Things That Matter

Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Made Me Second Guess My Choice To Get My Master’s Abroad But I Persist

This Election Day I watched in disbelief as the candidate who I thought had no chance clinched the presidency of the United States. I was in China completing my second master’s degree as a Schwarzman Scholar when the polls closed. As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary, tears ran down my face as I thought about what the results could mean for my family and me.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra

Donald Trump vowed to rescind DACA on day one. I took his word and returned to the United States before his inauguration. I had been paroled six times into the United States, entering through five different cities. My level of anxiety was higher this time because of the vitriolic rhetoric directed at “illegal” immigrants like me during the presidential campaign. My heart raced as the customs officers summoned me for questioning. That moment I understood that I had grown complacent as the inspection process became routine to me.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra

DACA brought stability to young lives marked by uncertainty, emancipating over 750,000 dreamers like me from the threat of deportation and allowing us to gain legal employment. For many of us, DACA also became the push we needed to rise above the limitations imposed by our immigration and socio-economic status to accomplish extraordinary things. Propelled by curiosity and a desire to improve myself, I sought a place in academic programs that took me to ten different countries in four continents in the past three years. I have visited iconic sites like the Great Wall Of China, the Brandenburg Gate in Germany, Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia, and Big Ben in London.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra

I have walked on the same grounds as Aristotle in The Acropolis of Athens, the birthplace of democracy. I basked in the grandeur of the Forbidden City of China, a place rarely seen by people for four hundred years. I walked the same cobble streets as Isaac Newton once did, and I enjoyed three-course meals draped in traditional college robes inside centuries-old buildings as a student at the University of Cambridge. As I traveled, I often thought about the improbability of my position. I felt the weight of my privilege when I thought about the thousands of students who applied for these opportunities and of the many more who did not. Yet, here I was.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra

Reentry into the United States was never guaranteed. I knew I was taking an enormous risk every time I boarded an outbound flight. However, the thought of the impact I would be able to have on the lives of those less privileged empowered with the experiences, knowledge, and relationships I would gain abroad filled my spirit with courage.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra

It is now clear that we have entered a new political environment. President Trump’s executive orders are already taking a toll on immigrant and refugee families. Could DACA be his next target? Forget the detrimental economic impact on the nation if DACA is repealed. The intangible impact of repeal is equally as important. We are no longer children. We are young adults with the capacity and the desire to positively contribute. Without work authorization, what are we to do? Continue accumulating college degrees in hopes of one day being able to put them to use? President Trump and the congressional Republican leadership must cease mercilessly playing with our futures.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra

Being selected a Schwarzman Scholar was the culmination of a lifetime of academic preparation and persistence in the face of linguistic, financial, and legal challenges. Now I am confronted with the choice of continuing my hard-earned education in China or risk losing my life in the United States. As frustrating as this situation is, it is not unique for me. Like other undocumented students, I have had to take detours on my path to realizing my dreams. Nothing has been easy or given to me. This is no different. The familiarity of this situation does not make it any less frustrating. With or without DACA, we must not desist demanding a permanent place in this country. The alternative is simply inconceivable.

Carlos Adolfo Gonzalez Sierra

The recent protests in support of refugees and immigrant families have strengthened my conviction that, despite the actions of the president, the majority of Americans believe that we belong. The fight for American’s soul is only beginning. For my undocumented friends still in the shadows, now it is not the time to hide. We must do our part to support those at the vanguard of this struggle by organizing ourselves and giving others the strength to do the same through the power of our stories.

READ: My Name Is Cindy. I’m Undocumented. I Can Make A Difference.

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AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’


AOC Gets Under Ted Cruz’s Skin With Crack About His Mexican Getaway After He Accuses Her Of Pushing For ‘open borders’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz are at it again on Twitter. This time it’s about immigration policy. After recently traveling to the US-Mexican border to underline the recent rise in immigration, Cruz accused AOC of pushing for a “full open borders” policy.

And of course, AOC got him with some solid zingers.

AOC in turn hit back at Cruz for recently fleeing his home state of Texas during its power grid collapse to vacation in Cancún.

In response to Cruz’s attack, AOC suggested Mexico avoid allowing Cruz in the next time he attempts to vacation there. She also called on him to resign from office for his attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Ted, this is pretty rich coming from someone who fled their own home (and responsibilities) during an environmental crisis to cross the border and seek refuge in Mexico,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Also you funded cages, expanded cages, and yet you’re complaining about cages. You have no policy, just puff.”

Ocasio-Cortez accused Republicans of hypocritically attacking the current administration’s detention of migrant children at the border after they supported President Donald Trump’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children.

Currently, Democrats like AOC are calling on Biden to impliment more liberal immigration policies.

Republicans have strongly expressed their dislike for the recent rise in migrants which has come as a result of Biden’s reversal of Trump’s most rigid border policies.

AOC is currently a co-sponsor of the Roadmap to Freedom resolution. The resolution calls on the Federal Government to develop and implement a Roadmap to Freedom “in order to overhaul the outdated immigration system in the United States that has gone without significant reform for decades, and to relieve the great human impact an unjust system bears on communities around the country.”

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

Things That Matter

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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