Things That Matter

Couple Livestream High-Speed Chase After Trying To Smuggle Group Of Undocumented Men

There are organizations throughout the country that serve the undocumented community. In fact, there are some organizations based around the border that are there specifically to help undocumented people as they make their way across the tough terrain. Those groups such as No More Deaths assist by making the journey not as painful or draining by leaving food and water. They certainly don’t drive them across the border. That kind of job is typically done by coyotes — people who get paid to smuggle undocumented people across the border. All of these people are in danger of getting arrested and have been arrested for doing this kind of work. This latest story, however, is unlike anything we have ever seen. 

Last week, in Laredo, Texas, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrested two people after they led police on a high-speed chase while they were transporting a group of undocumented men — and they documented the whole thing via Facebook Live.

Credit: CAMERA PHOBIA / YouTube

Alejandro Vela, 22, and Karyme Espinoza, 19, from Texas, captured their high-speed chase on Facebook Live as they drove trying to evade police while driving with a group of undocumented men in the back of their 2010 Mercedes Benz. 

Vela was driving the car and Espinoza was recording on Facebook Live. She didn’t look stressed about the situation and actually didn’t seem bothered at all that the police were chasing them. In fact, she seemed to be happy about it.

Credit: CAMERA PHOBIA / YouTube

“Hey, I’m live on Facebook,” Espinoza said jokingly. “I need you to do me a favor without telling anybody,” she said. “Immigration is on my ass because I have ten guys with me.” She added “we are currently going 160 (mph),” she said. The male is then heard talking to someone on the phone. He tells them if they can open the gate and then close it behind them so they “lose them.” 

According to the New York Post, when the CBP eventually caught up with them the driver and passenger fled by foot again. They were caught in the end and arrested. 

Credit: @aintnobarbie / Twitter

The News & Observer report that Vela (the driver) was charged with “evading arrest, unlawful transport of a person and reckless driving.” The female (the passenger) “was charged with unlawful transport of a person and evading arrest on foot.”

 “This is one of the first times I do see one of the persons actually engaged in the crime actually live-streaming it,”  Texas Department of Public Safety’s Sergeant Eric Estrada said in an interview with KGNS News. “We would never think that someone would want to incriminate themselves by live-streaming the crime they are actually committing.”

Here’s the entire 10-minute video, but you may need a barf bag because you will get dizzy.

This almost looks as if it could be the plot of the movie. But we can’t help but feel bad for the undocumented people in their car. Crossing the border illegally is always a risk, but entrusting people who are willfully behaving erratically. 

This week as well, another couple was arrested for smuggling undocumented people in San Diego. That couple also led the CBP in a high-speed chase.

Credit: Unsplash

In this case, the 30-year-old driver and his 34-year-old female front passenger attempted to smuggle a large group of undocumented people and also had some in the trunk. 

According to the CBP, they suspected the couple had undocumented people in their car after they saw several people going into their car and then headed westbound towards Chula Vista. 

The CBP report that “agents turned on their emergency lights and siren to initiate a vehicle stop. The driver refused to stop and fled at a high rate of speed into a neighborhood near Proctor Valley Road.”

CBP verified they were going extremely fast. “Before agents could approach the vehicle, the driver sped off to State Highway 125, at times going in excess of 100 miles per hour,” they reported. “He continued northbound, exited, then drove westbound on Jamacha Road. The driver continued to drive erratically and, at one point, tried to run an agent’s vehicle off the road. The chase came to an end at Darby Street in Spring Valley, when the driver crashed into a parked car.”

“This is another example of the dangerous acts human smugglers perform every day for financial gain and how they show no regard for the lives of those involved,” Chief Patrol Agent Douglas E. Harrison said in a press release. “Fortunately, this chase came to a safe conclusion and ended with the driver and co-principal in custody.”

READ: A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution

Nonprofit United We Dream Is Crowdsourcing Immigrant Recipes For A Fundraising Cookbook

Culture

Nonprofit United We Dream Is Crowdsourcing Immigrant Recipes For A Fundraising Cookbook

unitedwedream / Instagram

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, people have spent a lot of time in their kitchens cooking food to bring them comfort. One unique thing about the self-isolation is that people are having to figure out how to make things stretch or substitute some of your usual ingredients. United We Dream wants to make sure they can do something good with all of the recipes we have created.

United We Dream wants to use your recipes to create some good.

