Things That Matter

The Border Wall Prototypes Are Up In San Diego. Here’s What That Means

One of President Trump’s central campaign promises was to build a new, reinforced wall along the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. One year after the presidential election, there are border wall prototypes erected in San Diego. The mini walls were submitted and constructed by companies hoping to win the contract with the U.S. government to construct the full or sections of the border wall. Ron Vitiello, acting deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), praised the prototypes during a press conference as being essential to the overall goal of Border Patrol stating.

“Border security relies on a combination of border infrastructure, technology, and personnel,” he said during the press conference.

There are eight border wall prototypes standing along the U.S./Mexico border in San Diego. They are the first physical indicators of President Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall along the southern border.

According to Vitiello, the prototypes are 30 feet high and about 18 feet wide. Contractors were given $300,000 to $500,000 to complete their prototypes.

“Border walls have proven to be to be an extremely effective part of our multi-pronged security strategy to prevent the illegal flow of people and drugs over many years,” he said at the press conference. “Specifically, walls are part of a border enforcement zone which includes roads, lights and surveillance technology.”

The choice to build the prototypes in San Diego was not random.

According to Vitiello’s speech, San Diego is the most active area for border crossings. He told the press that in 2016, Border Patrol detained 31,000 people crossing the border, 9,200 pounds of marijuana and more than 1,300 pounds of cocaine.

Immigration activists are concerned about the wall and its potential to create a more dangerous journey for those heading north.

Border Angels is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that works for immigrant and human rights. Founder Enrique Morones says the border wall that is currently in place has led to the deaths of 11,000 people since 1994. However, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol places the number of deaths between 1998 and 2016 at 6,915.

Now that the walls are built, CBP will start testing the structures.

Vitiello said no testing will occur for 30 days as they wait for concrete to set. Testing will take between 30 and 60 days. Vitiello wasn’t specific about how the walls will be tested and further requests for clarification from CBP went unanswered. According to the CBP website, the walls will be tested to make sure they cannot be breached, climbed or dug under while remaining safe for Border Patrol and denying unchecked access across the border.

Stay tuned as mitú continues to cover this story as it develops.


READ: MSNBC Was Reporting On the Border Wall Prototypes In San Diego When They Caught Migrants Crossing The Border

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Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Things That Matter

Joe Biden Promises To Fight For Dreamers If Elected In November

Biden For President / Flickr

An overwhelming majority of Americans support protecting Dreamers. Hundreds of thousands of young adults rely on the protection from deportation and work authorization to live with dignity and out of the shadows. Presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to make sure they stay protected.

Dreamers are looking to a Biden administration to finish what an Obama administration started.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

According to the official Biden campaign website, the presidential nominee will work with Congress to reinstate DACA protections and to create a pathway to citizenship. DACA was won by undocumented activists putting fear aside and publicly fought to change the minds of Americans and politicans.

“Undocumented ‘youth’ are no longer youth,” says Moises Serrano, DACA activist and the man profiled in the documentary “Forbidden.” “DACA recipients and undocumented immigrants have been living in fear and instability for decades now. We survived eight years under the Obama administration and four years under the Trump administration. Immigration reform was promised under the Obama-Biden platform; a promise that is still unfulfilled.”

He added: “We hope that President Biden puts an end to the instability in our lives once and for all, or we are ready to hold him accountable in the same way we held Obama accountable in our fight for Administrative Relief.”

Biden’s policy proposes protecting Dreamers and helping them advance in this country.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

Biden promises to reinstate DACA to protect Dreamers and will be looking into ways to protect their families. The policy put forth by a potential Biden administration is pivotal in giving those who are DACA recipients a chance to live without fear and with all of the rights as their fellow citizens.

“After living through a deep loss in 2016 after losing my second mother and only being granted access to be on her deathbed in Mexico through my ability to get advanced parole through DACA I learned that no loss would ever be greater than that,” said Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient, political operative and policy advocate. “However, November rolled around and another loss took place. One that impacted my life, that of my family and my community.”

DACA is a very important issue as hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are on the line.

