Things That Matter

This Salvadoran Father Of Two Was Deported Early In The Trump Administration And Has Been Allowed Back To The US

AP Photo/Nomaan Merchant

Recently, we have been hearing of story after story of families ripped apart by inhumane immigration policies.

And for one Houston father, that’s exactly what happened. He was detained and deported to his native El Salvador after living in the US most of his life. But thankfully, this story has a happy ending as he’s now been allowed to return to the US to live with his family.

A Houston father of two American born kids was deported to El Salvador but now he’s back in the US with his family.

Credit: @AP / Twitter

A 33-year-old father of two American-born children was allowed to return to the US on Monday, two years after being deported to El Salvador during the first months of the Trump administration.

Jose Escobar was welcomed at Houston Intercontinental Airport by a group of supporters. He was accompanied by his wife, Rose, and their two children, Walter and Carmen, who had flown to El Salvador in June to visit him.

They were all together in El Salvador when they got word that US immigration authorities had approved waivers that would let him return to the US.

Watch the emotional moment here:

The Houston-based advocacy group FIEL contacted local attorney Raed González, who took up Escobar’s case. He filed paperwork with U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services requesting waivers that would allow Escobar to return to the U.S., citing the hardship his deportation had placed on Rose.

Those waivers were granted last month.

He had been forced to help his wife parent their children via Facebook.

Credit: @Realtor336502 / Twitter

He had video calls with his family at night, but he was often scared and worried about leaving the family home, as the gangs roaming the streets were known to target people who had come back from America and once held him up. He would watch the video from his home’s security cameras remotely.

His children, meanwhile, struggled with the pain of losing their father. And with Jose having trouble making money in El Salvador, Rose Escobar supported the family on her own as a hospital receptionist and relied on savings that were quickly dwindling.

Escobar originally came to the US as a teenager with Temporary Protected Status after the 2001 El Salvador earthquake.

Credit: TemblorNet / Flickr

El Salvador suffered a devastating earthquake on January 13, 2001, and experienced two more earthquakes on February 13 and 17, 2001.

In the aftermath, to help support refugees fleeing the country, the US granted Temporary Protected Status to El Salvador. This meant they could come to the US without the risk of deportation.

Then, under the Obama administration, he was arrested and detained for several months.

After an intense lobbying campaign, the local field office director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released Escobar in January 2012 “so he could get his affairs in order,” the agency said last year.

In February 2017, shortly after Trump took office and widened the priorities for detaining and deporting immigrants without authorization, Escobar was arrested during what was supposed to be a routine ICE check-in.

The next month, he was deported to El Salvador. He called his wife from the San Salvador airport to tell her what had happened.

Escobar moved to a town that’s about three hours from San Salvador, living with relatives and working intermittently as a laborer.

But now the family is living together reunited in their home of Houston.

Credit: @ChronFalkenberg / Twitter

On Monday, Escobar arrived with this lawyer who flew with him from El Salvador because he said he didn’t want anything at the last minute to go wrong. Escobar’s wife and children, his lawyer and other supporters held balloons shaped like butterflies, a symbol, they said, of migration.

Rose Escobar told other families with deported relatives to use their voice and urged lawmakers to listen.

“We need you to be the voices for other Escobars, children who need their daddy, children who need their mommy,” she told the Houston Chronicle.

As the weeks turned into months, then years, she said friends and strangers gently urged her to think of moving on. To forget.

She added: “People kept saying, ‘It’s taking so long, you should just give up,’” she said. “I would always say, ‘He’s coming home. Soon, in God’s time.’”

