politics

Here’s Why You Need to Know Rep. Adriano Espaillat, The First Undocumented Immigrant in Congress

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The hot button politician blowing up everyone’s Twitter feeds is the one and only AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). While she may be the youngest, most progressive Congresswoman on record, there is another Latino breaking records that you should have on your radar.

Adriano Espaillat is a Dominican-born American politician representing New York’s 13th congressional district. And, he’s the first formerly undocumented immigrant to ever serve in Congress as well as the first Dominican to ever serve in Congress. He’s not just trying to fit in and make any power grabs either. He’s putting everything on the line to fearlessly serve the immigrant community.

1. Espaillat isn’t abandoning his community and has made them his entire platform.

CREDIT: @VMforCA10 / Twitter

In fact, in response to Trump’s most recent State of the Union Address, Espaillat has led the Democrat party to introduce an Immigration Package to the floor. He wants to protect hospitals, churches and schools from ICE’s grip, so that every individual in this country can access health, education and personal welfare without fear of deportation. Bravo.

2. Espaillat came to the U.S. as a child with his family.

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Twitter

He was born on September 27, 1954 in Santiago, Dominican Republic. His family moved to the U.S. (Washington Heights, NYC) when he was 10 years old.

3. Their family lived without status for a year.

CREDIT: @Almomentonet / Twitter

Their tourist visas expired and the Espaillats had to live as undocumented until their green card applications were approved a full year later. Espaillat was only 11 years old when this happened.

4. He’s known for spearheading the 2007 effort to allow undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses.

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Instagram

Caption: “The love felt by parents trying to cross the border with their children is the same love my parents felt for me when my family immigrated from the Dominican Republic. Their families should have the same opportunities that I was given here in America. #ToImmigrantsWithLove”

5. He knows that he “did things right” in his journey to citizenship and is proud.

CREDIT: @johnbcanela / Twitter

Caption: “I came to the U.S. as a child with my family, and today, it is the honor of my life to serve my community here in Congress. And I want to tell every immigrant in this country today: you are welcome here & you are a valued part of our country.”

6. He dedicates all his Valentines Days’ to immigrants.

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Twitter

7. He’s the great-grandson of Dominican President Ulises Espaillat.

CREDIT: @bernat1923bld / Twitter

Soo yeah. Politics runs in his blood.

8. He’s been arrested for speaking out for Dreamers.

CREDIT: @NCRMuseum / Twitter

Caption: “#OnThisDay last year, 3 lawmakers, Luis Gutierrez (IL), Raúl Grijalva (AZ) & Adriano Espaillat (NY), were arrested outside of Trump Tower for demanding more protection for young undocumented immigrants. DACA’s fate is in our leaders’ hands.”

9. Espaillat led the initial effort to Impeach Trump.

CREDIT: @RedTRaccoon / Twitter

While America elected both the first formerly undocumented immigrant to Congress as the most nativist, racist President in history, Espaillat cosigned the bill to begin the impeachment process against Trump.

10. “Not all Trump supporters are racists, but all racists voted for Donald Trump.”

CREDIT: @zabalaaldia / Twitter

In an interview with Vice News, he said, “The Klan used to wear a hood. Now they don’t; they openly come out and spill their venom out there for everybody to see their identity.”

He hosted the first ever  “Dominicans On the Hill” community event in Washington D.C.

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Instagram

He plans to make it an annual event to celebrate Dominican community leaders and invite them to Congress and “to highlight Dominican heritage, our culture and diversity.”

11. And he marches with Boricuas at the Puerto Rican Pride Parade también.

CREDIT: @MannyDeLosSanto / Twitter

He flew to Puerto Rico to survey the damages and relief efforts on behalf of his Puerto Rican constituents. He himself used to be the chair of the New York State Senate’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative caucus.

12. He celebrates Three Kings Day with his constituents like a good Latino.

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Instagram

13. His group of interns are actually diverse.

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Instagram

No more Paul Ryan selfies with a hundred white people behind him. This is why we need to diversify Congress—to give opportunities to brown kids.

14. He loves One Day at a Time!

CREDIT: Netflix

He’s out here retweeting NPR Latino interviews with Justina Machado and Isabella Gomez, shipping the Latinidad of the show.

15. When Verizon and DirectTV dropped Televisión Dominicana, Espaillat called on the companies to change course.

CREDIT: @ChefMimiIsles / Twitter

His exact statement according to Latin Times was this: “The recent decision by AT&T to remove Televisión Dominicana from its lineup shows cultural disregard, indifference, and lack in the network’s efforts to promote diversity among its programming. Promoting diverse voices and minority representation are critical to our success in telecommunications and the marketplace. I strongly encourage both parties to return to the negotiation table to find the best solution in the interests for my constituents and for their customers.”

He also called on Dominicans living in the US to petition the companies and tweeted out their phone numbers to call to complain. The networks ignored the call for diversity. 😡

16.

CREDIT: @hunterw / Twitter

17. His full name is Adriano de Jesús Espaillat Cabral.

CREDIT: @WNYC / Twitter

18.

19.

