Things That Matter

Nurses At A Florida Clinic Are Claiming That They Were Told They’d Be Fired If They Spoke Spanish To Each Other

When applying to most local, federal, and government jobs, one of the skills that a majority of employers look for is whether or not the applicant speaks Spanish. Being bilingual in English and Spanish in this country is beneficial to the employer, their customers, and the employee because typically the job is supposed to have a better salary. There are also some places in the country that have large populations of people who speak Spanish and are more comfortable functioning in that language.

There are an estimated 41 million people that speak Spanish in the U.S., or 13 percent of the population, according to Babble. So, speaking Spanish isn’t — at least it should be — a big deal, in fact, it’s quite common. But in Trump America, it’s another story. 

Seven female workers with the Florida Department of Health are coming forward to say they have gotten direct instructions not to speak Spanish in the office. 

Credit: @geronimoproduc1 / Twitter

The women say that even though they were hired because of their Spanish-speaking skills, so they could communicate better with their patients, they are now told not to speak the language with one another in the office. 

“We speak in English to the Anglo-Saxons because we are polite, but we speak Spanish with each other because we think in Spanish,” MairylÍ Miranda, a nurse, told El Nuevo DÍa. “But one day they gathered us all together and warned us that if we continued to do so, we would be fired. But there is no law that bans us from speaking Spanish.”

The seven women on the complaint work at a Florida Department of Health clinic in Haines City, and are also all Puerto Rican. 

Credit: @MDBlanchfield / Twitter

Aside from nurses, the employees on the complaint include an administrative assistant and a secretary. The Florida Department of Health has yet to make a public comment about these allegations. They also allege that management has been on them to stop speaking Spanish for quite some time, but it has only gotten worse in the past year. An official harassment report has been filed to the police department, but the women said nothing has yet to be done.

“It feels like you’re a criminal like you’re doing something that is wrong,” Miranda said, according to Bay News 9. “Never in my life did I think I was going to go through a situation like this one.”

Some people may assume that these employees are speaking Spanish in a way that others may think is rude. But they claim they are very professional at work and never speak Spanish around someone that may not understand them.

While these claims aren’t surprising, especially under this tense and traumatic Trump-era racism, it’s reassuring to know that state and local officials are supporting these employees.

Credit: @relevanne / Twitter

“Haines City is a well-diversified community,” Haines City Mayor Morris West said in a conference, according to the Palm Beach Post. “The facility that’s in question is in Haines City but is not a city of Haines City facility. I stand on behalf of these nurses that’s been [facing] allegations of discrimination against them. Haines City and my staff stand ready to support you nurses from any discrimination.”

Other advocates of these women include Respeta Mi Gente Coalition, which includes Alianza for Progress, Boricua Vota, Hispanic Federation, Misión Boricua, and Organize Florida. U.S. Rep. Darren Soto is also backing these women. 

It’s important to note that the United States does not have an official language.

Credit: @livesinpages / Twitter

For all those people yelling at others, demanding them to speak Spanish, they should know English is not the official language in the U.S

There is nothing in the Constitution that states people in the United States, both citizens or otherwise, have to speak English and English only. Scholars say that the Founding Fathers didn’t include a clause about the English language because immigrants of the 13 colonies spoke other languages, including Dutch, French, and German. Native Americans spoke different languages as well. 

Lawmakers in the past, as recent as 2006, have attempted to make English the official language but thankfully, because of our democracy, the votes have never gone past the House. That doesn’t mean local and government officials haven’t tried to force English on everyone. It’s just part of our assimilation whether we like it or not. 

So the next time someone is yelling racist things such as “stop speaking Spanish” just yell back “English is not the official language of this country. Bye!” 

READ: A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

Trump Suffers Another Court Loss As A Federal Judge Blocks Rule Requiring Migrants Have Health Insurance

Things That Matter

Trump Suffers Another Court Loss As A Federal Judge Blocks Rule Requiring Migrants Have Health Insurance

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The Trump Administration has been working hard to limit who can and cannot come to the United States as a migrant. From policies that force migrants to ‘remain in Mexico’ while their claims are processed to separating families and locking them away, Trump has proved that cruelty is the point of his immigration policies.

The government, under Trump, has been moving to severely limit immigration to the US and a rule requiring immigrants secure health insurance within 30 days of arrival was one such rule that flew in the face of traditional American immigration policy.

