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Being Born In The US Didn’t Stop ICE From Deporting These People

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Since 2003, at least 20,000 U.S. citizens have been detained and even thousands more deported. Here are just a few Latinos who were detained and sent to a country that wasn’t their own.

George Ibarra is a Gulf War marine veteran who was deported twice in the span of 15 years.

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Ibarra was arrested and given the option of self-deportation in order to spend less time at an immigration center, which he took. What he didn’t know was that although he and his mother moved from Nogales, Mexico, to Phoenix, Ariz., when he was a baby, his grandparents were U.S. citizens, which qualified him for “derived citizenship.”

Blanca Maria Alfaro was born in Texas, but moved to El Salvador when she was 4. She was still detained.

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She was deported in 1998 to El Salvador from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City after immigration officials refused to believe her. While in El Salvador, she went to the U.S. Embassy to explain her situation. They sided with her. That didn’t solve the problem. She was later detained and deported again in 2005. Finally, in 2013, the U.S. State Department determined that Alfaro was a citizen after all.

Mark Lyttle was born in North Carolina and has a history of mental illness. He was detained and deported to Mexico in 2008.

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Credit: Joe Brusky/Flickr 

Mark Lyttle grew up floating from foster home to foster home. He was deported to Mexico and was later found by a worker from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala wandering around Central America. The U.S. government admitted their error and gave him a $175,000 settlement for his troubles.

Andres Robles Gonzalez was detained by ICE in 2007 while he was living in New Orleans — despite being a U.S. citizen.

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In 2011, he was finally allowed to return to the U.S. The federal government payed him $350,000 in damages.

In 2007, Pedro Guzman, a 29 year-old developmentally disabled man from Los Angeles was wrongfully deported for allegedly spraying graffiti at an airplane junkyard.

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Guzman spent 89 days roaming around Baja California, eating garbage, washing in rivers and avoiding human interaction before he was found. According to the LA Times, many of his family members quit their jobs to look for him and spent all of their savings in the process. In August of that year, he was finally returned to his family.

Sigifredo Saldana Iracheta, a laborer from South Texas, was born to a white father and a Mexican mother. Despite being a U.S. citizen, Iracheta was deported four times, and spent two years in a restrictive detention center.

Credit: Wikimedia/ICE.GOV

It wasn’t until the fifth time that he applied for a certificate of citizenship that the government finally listened to the fact that Iracheta was actually a U.S. citizen.


READ: ICE Is Teaming Up With Private Detention Centers To Detain As Many People As Possible Because Of Money

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Deanna From “Queer Eye” Was Harassed By Neighbors Who Told Her “The Mexicans Are Building Their Own Wall” But The Fab Five Helped Her Overcome Giving Us Another Reason To Love Them

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Deanna From “Queer Eye” Was Harassed By Neighbors Who Told Her “The Mexicans Are Building Their Own Wall” But The Fab Five Helped Her Overcome Giving Us Another Reason To Love Them

Netflix

Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye, featuring the Fab Five, has become a staple of America’s collective therapy. In the days since the fourth season has dropped, we’re all feeling more in touch with our feelings, but never have we been so attacked as when we met Chicana Deanna Muñoz. 

Deanna is a proud second generation Mexican-American who struggles with being “stuck” between two cultures. She doesn’t speak Spanish and can’t cook, making her feel like she’s “not Mexican enough”, and racism felt by her white neighbors makes her feel like she’s “not white enough.” Needless to say, that experience is so relatable for most of us second-generation Latino-Americans.

Meet Deanna Muñoz in all her J.Lo glory.

Credit: @annimal26 / Twitter

In fact, we call it brujería. Deanna had her first child when she was just 16 years old, and had to drop out of school. As her daughter started pouring her heart into creative writing, she wanted to find her a tutor. With none to be found, she founded the Latino Arts Festival non-profit foundation, to showcase and cultivate Latino culture in Kansas City.

We’re giving Queer Eye a 10/10 for shining a light on cultural Imposter Syndrome within the Latinx community.

