Things That Matter

Father And Daughter Celebrate Graduation Together On Bridge Between US And Mexico

Sarai Ruiz / Facebook

Graduation is already a super emotional time. It marks the completion of often years of hard work and dedication. It also reflects the commitment and support of friends and family.

And for the Latino community, it’s a powerful reminder of the sacrifices and dedication from your parents because so many times they worked so hard to give us a life better than the one they had.

For one Laredo, TX student, it was an extra emotional night.

Credit: @ABC7 / Twitter

Sarai Ruiz recently graduated from Hector J. Garcia Early College High School in Laredo, TX and got to celebrate among her mother and friends, but there was one very important person missing from the celebrations – her father.

She told NBC News, “As I looked over at my mom that day as my principal was speaking, I couldn’t help but to see other parents there for their kids, and it wasn’t just a mom. It was mom and dad, or mom and dad and grandma and grandpa. And it really did hit home for me. I knew that my dad couldn’t be there.”

Ruiz’s father, Esteban Ruiz, had been deported from the United States when she was just four years old.

Though she now lives with both of her parents in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Ruiz continued to attend school in the United States, which meant crossing the border bridge every day to get her education.

Since her father couldn’t attend her graduation ceremony, she wore her cap and gown to meet him on the border bridge.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Sarai met her father after on the Gateway to the Americas Bridge so he could see her in her graduation attire.

I gave him a hug and I just started to cry a lot,” she told NBC News. “It’s like I fulfilled the dreams of both my mom and dad to find better opportunities that they didn’t have.”

Ruiz shared a video of the moment on Facebook, which has since gone viral.

Credit: Sarai Ruiz / Facebook

It’s been viewed more than 3.4 million times since May 25, writing, “I knew my father would never see me walk to get my diploma but today I’d thought I’d surprise him by crossing the bridge so he could see me with my cap and gown.”

The journey to graduation has not been easy for Sarai.

Sarai was born in Wisconsin and spent the first seven years of her life there, first with her mami and papi, and later with just her mother after her father was deported.

She moved to Laredo, Texas with her mother when she was seven to be closer to her father, and later to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, so their whole family could be together.

Twitter lit up at news of the emotional story.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

People were thrilled for the young graduate and many were moved to tears by her story.

Others questioned how innocent families are suffering through these heartbreaking stories.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Some pointed out that stories like this will only become more common as the Trump administration continues its policies of keeping families apart.

Ruiz plans to continue her studies at the University of Texas at Austin this coming fall.

And she wants everyone to know that her story is not unique, that she is one of many similar stories out there.

New Report Confirms That Trump’s Border Wall Is Jeopardizing Native American History And Sensitive Environments

Things That Matter

New Report Confirms That Trump’s Border Wall Is Jeopardizing Native American History And Sensitive Environments

Agh! Every time we read or hear the words “Border Wall” our stomach ties up in a knot and we whisper “Y ahora qué se trae este pinche gringo?”. But well, being aware of the repercussions that the Border Wall could have is part of being socially and civically responsible. Being informed is what makes us make better choices when it comes to politics, and next year is a preeeeetty big year when it comes to deciding what the future holds not only for the United States, but for the world at large.  

The Trump Border Wall is just the “gift” that keeps on giving, isn’t it?

Credit: Giphy. @luisprado-0557

We have all discussed the impact that the proposed Border Wall (which seems very close to becoming a reality, particularly if Trump wants to secure a second term by appealing to his core voters) could have on social, cultural and political terms. We know that it will make an already tense border situation even worse, and that the US vs THEM mentality that some hold could get even uglier. This, of course, can lead to further instances if vitriolic racism and violence (vigilante groups will feel vindicated). But as the months go by and the Border Wall seems to become a reality, new findings are discovering its impact in other spheres… 

22 archeological sites in Arizona could be decimated by the Border Wall

Credit: Instagram. @aztassociation

The Border Wall will be constructed right through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. The National Park Service commissioned a report to assess the impact that the construction could have on 22 archeological sites in the Park. And the results are alarming. 

The Roosevelt Reservation would be particularly impacted.

Credit: Instagram. @
And the threat is imminent. Contractors have basically set shop and started to build fences around the place. The exact extent of the building plans have not been disclosed, not even to National Park authorities. As Andrew Veech, a member of the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region Archaeology Program, wrote in the report: “Precise design plans for this expanded border infrastructure have been left to the discretion of the contractors, and no details about the building project(s) have been furnished to the National Park Service”. This is just plain wrong, as any efforts to preempt potential problems are impossible. This area is tricky, as it is made up from federal, state, tribal, and private lands. 

The past is being erased.

Credit: Instagram. @pnolbert

The National Park holds invaluable archeological assets left behind by the original indigenous owners of the land. As the Tucson Sentinel reports: “One site located near the Sonoyta River includes artifacts scattered throughout, including dozens of stone artifacts, stone fragments, a “hammerstone,” pieces of broken pots known as sherds, as well as shells presumably from the Gulf of California that were probably used during the Hohokam Period, between 1150 to 1400″. Researchers are still putting the pieces together to unearth the particularities of the human groups that first inhabited what is now the United States-Mexico border, which is key for the identity of a cultural formation. Archeologists argue that these 22 sites yield important information about Native-American populations before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores. 

And the Border Wall will also have an environmental impact.

