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

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Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

Entertainment

Report Shows That Immigration Narratives On TV Are Latinx-Focused And Over-Emphasize Crime

The media advocacy group Define American recently released a study that focused on the way immigrant characters are depicted on television. The second-annual study is entitled “Change the Narrative, Change the World”.

Although the study reports progress in some areas of onscreen representation, there is still a long way to go.

For example, the study reported that half of the immigrant characters depicted on television are Latino, which is consistent with reality. What is not consistent with reality, however, is how crime-related storylines are still an overrepresented theme in these storylines.

The study shows that on television 22% of immigrant characters have crime storylines show up as part of their narratives. These types of storylines further pedal the false narrative that immigrants are criminals, when in reality, they’re just everyday people who are trying to lives their best lives. Ironically, this statistic is an improvement on the previous year’s statistics in which crime themes made up 34% of immigrants’ stories on TV.

These numbers are further proof that the media feels stories of Latino immigration have to be about sadness and hardship in order to be worth watching.

According to Define American’s website, their organization believes that “powerful storytelling is the catalyst that can reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.”

They believe that changing the narratives depicted in entertainment media can “reshape our country’s immigration narrative and generate significant cultural change.” 

“We wanted to determine if seeing the specific immigration storylines influenced [viewers’] attitudes, behavior, or knowledge in the real world,” said Sarah Lowe, the associate director of research and impact at Define American to Variety. “And we were reassured and inspired to see the impact it had.” 

Define American’s founder, Jose Antonio Vargas, is relatively optimistic about the study’s outcomes, saying that the report has “some promising findings” and the numbers “provide [him] with hope”. He added that there are still “many areas in which immigrant representation can improve”.

via Getty Images

Namely, Vargas was disappointed in television’s failure to take an intersectional approach to immigration in regards to undocumented Black immigrants. 

“Black undocumented immigrants are detained and deported at higher rates than other ethnic groups,” Vargas told Variety. “But their stories are largely left off-screen and left out of the larger narrative around immigration.” 

“Change the Narrative, Change the World” also showed that Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants are also under-represented on television compared with reality. Also worth noting, male immigrants were over-represented on television compared to reality, while immigrants with disabilities were also under-represented.

The study also showed that when viewers are exposed to TV storylines that humanize immigrants, they’re more likely to take action on immigration issues themselves. 

The effect that fictional entertainment narratives have on viewers further proves that representation does, indeed, matter. What we watch as entertainment changes the way we think about other people’s lived experiences. And that, in turn, can change the world.

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A Group Of TPS Beneficiaries Are Touring The Country In A Bus To Save The Crucial Immigration Program

Things That Matter

A Group Of TPS Beneficiaries Are Touring The Country In A Bus To Save The Crucial Immigration Program

tps_alliance / Instagram

Updated September 23, 2020

A coalition of people is coming together to stand up for Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries. Federal judges recently gave the Trump administration the approval to end the status for 300,000 people in the U.S.

A group of Temporary Protect Status holders is on a road trip to save the program for 300,000 people.

The National TPS Alliance is driving across the country to engage voters about the need to protect the program. The “Road to Justice” road tour started in Los Angeles and will be stopping in 54 cities in 32 states. The tour ends in Washington, D.C. where the TPS holders will petition Congress directly to save the program.

The program was started in 1990 and offers safe refuge for people who’s countries have experienced disaster, civil unrest, or other extraordinary circumstances. Some people who have been granted TPS in the U.S. include Central Americans after Hurricane Mitch, the second-largest hurricane in the Atlantic, devastated large swaths of the region in 1998. Haitians were also given TPS after the earthquake that devastated Port Au Prince in 2010.

The organization is hoping to engage voters and get them to care about the immigration crisis facing the nation. Activists have already praised the group and pledged to support their cause at the ballot box.

“We are going to vote for justice, for the TPS community,” Angélica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told NBC News. “President (Trump) and his administration are racist and do not care about the damage they are causing to our community.”

Original: A federal court just handed a huge ‘victory’ to the Trump administration, which has been eager to restart mass deportations. Despite a global health pandemic, the administration has been pressing forward with plans to deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.

Until now, many of these migrants were safe from deportation thanks to Temporary Protected Status, which shields some immigrants from deportation under humanitarian claims. However, the recent court decision – in San Francisco’s 9th Circuit – gives Trump exactly what he wants right before the elections.

But how will it affect immigrant communities across the country? Here’s everything you need to know about this major decision.

The 9th Circuit Court just ended TPS for more than 300,000 undocumented immigrants.

A California appeals court on Monday gave the Trump Administration permission to end Temporary Protected Status for immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan, clearing the way for officials to force more than 300,000 immigrants out of the country.

The decision affects people from all walks of life, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, have U.S.-born children and have been considered essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

This week’s ruling from the circuit court comes after a district court (also in California) temporarily halted Trump’s plan to end TPS in late 2018 after a group of lawyers sued, arguing that Trump was motivated by racial discrimination.

“The president’s vile statements about TPS holders made perfectly clear that his administration acted out of racial animus,”Ahilan Arulanantham, a lawyer for the ACLU of Southern California, wrote in a statement. “The Constitution does not permit policy to be driven by racism. We will seek further review of the court’s decision.”

But today’s 2-1 decision reversed the district court’s temporary order and allowed the federal government to take away TPS protections while the court case continues.

ICE and DHS has promised to wait several months before taking away TPS status if the agency won in court. As a result, the ACLU told NPR that it expects the protections to start ending no sooner than March, meaning that Joe Biden could reverse the administration’s decision if he wins in November, though the organization plans to fight back in the meantime.

Temporary Protected Status was created to protect people in the U.S. from being sent back to dangerous places – and it’s saved lives.

Credit: Daniel Ortega / Getty Images

The TPS program was first introduced in 1990, and it has protected immigrants from more than 20 countries at various points since then. More than 300,000 people from 10 different nations currently use the program, some of whom have lived and worked in the United States for decades.

Trump has sharply criticized the program, sometimes along racial lines, and in one infamous and widely criticized incident two years ago, the president reportedly referred to the program’s beneficiaries as “people from shithole countries.”

TPS provides protection for short periods of up to 18 months, but the federal government has continuously extended it for the countries mentioned in the lawsuit “based on repeated findings that it remains unsafe to return.” 

As a result, it said, most TPS holders have been living in the U.S. for more than a decade, contributing to their communities and raising their families. Many of the more than 200,000 U.S.-citizen children of TPS holders have never been to the country their parents are from and would have to choose between their families and their homes.

The ruling will have a major impact on migrant families and communities across the U.S.

Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Immigration advocacy groups are slamming the court’s ruling, noting it will impact hundreds of thousands of TPS holders as well as their families and communities. In a statement, Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, said the decision will “plunge their lives into further turmoil at a time when we all need greater certainty.” 

As the global pandemic stretches on, immigrants with protected status make up a large portion of the country’s front-line workers. More than 130,000 TPS recipients are essential workers, according to the Center for American Progress. 

“TPS recipients have deep economic and social roots in communities across the nation,” said Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “And, as the U.S. responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, TPS recipients are standing shoulder to shoulder with Americans and doing essential work.”

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