Things That Matter

A Migrant Mother Details The Death of Her Daughter After ICE Detention In Emotional Testimony

Yazmin Juárez, a migrant woman who said she was fleeing an abusive situation at home in Guatemala, gave an emotional testimony in front of Congress on July 10. At a congressional hearing Wednesday, she spoke about the neglect and inhumane conditions that she and her 19-month-old daughter experienced at a detention facility which resulted in the death of her daughter weeks after being released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

In a tearful testimony, Juárez spoke about the hopes and dreams she’d had for her daughter and wanted to pursue for her by coming to the U.S.

“We came to the United States, where I hoped to build a better and safer life for my daughter, Mariee. Sadly, I witnessed my daughter die. Slowly and very painfully,” Juárez said during the hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. “A couple of months before her second birthday, she died.”  

The hearing comes as a response from the House committee looking into the treatment of migrant children at detention facilities on the U.S. border.

According to The Guardian, Juárez went on to say that it pained her to relive those moments as she testified. Still, the mother felt the need to do so, in order to let the rest of the world know the truth behind what’s happening in these cages and detention facilities where folks are being held. She and her daughter were being held at a family detention center in Dilley, Texas, in 2018. 

Juárez testified said her daughter began showing symptoms after entering the facility. The Guardian reports that her daughter “Mariee had a 104F fever and suffered from cough, congestion, diarrhea, and vomiting a week after entering Dilley.”

However, these symptoms were not mentioned by medical staff on discharge forms. And her daughter’s condition only worsened after their release from the detention center. Her mother recalled how she spent six weeks in hospitals before her condition worsened due to a collapsed lung from a respiratory infection last May. 

Juárez is now filing a wrongful death suit and seeking $60M from the federal government. 

After Juárez’s emotional hearing, she also received a moving and important response from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez –– who has also been very vocal and open about how she believes the U.S. should rid itself of the entire Department of Homeland Security. “I feel like we are, at a very, it’s a very qualified and supported position, at least in terms of evidence, and in terms of being able to make the argument that we never should have created DHS in the early 2000s,” AOC said in an interview, according to CBS News

AOC was visibly moved by Juárez’s testimony about the wrongful death of her daughter Mariee.

“I want to start with a very important question,” AOC started her remarks. “First, United States law requires that children are kept in safe and sanitary conditions. You and your baby were here in detention conditions. In your opinion, were these conditions safe and sanitary?” To which Juárez ultimately answered, “no.” 

Juárez described the conditions she was held in CBP custody as “very cold” and they were kept in “a cage” and “forced to sleep on a concrete floor.”

AOC also asked Juárez if she had witnessed a culture of cruelty within detention facilities. Juárez told AOC that while in custody and while she was in “detention in the cages” she spoke to immigration and ICE officials over the phone to discuss why she was seeking asylum in the U.S. 

“I came [to the U.S.] to provide a better future for my daughter,” she says she told ICE. “But they didn’t let us speak, and [they] told me, in these words, ‘Do you know that this country is for Americans, our president is Donald Trump, and we can take your daughter away from you and lock you up in prison.'” 

AOC responded to Juárez –– but addressed the oversight committee chair, Elijah Cummings –– “What is being pointed to here is a culture of cruelty. To have a CBP officer tell a migrant woman escaping unspeakable horrors in her home country and tell them this country is for Americans and to threaten to separate her from her daughter, to threaten a human rights violation is extraordinarily concerning, and at a bare minimum grounds for serious investigation by this committee and other entities.” 

Wednesday’s hearing, titled “Kids in Cages: Inhumane Treatment at the Border,” comes during at a time of heightened criticism of the Trump administration and their treatment of migrant families at the border. 

The testimony comes as government and media reports of inhumane conditions at border detention facilities have sparked an outcry all over social media and beyond. On July 9, according to NBC News, a harrowing report of the treatment of migrant children at the hands of U.S. border agents was obtained, showing allegations of sexual assault and retaliation according to dozens of accounts by children held in an Arizona detention center. 

President Trump, however, has pushed back against these reports saying they are “unsubstantiated.”

The oversight committee chair present at Juárez’s testimony called the treatment of migrant children at facilities on the border “government-sponsored child abuse.” 

Mariee has been one of seven children to die while in ICE custody or shortly after being released. 

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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

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Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

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Florida’s Latino vote is a crucial part of a winning strategy in the Sunshine State. The demographic shifts in recent years because of natural, financial, and governmental disasters has led to a big Puerto Rican diaspora in Florida. President Trump’s handling of the Hurricane Maria recovery has left Puerto Ricans upset with the administration.

Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are battling for Florida’s Latino voters.

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees are making concerted efforts to shore up Latino support in Florida. There are 3.1 million eligible Latino voters in the swing state and make up a crucial voting bloc. While a large number are conservative Cubans and Cuban-Americans, there are also other Latino communities representing different parts of Latin America.

The polling tells a story of two candidates locked in a heated race for the Latino vote in Florida.

Polls, like The Washington Post-ABC News poll, show Biden taking the lead with Latino voters in Florida. According to that poll, Biden is leading Trump 52 percent to 39 percent. However, Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote in Florida 62 percent to 35 percent in 2016. Clinton’s success with the Latino community of Florida shows that the Latino vote is not the only way to clinch the electoral college votes.

On the other hand, President Trump wants everyone to pay attention to one poll. President Trump is sharing a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News that shows him leading in Florida. According to the poll, Trump leads in Florida by 4 points.

The Latino community in southern Florida is being bombarded by a disinformation campaign.

The disinformation is aimed at Florida’s Latino voters and is peddling conspiracy theories against Biden. One of the most prominent examples of this disinformation was the racist and anti-Semitic insert published in a recent edition of the Miami Herald. The insert compared BLM protesters to Nazis but argued that Nazis were nicer since they didn’t steal anything.

Both candidates are pouring money into their campaign efforts in Florida. Both are spending time and money trying to court the Latino vote in an effort to win the key state.

Critics of the president are pointing to the sudden relief package to Puerto Rico is a grab for votes.

President Trump was harshly and fairly criticized after he didn’t respond to the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. The 2017 hurricane devastated the island and left millions without power for weeks. One of the most memorable moments of that time was President Trump throwing paper towels to Puerto Ricans recovering from the disaster.

President Trump, during an election, approved $13 billion in relief funds for Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican voters have not forgotten the three years it took for the president to approve relief funds to help rebuild the island after a devastating storm.

READ: The Miami Herald Apologizes For Including Racist, Anti-Semitic Insert In Newspaper

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

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Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

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