Credit: Biden For President / Flickr

People like Nava are hopeful that a Biden administration will bring that dignity back to the immigrant community. It is a community that is vibrant and has contributed vastly to American culture. A BIden administration would be a chance for Nava to see herself reflected in government.

“I am hopeful to see the daughter of immigrants, a woman of color, and a woman I can finally feel represented by be sworn in as the first woman VP of this country,” Nava says. “I will look forward to an administration that listens to the communities it intends to represent. An administration that empowers the entire country to work with each other to support, strengthen, respect and uplift each other each and every day. An administration that values and is grateful for the contributions that immigrants bring to the foundation of our country each and every day.”

Nava wants to see an immigration reform that puts immigrant humanity at the forefront. One that understands the needs for people to seek refuge and a better life in a foreign country.

“No immigrant seeks to find a fix on a silver platter. Nor do they believe that this will be an easy task,” Nava says. “The only thing our families ask for is a chance. Una oportunidad para recordarle a este pais that their lucha and determination comes from a deep sense of ganas to create a life filled with more opportunities than they ever had.”

The battle over DACA is far from over but it is clear that the Trump administration is on the wrong side of public opinion. Biden’s plan would strengthen DACA and restore the program to its full functionality.

READ: Trump Administration Limit DACA Renewals, Blocks New Applications

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

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Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation: A Road Map To What’s At Stake For Women’s Health And Gay Rights

Photo by HILARY SWIFT/AFP via Getty Images

We are heading into day two of the confirmation hearings that will decide whether of not Amy Coney Barret will fill the vacant spot on the U.S. Supreme Court. The vacancy was left when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th.

The lead up to the hearings has been wrought with controversy, as it was Ginsburg’s dying wish that she wasn’t replaced until after the upcoming election. But President Trump and the rest of GOP hastily pushed through a nomination anyway.

Although Amy Coney Barret is a woman, the similarities between her and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg mostly end there. After her nomination, media outlets quickly discovered that Amy Coney Barret holds extremely conservative personal views–ones that may affect her future rulings. Here is what is at stake is Amy Coney Barret is confirmed:

What is at stake: A woman’s access to a legal, safe abortion.

Barret holds notoriously conservative views on abortion, which she has previously stated was “always immoral“. In 2006, she signed an advertisement that called Roe v. Wade a “barbaric legacy”. When she was a federal judge, and ruled in favor of further restricting access to abortion rules. Namely, she advocated for a parent to be informed if their minor child wanted to have an abortion.

Some critics of her nomination argue that her extreme devotion to the Catholic faith make her biased against more progressive issues. What Democrats and Pro-Choice groups both fear is that Barret might side with overturning Roe v. Wade, thus stifling abortion rights on a national level.

What is at stake: Access to affordable healthcare for everyone–including those with pre-existing conditions.

https://twitter.com/jesstrz/status/1316156997264441349?s=20

Considering the Affordable Care Act is on the dockets for Supreme Court review a week after election day, Americans who support the Affordable Care Act are worried that Barret will give conservatives the vote they need to cut the program.

Barret has dropped clues of her thoughts about healthcare in the past. In 2012, Barret signed a statement arguing that the Obamacare was “a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.” She has also previously argued that Chief Justice John Roberts loosely interpreted the law in order to keep the ACA intact.

What is at stake: Laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination.

During the ongoing confirmation hearing, Barret has already said that she “would never discriminate on the basis of sexual preference”. Critics quickly took issue with her word-choice, arguing that sexuality is not a “preference” but something one is born with.

Her record on LGBTQ+ issues isn’t exactly promising. In 2015, she signed a letter entitled “Letter to Synod Fathers from Catholic Women”. Part of the letter read: “We give witness that the Church’s teachings…on the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complementarity of men and women…and on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman provide a sure guide to the Christian life.”

She was also was a legal fellow at Alliance Defending Freedom–a group that notoriously opposes LGBTQ+ rights. She has since denied she knew of their homophobic stances.

Considering that a high profile case is on the docket that will decide whether churches can discriminate against gay, it is no wonder that gay rights activists are worried.

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