With every passing day, the United States is becoming a less appealing destination for immigrants. But that hasn’t stopped immigrants from looking even further north for a potential home. In December, Canada stopped requiring visas for visiting Mexican citizens, which has created a surge of immigrants to that country.
According to the Washington Post, the number of immigrants detained at the Mexico-U.S. border has declined nearly 38 percent since February of 2016.
Over the same period, the number of immigrants living in the U.S. seeking asylum in Canada has increased by 212 percent. Many of these U.S.-based Mexican immigrants are likely choosing a life in Canada over the uncertainty that comes with staying in President Trump’s America.
Many immigrants see President Trump’s immigration policies as a reason to avoid the U.S.
In an interview with Reuters, 26-year-old Mexican immigrant Cenobio Rita explained that after a recent deportation from the U.S., he now had his sights set on immigrating to Canada: “I want to go to Canada with my passport. For those without documents, I think (the United States) is over. Now it’s Canada’s turn.”
Though Canada has relaxed its requirements for Mexican immigrants, many hurdles still exist.
Even with an Electronic Travel Authorization form — a tourist permit — immigrants still face a struggle to find work. Immigrants using ETAs to enter the country are not legally authorized to work without a work permit given to them by an employer. Canadian officials even employ strict searches to ascertain whether or not Mexican visitors are there as tourists or are there in search of work and a residence.
Despite these hurdles, more and more migrants are seriously considering Canada as an alternative over the U.S.
Read more about the migrants making their way to Canada in this story by Reuters.
José Bello came to the U.S. when he was just three years old. In 2018, he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) only to be released on bond after his community raised $10,000 for his freedom. After his experience in an immigrant detention center, he wrote a poem critical of U.S. immigration policy, titled “Dear America.” Bello read that poem at a public forum at the Kern County Board of Supervisors in May.
Less than 36 hours later, he was rearrested by ICE and taken back to the Mesa Verde detention center. THE ACLU has filed a petition in the San Francisco district court claiming his rearrest is a violation of first amendment rights. Two months later, he’s still in Mesa Verde detention center, and no decision has been made by his judge.
José Bello is a student at Bakersfield College, a farmer, and a father.
Here’s a taste of his poem:
Our administration has failed. They passed laws against our people, Took away our rights and our freedom, and still expect to be hailed? Chaless!
You and your administration cause fear, fear through Separation. Instead of building trust with our people, do y’all prefer this racial tension?
A theme runs through his poem, touching on family separation.
He speaks to all Americans when he says:
You might be asking yourself, “What’s the whole point of repeating these facts?” Well I am here to let you know, we want to feel safe, whether we’re Brown, Asian or Black. We don’t want your jobs. We don’t want your money. Were here to work hard, pay taxes and study!”
Chillingly, two days before he was separated from his baby, he said, “We will never be apart, chiquito.”
“The fight has begun. “We will never be apart chiquito,” is what I promised my son. Y’all can try to justify your actions. Try to make excuses. The bottom line here is that at the end, the people always triumph and the government loses.”
A GoFundMe set up for Bellos says that he received a DUI under “shady circumstances.”
He essentially forfeited his rights without knowing it, resulting in a no contest charge. He hasn’t had a drink since and has been doing community service work as part of his plea. Bello has been compliant in paying all his fines and attended all his hearings.
There is no other known reason to detain him except in retaliation to his public criticism of the system.
The ACLU’s filing is entirely predicated on the close succession of the two events being the reason for his arrest, saying it “strongly indicates that ICE acted in retaliation against Mr. Bello for his speech expressing views against the agency’s actions.”
The fear is that the move will chill immigrant activists from speaking out at a time when ICE’s unchecked power and aggression is escalating.
Still, Bello is writing poetry from the confines of Mesa Verde. This time, he’s simply asking, “why?”
Meanwhile, Judge Kim is weighing her decision after Bello finally had his court hearing July 15th.
That’s two whole months after he was arrested. Two months away from his child. Judge Kim could take anywhere from two days to a month to make her decision.
There is a movement is in motion to #FreeJoseBello.
Jose Bello is a crucial member of the immigrant community in San Francisco. He’s organized a lobbying workshop for his college’s club Latinos Unidos Por Educación. He led and organized an immigrant caravan drive, to help ensure no child went without clean clothes or food.
You can help by donating to Bello’s GoFundMe to help make his unjustly high $50,000 bond to be reunited with his son.
The ACLU has said the $50,000 bond is “hugely unjust” since Bello is a student who makes just $20,000 a year. The GoFundMe has only raised $2,375 at the time of this publication. #FreeJoseBello.
Tequila is perhaps the most iconic drink from Mexico (although mezcal has been making a BIG comeback for a few years now, particularly as part of urban hipster cultures). We recently reported how tech mogul Elon Musk is trying to get his controversial Teslaquila off the ground, and how Breaking Bad actors Bryan Craston and Aaron Paul are considering having their own label. That is all good if they bring money and jobs to the area of Tequila, Jalisco, where the ancient spirit is produced under Denomination of Origin.
