politics

Trump Is Eager To Deport Millions Of Undocumented Immigrants, But New York Is Like ‘Not So Quick’

Starting in January, undocumented immigrants who apply for the municipal ID program in New York City (IDNYC) will not have to worry about any of their personal information being used against them and leading to deportation during the Trump administration. How’s that? Well, come January the city will no longer be keeping applicants’ personal information on file.

On Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that the city is “transitioning to a policy that does not involve the retention of cardholders’ personal background documents.” IDNYC applicants will still have to supply proof of identity documents, but the city will not keep a record of that info.

The IDNYC was in part designed to help undocumented immigrants have access to ID cards, which they need in order to do everyday things like open bank accounts, rent apartments, pick up prescription meds and access certain city services.

When the program started in January of 2015, no one predicted that there would be a Trump administration, but here we are and Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United Sates on January 20.

Let’s not forget that the President-elect has promised to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, which is why civil liberties activists have been legitimately concerned that the IDNYC information could be used by the new administration to track down undocumented immigrants.

What does this all mean for people who have already applied for Municipal IDs whose info is on file? Well, when the program was instituted a provision was added that allows the city to destroy the records up until December 31 of this year. If the city chooses to do so, there will be many sighs of relief.

On the flip side, Republican politicians are suing in an effort to maintain the information that is already on file. On Wednesday, a Brooklyn judge issued a temporary restraining order pending a hearing on December 21.

Regardless, a rep for De Blasio seems to be “confident” that all records will remain private. ?


Learn more about what NYC plans on doing to protect undocumented immigrants here.

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The Smithsonian’s Interest in Detained Children’s Drawings Draws Criticism

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The Smithsonian’s Interest in Detained Children’s Drawings Draws Criticism

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History is considering adding pictures drawn by immigrant children in detention centers. The images drawn by detained eight and nine-year-olds were taken and released to the public last week by members of the American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) who visited migrant children at Catholic respite center in McAllen Texas. The children who had been recently released from Texas detention centers, made drawings done in black and dark green on what appears to be white canvas. Each drawing depicts bars. In one drawing people are depicted sleeping on the floor covered in blankets (most likely rendering of the ‘solar blankets’ issued in the detention centers). In this drawing, a person with a hat, standing at a desk, is depicted in the background.

Another drawing depicts an elaborate rendering of the metal pen used to house migrants, complete with toilets, wire walls, ceiling, and a closed door.

Laura Duff, a spokesperson for the Smithsonian confirmed the museum’s interest in the drawings to NPR stating that their goal for American History collections is to tell the story of American History as it unfolds in order to document the complexities. Brent Glass, director emeritus of the museum, doesn’t believe that exploring the possibility of acquiring detained migrant children’s drawings is a political decision. He said that the American History Museum’s goal is “to inspire people to know more about American history and to hopefully create a more humane society.”

Sara Goza, the incoming president of-of A.A.P., who was invited  by custom officials to tour detention centers in Texas, reported noticing terrible conditions as soon as officials opened the door, “When they opened the door for us to go into the facility, the first thing was the smell — a mixture between urine and sweat and feces,” and she reported seeing children who looked afraid and some wearing blank expressions. One photo of a drawing made by a child at the facility depicts the described blank expressions.

Goza who asserted that the trauma of detainment can have long-lasting emotional effects on children said, “First and foremost, as pediatricians, the A.A.P. is convinced that children don’t belong in Customs and Border Control facilities.”

Still, many Twitter users have taken issue with the museum for considering an exhibit while not putting forth a greater effort to put an end to the detainment of children that is currently taking place.

On the other side of the aisle, of course, are the many Trump supporters who are using these images as an opportunity to put blame on the migrant children’s parents.

One user by the name of Gaston Olvera responded by saying that being interested in drawings won’t do anything to help detained migrant children.

Others have replied with the hope that the images will serve as a reminder.

One user suggested that the drawings should be preserved as a record of the Trump administration’s cruelty:

Others expressed their belief that the images were indulgent.

Coneja called a collection of drawings in the Smithsonian “tragedy porn.”

Sadly, many conservatives are using the display as a moment to criticize those who are most vulnerable and who are being victimized.

@Dreamladakh2 bashed migrants. Perhaps forgetting that he was talking about children, he said, “Yeah let the potential criminals and terrorists come in just because they made a sad painting.”

Many are calling the Smithsonian’s images the equivalent of “fake news.”

And while many, like user @techwiz711, have expressed a belief that the drawings were coerced, saying that “children don’t draw the same unless directed.”

