Every “Dreamer’s” worst nightmare under the Trump Administration has become a reality: A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient has been deported.
On February 17, 23-year-old DACA recipient Juan Manuel Montes was walking to a taxi stand after hanging out with his girlfriend in Calexico, CA when he was approached by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. The officer asked for ID, which Montes could not provide because, according to the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), he left his wallet in a friend’s car.
Montes has been in the United States since he was 9 years old. According to his attorney, Montes has been granted protection from deportation under the DACA program twice and his status is valid until 2018. Presumably because he couldn’t provide proof of his protected status, the CBP officer arrested Montes. Three hours later, he was deported to Mexicali, Mexico.
Wait, WHAT?! DACA recipients are not supposed to get deported. DACA was set up under the Obama Administration for qualifying immigrants that were brought into the country as young children to protect them from being deported and to allow them to apply for work permits.
Although Trump has made good on his campaign promise to ramp up efforts to deport the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, for a minute it seemed as though “Dreamers” would be spared. “They shouldn’t be worried.” Trump told ABC News in January, “I do have a big heart.”
And yet, Montes got deported in February and remains in Mexico. His story is just now getting coverage because on Tuesday he filed a federal lawsuit “demanding that the federal government turn over key information about his sudden deportation.” According to the complaint, Montes wasn’t given an explanation or any documentation as to why he was deported.
It comes as no surprise that Montes, who has spent most of his life in the U.S., wants to come back. “I was forced out because I was nervous and didn’t know what to do or say, but my home is there,” Montes stated. “I miss my job. I miss school. And I want to continue to work toward better opportunities. But most of all, I miss my family, and I have hope that I will be able to go back so I can be with them again.”
For now he’s staying with an aunt and uncle in Mexico as he waits to see if he’ll be allowed back into the country where he grew up.
Federal judges in three states — New York, California and Washington — haveissued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15.
The controversial rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks as though they might need public assistance. Titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” the rule sparked several legal challenges.
Federal courts moved to protect immigrants from a Trump rule that would have affected millions of people.
The rule was scheduled to take effect on October 15, but federal judges in New York, California, and Washington state temporarily blocked it on Friday.
On Tuesday, judges in Maryland and Illinois joined in halting the policy. Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York found that the government failed to justify the need for a stricter definition of public charge and called the rule “repugnant to the American Dream.” Nine lawsuits have been filed so far challenging the rule, arguing that it will result in poorer health outcomes and increased food and housing insecurity for potentially millions of people.
“This rule is a deliberate attempt to exclude poor people from the citizenship pool,” said Cheasty Anderson, senior policy associate with the Texas Children’s Defense Fund. “They sanctimoniously call this merit-based immigration, but they’re imagining merit as only a dollar sign.”
The rule imposed by Trump would severely limit migrants’ rights to claim food or medical assistance.
In the fall of 2018, the Trump administration proposed changes to a longstanding immigration policy known as the public charge rule, making it harder for low-income immigrants to become permanent residents or enter the country. Currently, immigrants applying for green cards and visas can be denied if immigration officers find them likely to receive more than half of their income from cash assistance programs or require long-term care.
The new regulation would dramatically expand the criteria to decide if someone is a “public charge,” allowing immigration officials to consider the use of other public benefits like Medicaid, SNAP, and housing programs. Lacking English proficiency, having a medical condition, and being low-income could also hurt immigrants’ applications.
Department of Homeland Security estimates the final rule would directly impact around 382,000 people annually.
According to DHS, the final rule would only apply to green card and visa applicants; it exempts asylum-seekers, refugees, and some victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. But confusion around the rule has led many to unnecessarily refuse or unenroll from assistance programs that they or their children are eligible to receive. The government warned of this risk as early as 1999, when it issued a guidance acknowledging that similar confusion had stopped eligible immigrants from getting help, leading to “an adverse impact not just on the potential recipients, but on public health and the general welfare.”
But the chilling effect extends far beyond immigrants directly subject to the rule.
According to a Manatt Health analysis, more than 13 million people nationwide are at risk of unenrolling from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a result of the rule, including 8.8 million U.S. citizens with noncitizen family members.
In states like Texas, where more than one out of four children in Texas have a noncitizen parent, many migrant parents are now taking their children off of health care programs like Medicaid, wrongly assuming that if their family members receive public assistance it will impact their own ability to obtain a green card in the future.
“Adoption of the rule will worsen Texas’ sky-high rate of uninsured, already the highest in the country, and immeasurably harm the health and well-being of Texas and Texans,” wrote Douglas Curran, former president of the Texas Medical Association, in a letter opposing the rule.
Migrants across the country have been forgoing important food and medical care assistance for fear of being denied green cards or even deportation.