According to an Instagram post, United We Dream is putting together an undocumented cookbook. In the spirit of sharing recipes and cultural moments, United We Dream is asking for people to submit their recipes.

“At United We Dream we believe in the power of art and culture to change hearts and minds and June is the perfect time to tap into our cultural creativity,” reads the United We Dream website. “On Immigrant Heritage Month, we want to celebrate our community through a joyous art form that every household does: cooking!”

The money is going to be used to help the undocumented and immigrant communities.

Credit: unitedwedream / Instagram

According to Remezcla, 100 percent of profits from the book will go to the organization’s National UndocuFunds. United We Dream launched the National UndocuFund to deliver financial assistance to undocumented people struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely that the fund will need to do some extra lifting to help communities recovering from recent looting and rioting that has rocked the U.S. in recent days.

“We know that nothing brings people together quite like food,” reads the United We Dream website. “The dishes that immigrants create, no matter how simple or complex, allow people to experience cultures other than one’s own and all the joys and pleasures that come with it.”

The cookbook is already getting people excited.

Credit: unitedwedream / Instagram

There is something to be said about people getting creative in the kitchen during this pandemic. Outings are limited because we are all staying home to slow the spread. There are also people who are still not at work. That is why we have had to get creative to make our food last.

“Today, times are tough because of COVID-19, but many working-class and poor households are embracing their creativity to create meals that both sustain their households and bring a moment of peace and comfort,” reads the United We Dream website. “We want to create a cookbook that reflects our diverse community and inspires memories of joy, comfort and togetherness!”

United We Dream understands the power of food.

Food is a unifier. Everyone eats and food is one way to connect with your culture. It is also a wonderful way to share your culture with other people. Sharing your food and culture with people is a special way to let your friends into your life.

The organization is still taking recipe suggestions. If you want a chance to give more people a look into who you are and your culture through food, click here to share a recipe.

READ: Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Things That Matter

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Carlos Ebert / Flickr / Unsplash

Undocumented people are being left out of relief funds provided by the U.S. government. A lack of a Social Security number is why so many people have been denied relief assistance as the country grapples with an evergrowing number of COVID-19 cases. Organizations and states are stepping up to bridge that gap and give undocumented people a chance to make it through this crisis.

The Village Exchange Center in northern Aurora, Colorado is raising money to help undocumented families in Colorado.

The U.S. Congress passed an initial relief package of $2.2 trillion that came with $1,200 checks for all eligible Americans. One community left out is the undocumented community because they do not have Social Security numbers. This leaves millions of peoples without any financial safety net exacerbating the problems imposed by this pandemic.

The Village Exchange Center has sent 250 undocumented residents $1,000 checks.

According to Sentinel, the Village Exchange Center teamed received funds from the Denver Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation in Glendale, a third anonymous donor, and 30 individual donors. The $250,000 was already dispatched to the recipients chosen by the Village Exchange Center through money transfers or checks, depending on whether or not the recipient had a bank account.

This was the Village Exchange Center’s first round of COVID-19 relief payments to Colorado’s undocumented community.

The organization chose those who would receive the payments based on those who were laid off from jobs at restaurants, hotels, and other service industry jobs.

“They have no access to unemployment, they will not be getting a stimulus check or any other form of assistance, even though most of them pay taxes,” Mark Newhouse, a trustee at the Denver Foundation, told Sentinel. which helped build the fund. “And so, we quickly raised a quarter of a million dollars to run a pilot across the state.”

The organization is basing its work on the actions of California.

On April 15, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state fund created to offer undocumented people relief funds. Gov. Newsom allocated $75 million in taxpayer money to give to undocumented people living in California. There are an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants who live in California. Undocumented people contribute more than $10 billion in taxes to the federal government when they file each year. Gov. Newsom’s administration has been sending undocumented people $500 checks to help ease their COVID-19 economic impact.

“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportations that are still addressing essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” Gov. Newsom said according to The Associated Press. The governor continued by acknowledging that 10 percent of California’s workforce is undocumented. Gov. Newsom also highlighted that undocumented workers in California paid $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year.

The Village Exchange Center is currently raising more money to offer to more undocumented people living in Colorado.

The first round of money was already distributed but the application for the next round of money will be available when the funds are secured. According to Sentinel, there were 180,000 undocumented people who lived in Colorado. The Village Exchange Center’s goal is to raise enough money to give each undocumented people in Colorado a $1,000 check to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ: