border For A 3-Minute Visit

Tears, hugs and so much loved spilled across the U.S.-Mexico border last weekend as families were reunited in Friendship Park in San Diego. For the third time, Border Angels teamed up with the U.S. Border Patrol for an “Opening the Door of Hope” event. For three minutes, family members got the chance to hold, touch and see each other for the first time in years. Emotions ran thick.


San Diego’s Friendship Park was the scene of love, family reunions and hope this past weekend.

13072870_10153974499936886_773384289001241594_o
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

“Friendship Park is the heart and soul of this immigration issue,” Border Angels founder Enrique Morones told CNN. “We have the universal human right to be with our families. You don’t practice human rights by putting up a wall.”


Border Angels, a nonprofit organization trying to improve the conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border, teamed up with Border Patrol to organize the event for Mexico’s Children’s Day.

13151964_10153975350856886_3952716808988967486_n
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

Six families were screened and approved to cross the border in order to spend just a few brief moments soaking up all the love they could muster, according to Border Angels.


The six pre-approved families got the chance to cross the border to Mexico for 3-minute visits.

13096095_10153975352496886_2583379663646907424_n
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

“It was amazing to feel my mom and touch her again, smell her, everything,” Jannet Castanon told Times of San Diego after seeing her mother for the first time in nine years. “She’s still the same lady, strong.”


The emotions at the park were high for everyone, not just the families in attendance.

13072679_10153974482946886_3983990948835944976_o
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

The children were treated to a day of festivities on both sides of the border wall.

13087033_10153974499976886_7127928927337926385_o
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

There was face painting, treats and, after the family visits, the children were all given toys.


“The purpose is much more than letting a family reunite for three minutes,” U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas told the crowd, according to Times of San Diego.

13103402_10153974499546886_3174752553463815190_n
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

“The purpose is really to show that this is what we should be doing, bringing families together, not separating them,” Vargas continued.


Event officials hope that events like this can bring renewed interest in solving the contentious immigration debate.

13087174_10153974483516886_3782985701980487699_o
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

“When the wall was built, nobody expected all these deaths,” Morones told CNN Money about the wall, first constructed in 1994. “They thought that people would stop coming in 1994, but they didn’t. They started crossing in more dangerous areas. So instead of one to two people dying a month, it was one to two people dying per day.”


As the day came to a close, family members gave final hugs and so many tears were shed.

13087705_10153975351826886_694566053898993173_n
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

“I don’t know where people get the cold hearts to say it’s OK to break families apart,” Vargas told the press. “These families are trying to live the American Dream, coming, working hard, building a life, building a country.”


“I hope that one day there is no border, and we can all see our family members once again,” attendee Gabi Esparza told CNN Money, no doubt echoing the thoughts and hopes of other family members at the event.

13124676_10153975352651886_6819976712708880118_n
Credit: Border Angels / Facebook

Border Angels will be having another event at the border for families for Mother’s Day.


READ: The Next Time Someone Says We Need A Border Wall, Show Them This

Share this story with all your friends by tapping that share button below and spread the message of love and hope!

Mexican National Jumped To His Death Off A Bridge After He Was Denied Asylum

Things That Matter

Mexican National Jumped To His Death Off A Bridge After He Was Denied Asylum

El Mañana de Reynosa / Facebook

To understand why undocumented immigrants will do everything in their power to get to the United States is to fundamentally understand what is at the core of their fears. They are not all seeking the “American Dream” or to have a better life, many are seeking to have a life free of fear and violence. For many people seeking asylum, it’s a matter of life or death. Remaining in their home countries means death, and there’s no other way of saying it. People are dying at the hands of gangs and the cartels. So, when people risk their lives to enter the U.S. without documentation, it’s because they have nothing to lose. The worst part of all is being turned away by the U.S. because some of these have nothing else to live for. 

A Mexican national in his 30s or 40s cut his throat and jumped to his death off a bridge across the Rio Grande after he was denied by the U.S. border patrol.

Credit: @mlnangalama / Twitter

The man, who has yet to be identified, committed suicide on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and according to several news reports, was seeking asylum. Reports say that he jumped off the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, which is between the Mexican border city of Reynosa and Pharr, Texas. 

We attempted to reach information about his death via the U.S. border patrol. However, because the death occurred on Mexican soil, American officials do not have to comment about the death or include it in any of their reports. 

Mexican officials are investigating the death further.

Credit: El Mañana de Reynosa / Facebook

The prosecutor’s office for the Mexican state of Tamaulipas did release more information about the man saying, “He was attempting to cross to the U.S. side to request asylum. When he was denied entry, he walked several meters (yards) toward the Mexican side and cut himself with a knife.” The death occurred around 5 p.m. local time. 

It’s unclear why the man decided to take such extreme measures, but as we noted earlier, some of the undocumented people have said returning home is like facing death. 

According to footage made available to the Spanish-language publication, El Mañana de Reynosa, a video shows the man pacing back and forth on the bridge while officials attempt to calm him down.  The standoff lasted for about 15 minutes. Since the man was behaving dangerously, U.S. officials closed the gates to the border and stopped international entry. After the man jumped, the Red Cross arrived at the scene where he was pronounced dead. 

Undocumented people are facing even more hardships when getting denied asylum. Aside from “remaining in Mexico” until it’s time for their asylum hearing, some are now being transferred to Guatalama even if they’re Mexican.