More than 13 million people nationwide are at risk of unenrolling from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program as a result of the rule.
Last month, Elizabeth Hasse, an immigration attorney with the Tahirih Justice Center in Houston, spoke to a client about renewing her work permit. Hasse asked her client to bring in her tax returns, paychecks, and proof that three of her four children, all U.S. citizens, were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. But the client told Hasse she had decided not to renew their benefits this time.
In an interview with the Texas Observer, Hasse said: “I was surprised because she’s a client who really needs those benefits and her children have consistently received them for many years. And out of fear, without even asking me about it, she just decided on her own that she was going to try to make it without.” The reason? The woman was afraid that receiving benefits like SNAP could be held against her in the future, possibly leading to the denial of a green card.
For years, we’ve been hearing that Millenials and Gen Z are having less sex with fewer partners than previous generations. They’re also waiting until older than previous generations. However, despite those facts, America’s STD rates are spiraling out of control.
But the numbers are clear: With nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in 2017, rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at an all-time high in the U.S., according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A new report from the CDC shows just how extreme the increase in STIs really is.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an annual report revealing that the number of combined reported cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia reached a record high last year. Titled “Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report”, the report noted that in 2018, there were more than 2.4 million syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia infections combined — an increase of more than 100,000 from the previous year.
There was also a 71 percent increase in syphilis cases since 2014, along with a 22 percent increase from 2017 in the number of newborn deaths related to congenital syphilis.
What’s harder to pinpoint, however, is the reason behind those soaring statistics.
On paper, it seems like STD rates should be dropping. Condom use is up. Teenagers and millennials are having less sex with fewer partners than generations past. Stigmas around sexuality and sexual health are beginning to break down. And yet, for four consecutive years, STD rates have broken records. Why?
The problem is complicated, says Dr. Bradley Stoner, medical director of the St. Louis STD/HIV Prevention Training Center at Washington University in St. Louis. But a good portion of it, he says, can be traced back to lackluster funding for federal resources like the CDC, which has seen its budget for STD prevention sit stagnant for almost two decades. Increasing federal funding, he says, could allow organizations like the CDC to hire more people focused on STD prevention, increase public health education campaigns and make testing and treatment resources more accessible.
Without adequate resources, however, the STD prevention community doesn’t have the manpower to take steps that could really work — things like building out systems and procedures for contacting and screening the partners of people who are diagnosed with infections, who may be carrying and spreading STDs without knowing it. Many STDs are asymptomatic, often making it difficult to know if you have one.
While the CDC did not explicitly state it, STI testing is becoming harder to come by for vulnerable populations because free test clinics — including some Planned Parenthood clinics — are being defunded by Trump administration policies. Ironically, the Trump administration’s pro-life policies have put newborn babies at a higher risk for death. Indeed, the Trump administration’s policy decision to cut off Title X funding to health care centers that provide abortion care is resulting in the closing of clinics that don’t offer abortion services, but do offer STD testing.
“While we’ve been battling sky-high STI rates, [Republican] politicians…have spent years relentlessly working to chip away at Ohioans’ reproductive health care,” Kersha Deibel, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, told Vice in September. “This is the world they want to see: one where women lose access to birth control, where information about how to access abortion is held hostage, and where, if you don’t have money, it’s almost impossible to access an STI test or a cancer screening.”
According to the CDC report, defunding public programs is merely one part of a larger problem.
The Center said data suggests there are multiple issues at play: reduced access to STD prevention due to drug use, poverty, and stigma; decreased condom use among gay and bisexual men; and cuts to STD programs at the state and local levels.
“In recent years, more than half of local programs have experienced budget cuts, resulting in clinic closures, reduced screening, staff loss, and reduced patient follow-up and linkage to care services,” the CDC said.
What’s even more wild, is that in 2000 syphilis was nearly eradicated from the US.
Since the recession, some programs were cut because STDs weren’t seen as such a threat, but many of the cut programs didn’t have their funding restored post-recession. Compounded with newfound resources flooding other initiatives, like the Trump administration’s federal budget supporting abstinence-only programs, STD prevention programs have few resources now. According to the National Coalition of STD Directors, more than half of local STD programs have experienced budget cuts.
Yet when reports like this one from the CDC are published, while it is meant to raise awareness, it can often perpetuate the stigma around sexual health and STDs.
Jenelle Marie Pierce, Executive Director of TheSTDProject.com and Spokesperson for PositiveSingles.com, told Salon in an email that “using language like ‘skyrocketing,’ ‘devastating,’ and ‘astronomical,’ for example, is fear-mongering, and it only serves to further stigmatize STIs by extrapolating one component of a giant report without including thoughtful analysis, supportive resources, or content that moves the conversation around STIs forward.”
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