Credit: @Imitate_this / Twitter

Why did Queer Eye do such a good job of this? They created space for Deanna, an actual Chicana, to share her experience to America. So many of us have faced the surprise of both Latinos and non-Latinos alike when we answer that “what are you?” question. In a place like the U.S., where we often come from mixed-culture families, seeing the emotional effects played out on screen is validating AF.

Karamo Brown took Deanna door to door to find neighbors that can counter the racism she experienced by other vecinos.

Credit: Netflix

Deanna’s family had to build a mini wall to reinforce water drainage on their yard, and a neighbor texted her husband saying, “The Mexicans are building their own wall.” 😡

Deanna’s family immediately felt uncomfortable in their own neighborhood. Our favorite Cubano, Karamo, made sure that Deanna went where the love is–and had her create her own welcome to the ‘hood.

And sons and daughters of immigrant parents everywhere sobbed to see the sacrifice.

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Deanna’s parents immigrated to the U.S. to give Deanna a better life. So many of our parents or abuelos left their culture and language behind to give their children a new start in life. Seeing Deanna get that is what it’s all about. #NoWall

Meanwhile, Bobbi created a safe space for Latino artists in Kansas City by gifting Deanna an office space.

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Deanna was working out of a tiny space in her home, with the third annual Latino Arts Festival upon her. Bobbi was able to create a studio space for Latinx artists, and made sure that Latinx artists influenced the design of the space. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

There was also this Latino lesson: never reject abuela’s food. She’ll bring it to you anyway.

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Twitter user Pamela Gocobachi shared, that “one of my fave moments from the new #QueerEye season was in  Deanna’s episode when @antoni learned the hard way that you never say no when abuelita asks you if you want to eat something– Martha’s face when he said “later”? Antoni’s face when she brought him food anyway? I DIED”

If you don’t speak Spanish but could relate to Deanna’s struggle to ask for help or take up any space at all, you inherited that from Latino culture.

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Not one of us would question Deanna’s Latinidad, but we internalize so much shame for not living like we grew up in a Latin American country. Language and food are just two ways to define culture. 

Deanna relatably felt intimidated to be in the kitchen with the viejas.. Deanna felt like her Latin style was seen as “childish” in her board meetings and had trouble being taken seriously. These are the Latino-American experiences we have all experienced and they make us Latino.

If you’re feeling inspired, be like Chloe, and donate to the Latino Arts Foundation!

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It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak Spanish and couldn’t roast a poblano for your life–your Latinidad is bigger than that. It’s everything that gives us the birthright to claim that identity, especially in a foreign land. Whether your culture looks like the art of cafecito or appreciating Bad Bunny even though you don’t understand every word he’s saying, somos Latino.

What we do to celebrate that is what we pass on to the next generation. Donate to the Latino Arts Foundation hoy.

Puerto Rican Women Are Finding It Difficult To Access Abortion Related Health Care Putting Their Health At Risk

Things That Matter

Puerto Rican Women Are Finding It Difficult To Access Abortion Related Health Care Putting Their Health At Risk

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For those of you who may have been living under a rock, or just genuinely can’t keep up with the news now that there’s usually a new catastrophe or political gaffe from the Trump administration on a daily basis, it’s probably a good idea to recap what happened around Hurricane Maria.

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, devastating the region and sparking an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. While recovery efforts have been in the works, abortion care has been largely ignored by authorities, leading to another set of problems that need to be addressed before Puerto Rico can really say that it’s moved on from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Granted: there’s so much more to consider than just simply boosting abortion facilities in Puerto Rico.

According to a 2008 study in the Journal of Population Economics, birth rates increase in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

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Let’s face it, anyone put in the same position would agree: if there’s no access to power, no way of really going anywhere, and there are zero things to do otherwise … you’re gonna have sex. Even though the world is pretty much falling apart around you! Part of the risks of this behavior, beyond focusing on bonking rather than safety awareness during a natural disaster, is the fact that condoms and other contraceptives aren’t necessarily readily accessible in this time. It means that if you’re not intending on getting pregnant, then this situation could put you in perilous circumstances.