In the meantime, here are a few Mexican-owned tequila brands, some of which are the usual suspects (1800, Corralejo) while others are smaller but exciting brands.
This tequila is housed in a legendary hacienda, as the company, Sotol, states: “The Hacienda Tabalaopa, a family jewel since it’s establishment in 1881, has historically embraced Sotol as the spirit of the region”. This premium spirit, Sotol, is a bit different to tequila as it is elaborated with a wild agavacea variety termed Dasylirion which only grows in the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico. This is an example of how the industry is diversifying, encompassing other regions of Mexico.
This beautiful bottle contains a premium tequila developed by a young Mexican entrepreneur. This relatively new brand is socially conscious and has programs to support agave growers in Jalisco. They source their agave azul from small growers, supporting the local farming industry. It has gotten some good reviews and is bound to become a staple of hipster bars worldwide.
This casa tequilera is as traditional as it comes: it has been operating since 1886 when it was founded by Don Delfino González. However, its owners have taken good care of the brand’s image, using a contemporary brand design that looks great on any bar shelf. Their crown jewel is the San Matias Cristal, which is clear and pure, distilling the floral notes to the nose and the palette that pure blue agave brings. It is the new face of an old distillery, so it brings together the new and the classic in interesting ways.
One of the most traditional brands around (we can totally picture Jorge Negrete or Pedro Infante drinking straight from the bottle while delivering a serenata). This tequila is also the brainchild of Don Delfino González, who during the period that preceded the Mexican Revolution found the perfect conditions for growing agave azul and producing tequila in the Los Altos region of Jalisco. The red soil fields here are rich in iron and other minerals, which provides the perfect nourishment for the agave plants.
This tequila is manufactured by Tequilas del Señor, a house that has more than seven decades of expertise. It is named after the indigenous woman, La Malinche, that according to the legend served as a translator for the conquistadores. For those who enjoy a clear taste, La Malinche is a good option. To the nose, it provides intense notes of baked agave with hints of mint and citrus. It is silky in the mouth with pleasant herbal notes and lovely acidity. It is great to drink by itself… perhaps after a few carnitas tacos.
Just look at this bottle! It would be envied by the most delicate whiskeys on the planet. The reposado (which basically means “rested”, as it has matured in oak barrels for years) variety has a smokey and deep flavor. This house is owned by Armando Orozco Espinoza, a young tequila master that comes from a long tradition of experts. The mantra of this house: ” passion, tradition, braveness, attitude, maturity, and youth.” Bound to become one of the classics.
These tequilas fall in the super-premium category, so they are bound to be a bit pricey (so please don’t make cheap margaritas with it… go a bit more sophisticated and put together a fancy cocktail). This relatively new brand was years in the making: they hired a tequila master to spot the perfect agave plants to create a distinctive flavor. The family that runs this business has been growing agave for more than four decades. The fields and factory are located in the “Golden Triangle” region in Los Altos (Highlands) of Jalisco.
A young brand that has gotten some traction in the European market. The reposado variety is a delight: deep, peppery flavors thanks to the eight months it spends in oak barrels. Tequila 29 Two Nine is owned by a family who, according to company communications, wants to disrupt the game.
One of the most widely sold tequilas, both in Mexico and overseas. It is manufactured in the Hacienda Corralejo in Guanajuato, which as become a tourist attraction in its own right. As stated by the company, “visitors can satisfy their curiosity and excitement about the processes used to make tequila. The atmosphere is a delight to both sight and smell, as exemplified by casks for aging tequila located in beautiful cellars and filled with a suggestive and captivating aroma that evokes the honey of cooked agave”. Sounds like a perfect holiday to us!
This is a luxury craft tequila owned by Mexican-Americans but manufactured the distiller Tequilera Las Juntas in Jalisco. It is made from 100 percent Blue Weber Agave grown in the region of Tequila. It has won multiple international awards.
A young, hip brand whose slogan is #takelifebystorm. It was created by Marco, a master distiller with over 40 years of experience. He says: “I’m really proud of what I’ve done throughout my career at some of the best brands, but there are always limitations when you work for someone else. Tromba represents everything I think great tequila can be.” Marco is joined by Rodrigo Cedano, a young apprentice who really strives to create a tequila that distinguishes itself from the dozens of options in the market. Guess where the name comes from? “Tromba gets its name from the intense rainstorms of the Jalisco highlands that nourish its famed agave plants. It also represents energy and rejuvenation that fuels the passion and purpose of its founders”.
It takes its name from the famous poisonous rattlesnake. This brand specializes in blends that infuse tequila with flavors such as honey and coffee. It is created in the town of Arandas, in the Jalisco highlands. This brand makes sure that the agave plants are used in a sustainable way, and use every part of the plant in the production process. They have some pretty good ideas for cocktails: http://cazcabel.com/the-drinks/.