Things That Matter

11 Powerful Reasons Why People Protested For Immigrant Rights In Los Angeles This Weekend

Thousands of protesters met in downtown Los Angeles’ Pershing Square Park to show solidarity for immigrants. Children showed up to support immigrant parents, friends supported each other and whole families took to the streets to protest as a unit. Here are some of the people mitú spoke to about their reason for protesting.

Kimberly Calleros, 22

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here just because this is something that I hold close to my heart,” Calleros told mitú. I come from a family of immigrants so I feel like it’s definitely something that I want to be out here and support, especially just because it’s something close to me. I feel like the people out here can make a difference and I can’t wait to see how far this goes.”

Jaqueline Martinez, 18

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here because I’m tired of being scared,” Martinez told mitú. “I’m tired of feeling threatened and I feel like uniting with so many people who support people like me, because I’m a DACA-beneficiary, that’s just such a warm feeling and I’m here because of my parents. Like my sign says, she crossed for me so I’m here representing her.”

Lizbeth Molina, 23

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here for my mother,” Molina told mitú. “I’m here for everyone whose voices have been silence by this society that’s been compromised by the tyrant that’s in power right now and because I have the right to be here. I’m just here to show solidarity.”

Jessica Alcantar, 24

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here today because I come from a family of immigrants,” Alcantar told mitú. “I’m first-generation and first-generation in college with a master’s degree for my family. This country has offered us a lot of opportunities and I think that everyone who’s come here deserves those same opportunities.”

Ashley Ramirez, 19

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here because everyone deserves to be here. This is literally the land of the free. We say that we accept people but how can we say we accept people when we’re deporting people back? We’re banning people who are Muslim. That just doesn’t make sense,” Ramirez told mitú. “My father, he’s an immigrant here. He’s trying so hard to get his green card and he has to live with that fear now of getting caught and being sent back. I am marching for my father. I am marching for so many people here today.”

Cuathmose, 50 (pictured right)

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“We are here to support the people at this march and what they are doing and to defend their rights,” Cuathmose told mitú.

Juan Silva, 28

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here because I am supporting other immigrants,” Silva told mitú. “I am an immigrant from Sinoloa, Mexico.”

Jose Barragan, 36

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here to represent what the American Dream can really be,” Barragan told mitú. “Right now the only defense we have against this administration is to take to the streets, show our resistance and really, for those who are still on the fence and think that the campaign was simply a war of words is in actuality becoming a war of actions and we are under attack. A lot of our communities are under attack.”

Valencia/Soto Family

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“We’re both the children of immigrants and I think it’s just important. I love this city and this city was built on immigrants, this whole country first off, but this city specifically,” Mary Valencia told mitú. “We want to show our sons that it’s not okay. What’s going on it not okay and we are all in this together. Whether it’s marching or supporting the organizations that are doing the grassroots work. We’ve got to do something.”

Sal Osorio, 37 (pictured left)

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m just supporting everyone who is an immigrant, you know, brothers, sisters, coworkers, friends from church, friends from school,” Osorio told mitú. “We’re all somehow connected to all of these people. We were all in that position at some time. Just because we are on this side of the wall doesn’t mean that, ‘Oh. It’s okay. It’s not going to affect us.'”

Soto/Serrano Family

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

“I’m here because I think what Trump is doing is wrong,” Gloria Soto (pictured left) told mitú. “I don’t think it’s fair and I think we have to take a stand to show him that we’re not going to stay quiet; we’re not going to back down. Immigrants are a part of America and part of our history and he can’t change that.”

READ: Here’s What ICE Is Saying About The Arrest Of 23-Year-Old Mexican DACA Recipient

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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