Credit: El Mañana de Reynosa / Facebook

This week the Trump Administration announced that some Mexican nationals would be sent to Guatalama under near agreements between both country officials. 

“Certain Mexicans seeking humanitarian protection in the United States may now be eligible to be transferred to Guatemala and given the opportunity to seek protection there, under the terms of the Guatemala Asylum Cooperative Agreement,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement to NBC News.

To make matters worse, the outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said that agreement never became official. He said the U.S. would have to discuss the matter further with the new president. 

“It’s more than clear; in the agreement, it only lays out Salvadorans and Hondurans,” Morales said, according to Time magazine. “The United States has talked about the possibility of including Mexican nationals, but that they have to discuss it with the next government. In the last visit we made to the White House with President Trump we were clear saying that that negotiation had to be done with the new government.”

All of this disorganization by the part of the United States just complicates matters more for the vulnerable undocumented community. They seek to enter the United States, and getting turned away means more uncertainty than before. 

This is not the first time a person has committed suicide soon after being deported. 

Credit: @adv_project / Twitter

In 2017,  44-year-old Guadalupe Olivas Valencia also jumped to his death soon after he was deported to Mexico. He had been previously living in California, working as a gardener. 

READ: Trump Administration Plans To Send Some Mexican Asylum-Seekers To Guatemala And Mexico Is Fighting Back

Iranians Are Being Questioned And Detained By US Border Patrol In What Appears To Be Racial Profiling

Things That Matter

Iranians Are Being Questioned And Detained By US Border Patrol In What Appears To Be Racial Profiling

Pixabay

Iranian-Americans were held by U.S. immigration agents at the Canadian border over the weekend, following escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Traveling Iranian Americans now fear being racially profiled by Customs and Border Protection as they re-enter the county. 

CBP says they have enhanced security at ports of entry, according to NPR. Homeland Security is also on high alert as Iran’s leaders vowed they would retaliate for the U.S. airstrike that killed the military leader Qassem Soleimani. The country kept its promise yesterday when it fired over a dozen ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq. 

Today President Donald Trump announced an increase in sanctions on Iran, rather than using military force (right now), as a response. 

Iranian Americans pay the price for U.S. conflicts in the middle east.

Roughly 200 Iranian Americans were held for up to 12 hours at the Peace Arch Border Crossing last weekend. 

“I’ve heard from people who are saying they’re going to cancel their vacations,” said Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council in Washington, D.C., told NPR. “They had planned to travel abroad or, you know, leave the country for spring break. And people are already saying we’re going to cancel those trips because we don’t know what we’re supposed to do.”

Travelers were detained and questioned, while some were denied re-entry into the U.S. The New York Times reported that a detained Iranian family told Masih Fouladi, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), that an agent told them: “This is a bad time to be an Iranian.” 

“Those detained reported that their passports were confiscated and they were questioned about their political views and allegiances. CBP officials contacted at the Blaine Port of Entry provided no comment or reasons for the detentions,” Fouladi said in a statement. “We are working to verify reports of a broad nationwide directive to detain Iranian-Americans at ports of entry so that we can provide community members with accurate travel guidance.” 

CBP denies that Iranian Americans were held and questioned at all. 

“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false,” said Matt Leas, a spokesperson for CBP. 

CBP instead claims that security has increased at ports of entry overall and that processing times at some ports had increased due to the holiday seasons. According to the New York Times, border officers are not allowed to refer someone to a secondary screening based on their national origin alone, but it is one of many factors. In fact, agents may place extra emphasis on the country of origin if it is one that can pose an alleged national security threat. 

“If you were an Iranian citizen returning from the British Columbia, you would be sent to secondary as a result of the increased tension with that country,” Girl Kerlikowske, former commissioner of CBP, told the paper. “It wouldn’t be the main factor in many cases, but certainly in this particular instance the country of origin would be the determining factor.”

While CBP denied any wrongdoing, immigrants’ rights advocates and attorneys begged to differ. Representative Pramila Jayapal and Representative Adam Smith expressed their concerns about the matter. 

“Let me be clear: Instituting xenophobic, shameful and unconstitutional policies that discriminate against innocent people, trample over basic civil rights, and put fear in the hearts of millions do not make us safer,” Jayapal said in a statement.

Many feel the treatment of Iranians is mimicking the circumstances that eventually led to Japanese internment during World War II. 

The kind of racial targeting evokes the same sense of American racial paranoia that resulted in Japanese internment and rampant Islamophobia following the September 11, 2001 attack of the world trade center. 

“It doesn’t make any sense, because these are individuals who are U.S. citizens and don’t have any individualized suspicion associated with them, other than the fact that they’re Iranian or of Iranian heritage,” Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s Seattle office, told Politico. “What’s clear is that they are being targeted for the secondary inspection because of their Iranian background, and there must be some kind of directive” to CBP officers to pull them over, he added.

Attorneys say detained Iranians were questioned about where they traveled in recent years, their work and education history, and were asked if they had family in the Iranian military. Iranian American historian John Ghazvinian was one of the 200 who was taken in for secondary questioning when he landed in JFK. 

“Well, just landed at JFK and — no surprise — got taken to the special side room and got asked (among other things) how I feel about the situation with Iran,” Ghazvinian wrote in a tweet. “I wanted to be like: my book comes out in September, preorder now on amazon.”