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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Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

Things That Matter

Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool / Getty Images

President Joe Biden has a lot of work ahead of him and he is hitting the ground running. On his first day in office, President Biden has a series of executive actions he is signing to reverse a lot of the damage created by the Trump administration. Here are some of the things President Biden will do with these actions.

The border wall on the southern border is done, y’all.

President Biden is saving the taxpayers billions of dollars by halting the construction of President Trump’s border wall. The border wall is one of former President Trump’s several unfulfilled promises at the expense of the taxpayers.

Despite his unrelenting campaign, Mexico never paid a dime to the wall. President Biden’s action to halt the border wall is a humanitarian and conservationist move that will save billions of tax dollars. According to estimates, there would be $3.3 billion in unused funds in the projects accounts.

The emotionally devastating Muslim ban will finally come to an end.

Former President Trump famously put an end to travel from predominantly Muslim countries. The order arbitrarily excluded a group of people based on their religion. The order that has kept families apart for years is finally coming to an end thanks to President Biden.

President Biden’s ation will bring families together and safeguards the rights of religious freedom. The ban has kept spouses separated, children apart from parents, and caused real damage. There is more to be done to make up for the stain on American history and the action is the first step.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is toast.

We all remember the terrifying scenes of Native people being brutalized by federal officials under Trump’s command. President Biden will make sure that the permit for the pipeline is revoked and put an end to a project that has been devastating the Native community. Activists have been fighting for years to get this done.

Undocumented people will have to be included in census counts.

President Biden is getting rid of the Trump administration’s terrible policy of ignoring undocumented people in the census. There have been several arguments by officials that the move would work to undermine certain states. The policy would take federal money away from states that did not support the former president and have high undocumented populations.

President Biden is going to preserve DACA.

More than 600,000 people benefit from the Obama-era program. Former President Trump waged a war against DACA and Dreamers for political points. Most Americans support DACA and a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries. With the new executive action, President Biden will instruct the federal government to restore the program to its fullest.

There is still a lawsuit the Biden administration will have to fight. The lawsuit challenging DACA’s legality was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In total, President Biden will sign 17 executive actions that will roll back several issues created by the previous administration.

“Today, hours after taking the oath of office, President-elect Biden will take a historic number of actions to deliver immediate relief for families across America that are struggling in the face of converging crises. He will sign a combination of executive orders, memoranda, directives, and letters to take initial steps to address these crises, including by changing the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief, tackling climate change, and advancing racial equity,” reads a statement from the Biden-Harris Transition Team. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward. These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president.”

READ: President Joe Biden’s And Vice President Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Represented America

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President Joe Biden’s And Vice President Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Represented America

Things That Matter

President Joe Biden’s And Vice President Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Represented America

Rob Carr / Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have been sworn in as the 46th president and the 49th vice president of the United States of America. The new administration has been sworn in and the inauguration was a beautiful representation of America with people of color and women taking center stage.

Lady Gaga kicked off the 59th inauguration by singing the national anthem.

In 2017, Lady Gaga famously participated in the Women’s March the day after former President Trump’s inauguration. Four years later, the singer proudly took to the Capitol to usher in the beginning of the Biden/Harris administration. Dressed in custom Schiaparelli, Lady Gaga performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and left people speechless.

Vice President Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

This was a special moment. The first Latina to ever serve on the Supreme Court was the one to swear in the first woman, first Black, and first South Asian vice president. It was a historical moment that will forever change the United States.

Justice Sotomayor has made a name for herself in American pop culture because of her blistering dissents. As the first Latina on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor opened possibilities for Latinas. We basically watched one icon swear in another icon and it is everything.

The most exciting moment of the inauguration might have been Jennifer Lopez and her remix of an American classic.

Lopez sang “This Land Is Your Land” but added a special twist. During the song, Lopez stops and says, “Una nacion, bajo de dios, indivisible con libertad y justicia para todos.” Translated, she said, “One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” That’s right. The Puerto Rican pop superstar used her moment at the nation’s Capitol building to give a shout out to all the Latinos who call the U.S. home.

Of course, the most iconic moment was J.Lo shouting “Let’s get loud.”

We all know that song. We are all singing it now after reading those three words. It was truly one of the most impactful moments of her performance. Only an icon could turn “This Land is Your Land” into a greatest hits medley. We are all better for having witnessed it.

However, it was 22-year-old Amanda Gorman that stole the entire show.

The Youth Poet Laureate was chosen to speak at the inauguration and she youngest inaugural poet of all time. She joins the impressive ranks of Maya Angelou, Richard Blanco, and Elizabeth Alexander. Her poem, written right after the Capitol riot. It was relevant, poignant, and moving.

“We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
It can never be permanently defeated.”

And, of course, Joseph Robinette Biden became the 46th president of the United States of America.

“Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now. A once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country,” President Biden said. “It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some four hundred years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.

“The cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.

“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity, unity.”

Welcome to the White House President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

READ: The TikToker Who Put Fleetwood Mac Back On The Charts Will Perform At The Inauguration’s Virtual Parade

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