READ: He Has Been Deported Twice And Is Now Fighting His Third Deportation To Stay With His Sick Child

With Reports Of Trump Employing Undocumented Workers, CBP Was Asked Why Trump’s Properties Have Not Been Raided

Things That Matter

With Reports Of Trump Employing Undocumented Workers, CBP Was Asked Why Trump’s Properties Have Not Been Raided

As president, Donald Trump’s platform has centered on anti-immigrant policies; however, as a real estate tycoon, his businesses have thrived on the labor of undocumented workers. With Immigration and Customs Enforcement carrying out massive raids across the country, some media are asking why the agency hasn’t busted any of Trump’s properties, despite its striking record of making unauthorized hires.

To be clear, outlets aren’t calling for more raids of undocumented workers but rather spotlighting the hypocrisy of a president who monetarily benefits from the very labor his administration controversially and violently resolves to stamp out.

When asked about Trump’s businesses seeming to be immune from investigation, CBP has remained silent on the issue.

During CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, host Jake Tapper asked acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan why ICE, which Morgan headed until last month, hadn’t conducted any raids or investigations into Trump’s clubs and hotels given multiple reports that the properties employ undocumented people.

“You really can’t say that for sure,” Morgan said, evading questions about the validity of the claims made against Trump’s businesses. “There are investigations going on all the time that you’re unaware of. … Of course, it’s going to jeopardize the investigation if I come on here and I talk to you about an investigation that’s going on.”

According to undocumented workers who have been employed by Trump, the president was aware of their immigration status.

Since 2015, when Trump announced his bid for presidency, journalists have reported on the mendacity of a then-candidate calling the people who built his real estate empire “rapists” and “drug-runners.” Since taking office, more news has circulated on the president’s use of undocumented immigrant labor. 

Last December, the New York Times interviewed undocumented housekeeper Victorina Morales, who had been working at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. In the article, the Guatemalan woman disclosed that employers were aware of her immigration status when she was hired in 2013 and instructed her to use phony papers in an effort to swindle the system.

The news was particularly damning at the time as the president was calling for the expansion of E-Verify, an online tool by the federal government that checks whether employees are legally eligible to work. According to a later report by the Washington Postnot only were several of his properties not using the tool but they were also informing people on how to illegally fake documents to get hired.

In May, CNN spoke with 19 undocumented immigrants who previously worked for Trump and noted that the president was undoubtedly aware of their status and employment.

“Some of these employees were the most-trusted employees of the Trump family. They’ve been working there for 10, 15 years,” Anibal Romero, a lawyer representing 38 immigrants who were undocumented while working at the Trump property, said during the segment. “Some of my clients had the keys to Eric Trump’s house in Westchester, New York.”

More recently, the Washington Post reported that many construction crews at Trump properties were made up of undocumented workers. The news came not long after Eric Trump announced that the company was making a “broad effort” to fire unauthorized workers. In the article, one employee noted that his supervisor also told him how to buy fake paperwork on a street corner in New York.

The reason why businessman Trump participates in the “immigration problem” he rails against as president is simple: it gives his company a competitive advantage.

Not only are undocumented laborers paid less but they are also less likely to quit due to limited employment opportunities and not as likely to complain if they are being mistreated, as many are.

With evidence that employers are oftentimes very aware of the immigration status of their undocumented laborers, Tapper asked Morgan why companies who hire unauthorized workers are not punished along with the workers themselves. According to a Syracuse University report that the host cited, only 11 people and no companies were prosecuted for employing undocumented workers between the spring of 2018 and 2019. During the same time, 85,727 people were prosecuted for entering the US illegally.

Morgan responded that an investigation into at least one of the businesses that employs undocumented workers is ongoing.

The interview came days after ICE raided a Mississippi chicken processing plant. The massive bust, which arrested 680 people suspected of being undocumented workers and ripped apart hundreds of families, was the largest worksite takedown in US history. No employers have currently been arrested.