Credit: Instagram. @arizonasfamily

Geopolitical borders are a human construct, so flora and fauna don’t really care where a country starts and another ends. This is why the environmental impact of a monstrous Border Wall would be nothing short of apocalyptic for Arizonian environment and indigenous communities. As reported by The New York Times: “The unearthing of the area surrounding the barriers and the installation of lights on the wall will devastate wildlife and contaminate cultural lands”. The scenario is dire for animal and plant species in the area, as a former worker of the National Park told NYT: “‘The lights that will be installed on top of the wall, blasted into the wilderness, the ground water being sucked up — it’s more than just a border wall. All of these activities will just increase the desertification of the region”. Just look at the beauty of this landscape, the millenary cacti, the shrubs sucking up water to survive: are we really willing for it all to just become a wasteland?

Trump’s wall would also decimate indigenous populations in Arizona.

Credit: Instagram. @oodhampodcaster

Let us not forget that this area, as happens with long stretches of the border, has been home to Native-Americans for centuries. But their future is at stake. As The New York Times states: “The Organ Pipe Cactus Monument is sandwiched between the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Tohono O’odham Reservation. Leaders of the Tohono O’odham say the border wall would virtually split the indigenous community in half”. And really, is there anyone more American than the very first, original Americans?

Trump Visits California And Border Wall, His Infamous Sharpie Makes Another Appearance

Things That Matter

Trump Visits California And Border Wall, His Infamous Sharpie Makes Another Appearance

President Donald Trump Tours the Progress on the Border Wall in San Diego, CA / Youtube

Just like his democratic counterparts, Trump is making his way across the country trying to raise money for his 2020 reelection campaign. 

After leaving New Mexico (where he made an extremely awkward appeal to Hispanic voters), Trump headed for California to raise money at extremely secretive fundraisers. Now, deep blue California isn’t typically on Trump’s radar (unless it’s targeting state policies meant to aid migrants or clean up the environment) but he had no problem visiting the state to collect some coins and tour his vanity project — the border wall. So after visiting Silicone Valley and LA, Trump headed to San Diego. 

Trump was in San Diego to raise money and to visit the border wall for a photo op.

A presidential visit to San Diego would not be complete without a stop along the US-Mexico border and Trump did not disappoint as he traveled to Otay Mesa to view border fencing between the two countries.

Trump toured the border area of Otay Mesa after a fundraiser in San Diego and met with officials from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Defense. He referred to the barrier, which replaced much shorter panels originally installed in the 1990s, as nearly impenetrable.

“This wall can’t be climbed,” he said. “It’s designed to absorb heat…. You can fry an egg on that wall. It’s very, very hot. If you want to climb it, you’re going to have to bring hoses and water.”

Trump visited Otay Mesa last year to tour prototypes of his proposed border wall, and supporters and protesters turned out to greet him.

“This is top of the line,” Trump said of a fence being constructed to replace an older barrier along the border. 

According to Trump, San Diego was begging for the wall. “San Diego was, they were just thanking me for the wall we built in San Diego. It’s like, they said it’s a difference of day and night. They actually said it’s 100 percent. The only thing is, we have to now expand it out,” he said.

And if Trump’s visit to the border couldn’t get more ridiculous, he actually signed the wall. 

People, this is not a drill. The President of the United States is literally taking sharpies to government property. Once a classless reality TV show host…always a classless reality TV show host. 

But let’s not forget, Trump’s claim that the border wall is new is a complete lie. 

Trump is using this San Diego border wall visit purely as a photo op. He knows that the border wall is one of his signature campaign issues and one that his core supporters want to see completed. 

So even though, according to his own government, zero miles of new border wall has actually been built, Trump is trying to hard to spin the truth. In fact, an NBC News report fact-checked Trump’s claim, reporting that while “the U.S. has replaced or reinforced 66 miles of fencing, including 9 miles of new secondary fencing,” the Trump administration “has yet to extend the border wall,” as suggested by Fox.

Additional reporting from The Washington Post on September 6 also fact-checked a September 4 claim by Trump that “the wall is being built. It’s going up rapidly. … We’re building very large sections of wall.” According to the Post, “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed just about 60 miles of ‘replacement’ barrier during the first 2½ years of Trump’s presidency, all of it in areas that previously had border infrastructure.” 

Of course where Trump goes, protesters follow. 

And it was no different in San Diego. From the moment he arrives, protesters were ready to go with the now ubiquitous Trump Baby balloon. 

Protesters with the Backbone campaign gathered at Horton Plaza Park ahead of the president’s expected appearance at a campaign fundraiser at the US Grant hotel, located a short distance away from the park.

San Diegans weren’t having any of Trump’s visit.

Can’t say I disagree. I felt the same when he was in LA.

While some on Twitter called him out for the continued lie about San Diego’s border wall. 

Much like the NBC and Post reports, this San Diegan seems to confirm that Trump is indeed lying about progress on the border wall. 

His visit to the wall comes a day after he was in LA and San Francisco to raise money for his 2020 re-election campaign. 

Trump headlined a Beverly Hills fundraiser Tuesday night that was also shrouded in secrecy. The dinner was the second stop of a two-day swing through California that is expected to raise more than $15 million for the president’s reelection campaign.

He also used his trip to criticize the homelessness problem in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two strongly Democratic cities. But has offered up little in policy ideas or suggestions on how to address the situation.

“We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening,” he told reporters on Air Force One on Tuesday, suggesting that the issue had dented those cities’ reputations.