The lack of regional resources after a natural disaster is not only hard af for new families – it’s also hard on people who are seeking ways to terminate their pregnancy. Where Puerto Rico is concerned, of the six abortion clinics on the main island, only one was in operation in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. However, it took nine days for that single clinic to get its doors open again. And from there, the damage from the cataclysmic storms meant that the centre didn’t have two air conditioning units or its heating system, and it had to run on a generator for three months. Because power was so expensive at this time, it meant that the clinic also had to cut its hours of operation. And if you think this is bad – that’s just the trials and tribulations of one clinic. Imagine the difficulty in trying to get others open.

Sure, there’s a problem. But aren’t there more important things to deal with in Puerto Rico, first?

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Recovery from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has been mighty slow. In fact, it took an entire year for power to be restored to the region. Poor sanitation in the area led to the spread of water-borne sicknesses, while spoiled food and contaminated drinking water also harmed the population. Pests and bugs further caused havoc and spread disease, in addition to mold and mildew. Not to mention the fact that cleanup activities also introduced further hazards to locals, and opened the potential for further injury and infections. Natural disasters are associated with a decline in the mental health of a population, too, meaning that psychological services are in dire need in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. 

At this point, you’re probably thinking, ‘why are we worried about access to abortion care when there are so many other, more urgent, things to think about’? And sure, you’re not entirely wrong. But the reality is that access to healthcare services in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is crucial for reducing further loss of human life. And that healthcare must be holistic. Because while healthcare is great for recovery from injuries and treating disease, these are reactive measures to the issue at hand. Family planning and abortion care fall into the category of preventative measures, to ensure that the unintended pregnancies don’t place further stress on very limited services and resources.

The issues we’re seeing now are part of bigger, systemic problems that must be addressed for Puerto Rico’s wellbeing.

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As an unincorporated territory of the US, it stands to reason that Puerto Rico should have received considerable support from Washington DC. While no-one could forget the classic shot of Donald Trump basketball-shooting paper towels into a crowd of disaster-stricken Puerto Ricans, it’s been argued that the region was, overall, lacking in support and attention from the administration. And this criticism wasn’t a new thing. Puerto Rico’s been dealing with the Zika epidemic, which affected 1 in 7 newborns between 2016 and 2018, while also contending with the shutdown of 66 of 69 major hospitals in the region due to Hurricane Maria. It also has the highest poverty rate over any US state, while also getting less money and resource from the federal government for health programs. Yikes.

This raises questions around Puerto Rico’s representation in Washington: as it is not a state, it doesn’t have a vote in Congress. And, it only has one non-voting member of the House, known as a Resident Commissioner. Who knows what kind of improvements in assistance could have been made for Puerto Rico, if it had the right kind of political representation?

Beyond the federal level, Puerto Rico must also contend with the rise of conservatism.

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Pushback against access to family planning services, which largely draws from pervasive religious doctrine, has risen in recent years. For example, 2018 saw a really aggressive attempts to restrict abortion access in Puerto Rico. While the Senator responsible for the bill, Nayda Venegas Brown, eventually pulled it from consideration, it was designed to institute a mandatory 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, parental consent for minors, and a ban on the procedure outright after 20 weeks gestation. And sure, while these may seem like pretty common laws for those living on mainland US, these kinds of restrictions are basically unheard of in Puerto Rico.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, these kinds of limitations would add even more complexity to unwanted pregnancies in Puerto Rico. For example, without access to appropriate healthcare services, people may not have even known about their pregnancy until much later in their gestational cycle. Another thing to consider is that, should there be complications in the pregnancy, women may have their lives further jeopardized by restrictions on performing abortions. And, minors who may not be in contact with their parents would then become dependent on those same parents to access an abortion. Indeed, it is fortunate that Puerto Ricans were not subject to such blanket laws – particularly while they’re still dealing with the repercussions of Hurricane Maria.

So, for those of you sitting at home wondering what you can do about the predicament facing Puerto Rico, you’ve got a few options. It’s worth investigating charities in your local area that are dedicated towards providing support to Puerto Rico. Voting for candidates in the 2020 elections that have proposed policies to support Puerto Rico is also crucial. Additionally, improving awareness about women’s rights by sharing accurate information on social media – like this piece – can help break down the stigma around family planning.

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