However, according to the article “Child’s Psychology—What Do Your Child’s Drawings and Scribbles Mean?” there are definite patterns and similarities in children’s drawings, similarities that can be analyzed and offer insight into a child’s state of mind.

Perhaps the Smithsonian’s interest in migrant children’s drawing is a case of “too soon,” and if created without the greatest sensitivity, the exhibit could appear to exploit human suffering.  Further information about the drawings and the conditions under which they were created would be important information to provide. However, drawing as a form of therapy, or expressing feelings about harsh experiences, such as the ones detailed in the drawings by migrant children can tell us a lot about the effects of trauma and illustrate how children see and understand a lot more than most adults realize.

Heated Protesters At A Colorado ICE Facility Replace The American Flag With The Mexican Flag In A Show Of Defiance

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Heated Protesters At A Colorado ICE Facility Replace The American Flag With The Mexican Flag In A Show Of Defiance

The conflict at America’s southern border proves to be more and more horrific as containment continues. Now, with ICE raids having started over the weekend, more activists are getting in the mix to protest the existence of these facilities and their abusive treatment of migrants. On Friday, protesters camped outside of ICE detention centers around the nation, ready for rallies to denounce further internment of migrants from Central America and other foreign nations.

One of these protests is receiving national attention because of how demonstrators handled the facility’s United States flag.

Protesters at the Aurora, Colorado facility removed the American flag on display outside the building and replaced it with the flag of Mexico.

Twitter / @RealSaavedra

American flags are always flown outside of government buildings. A “Blue Lives Matter” flag was also removed and replaced. The flag was hoisted upside down on its pole with the words “Abolish ICE” spray painted upon it.

The DENVER POST reported that the demonstration was just one part of a nationwide event called Lights for Liberty: A Vigil to End Human Concentration Camps. The events were aimed at protesting the scheduled onslaught of ICE raids that are planned for the coming weeks. The event’s goal was also to expose the human rights violations being committed against the detained migrants.

The altered flags did not fly for long. Armed guards quickly removed the Mexican and defaced “Blue Lives Matter” flags and replaced them with another US flag and the Colorado state flag.

Still, the brief act of defiance caught Twitter’s attention and nobody was happy about it.

Twitter / @charliekirk11

Conservatives and Republicans were quick to see this as an act of treason. This Twitter user claimed that the Democratic goal for the next election year was to “Make America Mexico.” This isn’t the point that protesters were trying to make but it is one that was assumed by  Conservative Twitter. Many far-right Twitter accounts have since referred to this act as proof of an “invasion” as opposed to immigration.

This account relied on a racist mantra in response to the Mexican flag swap.

Twitter / @TrumpStudents

Often times when citizens criticize the United States, conservatives respond with the old adage “If you don’t like it here, leave.” That’s how this Trump Student Twitter handle responded. However, this is our country too and, instead of abandoning it, protesters and activists want to make it more inclusive and more harmonious. Besides, protesting against tyranny is just about as American a tradition can get.

Still, there were others disappointed by this swap. Central American and Latinx Twitter were quick to point out the hypocrisy.

Twitter / @_danalvarenga

Many pointed out that the Mexican government is just as responsible for the death, brutality, and confinement of Central American migrants as the United States is. Salvadoran journalist, Daniel Alvarenga, tweeted his disapproval of the Mexican flag swap by pointing out that this act is not the solidarity that activists should be showing towards migrant communities. The Mexican flag, he points out, is also a symbol of death to many Central American people.

This Twitter user glibly suggested that the presence of the Mexican flag meant that activists were acknowledging Mexico’s role in the deaths of thousands of Central Americans.

Twitter /@EarlsxLips

This fact is often dismissed but migrants traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the US are often treated despicably by Mexican officials. They are denied shelter, resources and are quickly hastened to the Mexican-American border. They are not given any sort or comfort or safety in Mexico. Central America migrants also face discrimination and hatred from Mexican nationals — making their trip even more difficult.

Another Twitter user observed that people from the Latinidad are often lumped together under one incorrect classification.

Twitter / @TheHoesherJew

This tweet points out that not all Latinx folk are Mexican. Flying the Mexican flag erases the fact that most people in these southern border facilities are not from Mexico. It perpetuates a bigoted assumption and is probably not the message activists wanted to send.

The takeaway? The suffering of our Central American familia needs to be acknowledged instead of capitalized upon for a photo op with a flag of their oppressors. The United States government isn’t the only one to harm these migrants and we should remember that going forward as we try to ally and advocate with the migrant community.

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