Read: Customs And Border Protections Chief Mark Morgan Defended The Mississippi Raids Despite Children Left Without Parents

Central Americans Flee Their Countries Because Of Violence But Also Because They Have No Water

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Central Americans Flee Their Countries Because Of Violence But Also Because They Have No Water

The migration from Central America to the North isn’t as simple as people seeking out the American Dream. That is a beautiful fantasy, after all, but it’s not the whole truth. The reason people from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are leaving their country is because of the violence, and it’s also about so much more. It’s a matter of life and death. While murderers are responsible for countless senseless deaths, others are fleeing because of limited resources, and lack of necessary essentials.

Some Salvadorans, especially from poor communities, are fleeing their country because there’s a significant water shortage.

Credit: @m_painter / Twitter

The water crisis in El Salvador isn’t something that just happened overnight. Researchers and organizations have been warning about this catastrophe in El Salvador for decades. The Salvadoran Humanitarian Aid, Research and Education Foundation (SHARE) group documented back in 2007 that impoverished communities demanded water rights in their areas. Most, if not all, of the main water, was going to private companies and being used by the top of society. The most impoverished people in El Salvador, which is a significant group, were being left with nothing. Now, a new study shows that there’s a deadline to the last drop. 

New research shows that the entire country of El Salvador will be unhabitable in 80 years if the water crisis is not rectified.

Credit: @nicadispatch / Twitter

The Defensa de Los Derechos Humanos (PDDH) released a study that showed the dire numbers which led to the government of El Salvador to declare a national emergency.    

“According to the scientific analyzes carried out by different international organizations and analyzed in the present study, if we continue in this logic of deterioration, degradation of water goods in El Salvador, in 80 years life will be unfeasible in the country,” David Morales, head of the PDDH, said, according to EFE. 

The water crisis seems to be the result of two factors: climate change and the privatization of water. 

Credit: @brockaletti / Twitter

The National Geographic reports that after two major natural disasters, El Salvador struggled to recover. In 2014, the country suffered an exceptional drought which left “96,000 Salvadoran families without adequate food,” and millions more going hungry. The following year, El Niño brought even more dry weather. 

“If we want to confront climate change, we first need to have strong governance,” Helga Cuéllar-Marchelli, director of the department of social studies at the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) told the National Geographic. “We need a joint effort from the central government, municipal governments, civil society, [and] the business sector. If there is no legal framework, it will be very difficult to coordinate efforts.”

The water crisis is forcing members of poor communities to walk for miles to get water from wells only to find there might not be any there for them.

Credit: @ProfRPalacios / Twitter

The “natural” water that is available for poor people isn’t safe to use because it’s contaminated, but because they have no other choice, they use it anyway. 

The publication reports that sewer water that carries intense contamination levels goes straight into natural water, including streams and rivers. It is this water that people use to drink, wash their clothes and bathe. More than 90 percent of this natural water is toxic, and an estimated 6.4 million people are using this contaminated water. 

Early this year, people from El Salvador marched for water rights and people on social media used the hashtag #NoAlaPrivatizacionDelAgua.

Credit: @danalvarenga / Twitter

The protest, led by students, feminists, and advocates of water rights, were also met with pushback from police forces. 

The World Bank reports that local farmers and people trying to survive with their own crops are the ones that are facing this major crisis. Salvadorans aren’t the only ones affected either, but neighboring countries as well. 

“More than half a million families are suffering from what experts call ‘food insecurity,’ – in other words, the lack of food – due to agricultural and livestock losses. According to estimates by Central American governments, Oxfam and other international aid agencies, 236,000 families in Guatemala, 120,000 in Honduras, 100,000 in Nicaragua and 96,000 in El Salvador are already facing this situation.”

Jess Ofelia Alvarenga, an independent reporter, documented how her family, is dealing with the water crisis in El Salvador.

This summer she filmed the struggle her uncle faces with the lack of water. She says he can no longer harvest rice or watermelons. It is this lack of water that is forcing thousands to move to El Salvador’s metropolitan areas, which already has a scarcity of water for the low-income, or flee the country altogether. 

READ: El Salvador’s New President Represents A Change In The Country’s Political System

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