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.

Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

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Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

icegov / Instagram

As our country protests what is happening on the southern border–children in cages without enough food, water or even a bed to sleep on, separated from their family–fear of ICE reaches nationwide. In a Vermont town, undocumented immigrants and allies rallied outside Burlington Church on July 2nd, demanding an end to those very child internment camps. While showing solidarity for migrants at the border, they took the opportunity to speak up for the undocumented members of their community recently arrested while shopping at Walmart.

Three Vermont dairy workers were arrested within a single month. All arrests were made while grocery shopping at Walmart.

Undocumented organizer, Zully Palacios carried a sign with all three of their faces.

Credit: @farmworkerjustice / Twitter

Palacios herself is risking her status by speaking out, and still, she is a spokesperson for Migrant Justice. She told Vermont’s Seven Days, “As we read about what’s happening on the southern border, we must not forget what’s happening here, on the northern border.”

Federal data proves that ICE arrests have escalated under Trump’s administration.

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“These three members of our community were going about their lives, fulfilling their daily needs, shopping for food, sending money to their families in Mexico,” she told the outlet. “For that, they were detained and now find themselves behind bars.”

Ismael Mendez-Lopez, Mario Diaz-Aguilar, and Ubertoni Aguilar-Montero were stopped in the parking lot.

Credit: @TheBaxterBean / Twitter

The three went to Walmart both to buy groceries and to wire money to their families back in Mexico. Before they did that, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in an unmarked car stopped them in the parking lot. They spoke briefly and went on their way. The agent followed them. After they finished shopping at Walmart, they were arrested for not having paperwork on them. 

They’re currently being held in a New Hampshire county jail pending ICE deportation proceedings.

Credit: @Articleableinfo / Twitter

A spokesperson for Border Patrol confirmed that they were arrested “based on the information from a concerned citizen.” This was the same reason for seven undocumented farmworker arrests outside that same Walmart Supercenter since February 2018. Matt Cameron, an immigration attorney, believes that these “concerned citizens” are actually informants.

Migrant workers in Vermont are struggling to feed themselves for fear of arrest.

Credit: walmart / Instagram

A newly published research study shows that each ICE raid or arrest creates an environment of fear that tangibly affects the rest of the roughly 1,500 migrant farmworkers in Vermont. They’re afraid that every trip to go get groceries might be one they never come home from.

All it takes is one racist shopper calling ICE because they saw a brown person.

Credit: icegov / Instagram

Just like how all it took was one customer complaint to report to Dunkin’ Donuts that they suspect undocumented workers. Now, Dunkin’ is suing its own franchise owners in a massive company crackdown on hiring undocumented workers.

Trump has confirmed that ICE raids will result in thousands of arrests Sunday.

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Roberto Suro, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California suspects that, while Sunday will deport .2 percent of those with deportation orders, the true attack is “purely psychological.” He told the Los Angeles Times, “This is yet one more example of how the Trump administration is trying to use fear as an instrument of immigration control. It generates a lot of fear and anxiety but not a lot of control. This has nothing to do with actual enforcement.”

The ICE raids are designed to cause fear for immigrants and to appease Trump’s right-wing base.

Credit: realdonaldtrump / Instagram

After news surfaced that a raid was on its way, Trump revealed to reporters on Friday that it would be a “major operation.” “One audience is supposed to feel like something is happening,” Suro said, “and the other is supposed to be scared to death.”

Since then, immigrants across the country have called out of work, further destabilizing the community.

Credit: @CosechaMovement / Twitter

Activist tip hotlines have received an influx of calls, and an advocacy group in New York has already submitted a preemptive lawsuit. The more fear he creates, the more satisfied his base will be after his failure to deliver “The Wall.”

READ: If ICE Raids Dairy Farms, It Could Make Your Gallon Of Milk $8

The Trump Administration Is Targeting Thousands Of People This Sunday In Immigration Raids

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The Trump Administration Is Targeting Thousands Of People This Sunday In Immigration Raids

icegov / Instagram

Since mid-June, President Donald Trump has threatened that mass raids by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be taking place nationwide. He said the raids would take place in 10 major cities, which included Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Chicago.  He delayed those raids for two weeks and said that if the Democrats couldn’t fix the asylum laws that he would go forward. After the initial threat, people on social media were on high alert using the hashtags #ProtectOurCommunities, #ProtectMyNeighbor, and #AbolishICE. It looks like people will have to rev up those hashtags again because Trump has issued a new threat against undocumented immigrants.

ICE raids against undocumented people are supposed to take place starting this Sunday.

Credit: @mkcheok / Twitter

A New York Times report states that “two current and one former homeland security officials” said raids would be happening on Sunday and that the immigration officials already had the deportation orders for 2,000 immigrants. It’s unclear what cities ICE would target, but the article stated that ten significant cities would be on their list, which indicates that aside from Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, other cities including Houston, San Francisco, and New York could also be included. Most of those cities are Sanctuary Cities, which intends to protect undocumented people.

Furthermore, undocumented immigrants that are “on the scene” while others are being detained will also get detained even if there isn’t an order for their deportation.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

The article goes on to say that ICE will go to great length to arrest as many people as they can by detaining others who happened to be around while people are being detained, that includes children. They also report that when families get arrested as a unit, they may get taken to a hotel because of crowding issues at detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania. They will be held in a hotel room until their travel arrangements are made to either go a detention center or possibly be deported to their native country.

While the report does not include confirmation from ICE officials, CNN reports that acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli said the raids are indeed happening.

“They’re absolutely going to happen,” he said during a press conference. There are approximately a million people in this country with removal orders. And of course that isn’t what ICE will go after in this, but that’s the pool of people who have been all the way through the due process chain.”

There’s one city that won’t be a target, and that’s New Orleans because the state is under a state of emergency due to tropical storm Barry.

“The City of NOLA has confirmed with ICE in NOLA that immigration enforcement will be temporarily suspended through the weekend in the Barry impacted areas of Louisiana & Mississippi,” the city tweeted. “Make all storm preparations to stay safe regardless of your immigration status.”

People on social media, including several politicians, are once again campaigning efforts to help undocumented immigrants stay safe during this terrifying time of uncertainty.

Credit: @UNITEDWEDREAM / Twitter

United We Dream ‏ tweeted, “Together, we can fight back against #ICEraids, white supremacy, and scare tactics from a monstrous government. We have tools. We have power. We have community. Please share these resources widely.”

Local police in some of these cities also informed the public, via social media that they would not be assisting ICE in giving them any kind of information. The New York Police Department said that they don’t “ask about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or other people who ask for help.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also assured undocumented people that if ICE “comes knocking, you do NOT have to open your door unless there is a signed judicial warrant.”

Trump has not commented on the raids that are scheduled to begin Sunday.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has provided a handy sheet for undocumented immigrants in the case that ICE comes to their home.

Credit: @RyanValencia / Twitter
  • You have the right to remain silent and do not have to discuss your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents, or other officials. Anything you tell an officer can later be used against you in immigration court.
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you.
  • If an immigration agent asks if they can search you, you have the right to say no. Agents do not have the right to search you or your belongings without your consent or probable cause.
  • If you’re over 18, carry your papers with you at all times. If you don’t have them, tell the officer that you want to remain silent, or that you want to consult a lawyer before answering any questions.

For more information about your rights, click here.

READ: ICE Raids Ordered To Begin On Sunday In Major Cities

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