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Instagram

Caption: “@RepEspaillat visited with Colombian President Iván Duque during today’s House Foreign Affairs @HouseForeign Committee meeting.”

20. He’s not letting up anytime soon. #LaResistencia

CREDIT: @repadrianoespaillat / Instagram

Caption: “Delighted to be back in my district! I’m working on behalf of #NY13 and to combat the #FakeTrumpEmergency that this administration is promoting to build Trump’s reckless #BorderWall. My fight continues.”

As Nicolas Maduro Dances In Celebration, Protests Turn Violent In The Streets Of Venezuela

politics

As Nicolas Maduro Dances In Celebration, Protests Turn Violent In The Streets Of Venezuela

Edilzon Gamez / Getty Images

The crisis in Venezuela shows no signs of improving as violence erupted at several points along Venezuela’s border over the weekend. Armed government forces tried to block shipments of aid from entering the country that resulted in the death of four people and injuring countless more. Soldiers threw tear gas and rounds of rubber bullets at protesters who tried to bring boxes of aid across the neighboring Colombian and Brazilian borders. The aid, which came from the U.S, is desperately needed right now as thousands are in urgent need of food and medicine.

Venezuela is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis with no end in sight.

Maduro, pedazo de malnacido, sabíamos que eres incompetente, ignorante, farsante, dictador, marioneta, corrupto, narco, cobarde, criminal, pero ahora ya sabemos que eres el asesino criminal del pueblo venezolano. Que Dios te maldiga y te fulmine. Y pronto!!! pic.twitter.com/joCgq95feX— Miguel Bosé (@BoseOfficial) February 23, 2019

This is all happening as as embattled president Nicolás Maduro tries to withstand opposition from within Venezuela and other international leaders who’ve called for him to step down. Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is being supported by the U.S., backed the efforts of the incoming aid. Maduro has rejected the help and called upon military forces to stop people from getting to the aid, this resulted in a clash with activists at the Venezuelan border on Saturday.

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“They started shooting at close range as if we were criminals,” Vladimir Gomez, a shoekeeper told NBC News. “I couldn’t avoid the (rubber) bullets and they hit me in the face and my back. We have to fight.”

Trucks carrying aid have been torched as Maduro has attempted to stop help from coming into the country.

A truck in a convoy attempting to deliver humanitarian aid into Venezuela from Colombia went up in flames and crowds started taking boxes of supplies from another truck, as Nicolas Maduro has refused to allow any kind of international aid in the country. https://t.co/nmlqoBh818 pic.twitter.com/KUIIgqe52p— ABC News (@ABC) February 25, 2019

Three trucks of aid caught on fire along border checkpoints at the Santander and Simón Bolivar bridges that connect Venezuela to Colombia. Venezuelan authorities blamed pro-opposition protestors for burning the aid trucks and for attacking Venezuelan security authorities on the bridges. Maduro has previously said the aid is not needed and called those trying to help bring it in to the country “traitors.”

While all this was happening, Maduro was dancing it up at a pro-regime rally.

Maduro dances on national TV as national guards fire tear gas and plastic pellets at crowds trying to move humanitarian aid into the country along the Colombian border pic.twitter.com/4u4zEHDixi— Patricia Laya (@PattyLaya) February 23, 2019

Video captured Maduro dancing with his wife during a pro-regime rally Saturday in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas. The scene was criticized by many as turmoil in the streets turned deadly. Even as Maduro starts to lose power within his own country, he has remained defiant in his refusal to give up control.

Maduro has now broken off diplomatic and political relations with Colombia because of their support of the U.S. move to bring aid. He has ordered all Colombian diplomats to leave Venezuela.

The U.S has now placed more sanctions on Venezuela, asking for Maduro to step down.

Vice President Pence announces new sanctions against Venezuela’s Maduro in speech from Colombia https://t.co/Se2XijM7Bv— TIME (@TIME) February 25, 2019

On Monday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met with Venezuelan Guaido to show the country’s support. The meeting was the first between Pence and Guaido since the US decided to publicly back him as the rightful Venezuelan leader about a month ago. While President Trump has previously said “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela, the U.S. will try to diplomatically take down Maduro first.

“In the days ahead as well, the United States will announce even stronger sanctions on the regime’s corrupt financial networks. We will work with all of you to find every last dollar that they’ve stolen and work to return it to the Venezuelan people,” Pence said at the meeting with Guaidó.

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One thing is clear, the people in Venezuela are facing turmoil beyond just the rule of Maduro. The country is facing economic downfall due to inflation and a government that is denying help. If Guaidó and other opposition forces are too succeed, they will need restore hope back to the people of Venezuela.

Esperanza Rodriguez, 49, had worked as a Venezuelan police offer for 19 years before leaving the job. She was at the border where she asked security to allow the aid in. Rodriguez told the LA Times the people in Venezuela are suffering and change is desperately needed.

“This is just the first step. We need to get rid of Maduro and his corrupt government and start a new Venezuela.”

READ:What You Need To Know About The Growing Turmoil In Venezuela That Has Left At Least 40 People Dead

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