A federal judge has, at least temporarily, blocked Trump’s xenophobic policy from taking hold.

A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, has put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants to prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas.

US district judge Michael Simon granted a temporary restraining order that prevented the rule from going into effect Sunday. It was not clear when he would rule on the merits of the case.

Seven US citizens and a non-profit organization filed the federal lawsuit on Wednesday, contending the rule would block nearly two-thirds of all prospective legal immigrants. The lawsuit also said the rule would greatly reduce or eliminate the number of immigrants who enter the US with family sponsored visas.

“We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the healthcare ban immediately,” said Justice Action Center senior litigator Esther Sung, who argued at a hearing on Saturday on behalf of the plaintiffs.

“The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”

The legal decision protects migrants from the anti-American rule change.

Judge Simon said the potential damage to families justified a US-wide ban. 

“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” his legal order read.

Would-be immigrants had been struggling to establish how to get the required insurance coverage. The US healthcare system is complex, and has not generally catered to people yet to arrive there.

Trump’s proposed rule would of placed an undue burden on already marginalized groups.

The proclamation signed by Donald Trump in early October applies to people seeking immigrant visas from abroad, not those in the US already. It does not affect lawful permanent residents. It does not apply to asylum seekers, refugees or children.

The proclamation says immigrants will be barred from entering the US unless they are to be covered by health insurance within 30 days of entering or have enough financial resources to pay for any medical costs.

It is the Trump administration’s latest effort to limit immigrant access to public programs while trying to move the US away from a family based immigration system to a merit-based system.

The White House said in a statement when the proclamation was issued that too many non-citizens were taking advantage of the country’s “generous public health programs” and said immigrants contribute to the problem of “uncompensated healthcare costs”.

Under the government’s visa rule, the required insurance can be bought individually or provided by an employer and it can be short-term coverage or catastrophic. Medicaid doesn’t count, and an immigrant cannot get a visa if using the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies when buying insurance. The federal government pays for those subsidies.

Many pointed out the xenophobia behind the rule change and how it goes against American ideals.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan immigration thinktank, 57% of US immigrants had private health insurance in 2017, compared with 69% of US-born individuals, and 30% had public health insurance coverage, compared with 36%.

The uninsured rate for immigrants dropped from 32% to 20% from 2013 to 2017, since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Migration Policy. About 1.1 million people obtain green cards each year.

“Countless thousands across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today because the court recognized the urgent and irreparable harm that would have been inflicted,” said Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Earlier this year, the administration made sweeping changes to regulations that would deny green cards to immigrants who use some forms of public assistance, but the courts have blocked that measure.

Latinos Mourn The Death Of Astrological Legend Walter Mercado Who Died During Día De Los Muertos

Entertainment

Latinos Mourn The Death Of Astrological Legend Walter Mercado Who Died During Día De Los Muertos

@OfficialJoelF / Twitter

Latinos are in disbelief to learn that the infamous Puerto Rican astrologer, Walter Mercado, died, at age 87, on Saturday. For more than 50 years, Mercado’s televised passion for astrological predictions, refusal to conform to gender roles, and mucho, mucho amor for his fans has secured a beloved space in the Latino zeitgeist. Whether your memory of Mercado was hearing your mom yell, “Callaté!” when his segment aired or memorizing your horoscope for the following day, every day, Mercado’s daily presence on your living room TV made him part of the family.

The public expects his immediate family to announce the cause of his passing, though San Juan’s Auxilio Mutuo Hospital spokeswoman, Sofia Luquis, did confirm his death on November 2, 2019.

Walter Mercado, a Pisces, was born at sea but lived and died in Puerto Rico.

Credit: @JuhemNR / Twitter

According to a biography published by Puerto Rico’s Foundation for Popular Culture, Mercado was born on March 9, 1932, on a ship traveling from Spain to Puerto Rico. He grew up in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he later began his career in Puerto Rican telenovelas. Though his fame grew to all of Latin America, Mercado largely remained in Puerto Rico throughout his life.

The astrological legend Walter Mercado gifted us decades of accurate and life-changing predictions.

Credit: @BubbleTEar1 / Twitter

Mercaado happened to be at a studio when the star of a guest segment didn’t show up. Producer Elín Ortíz asked him to use a 15-minute segment to offer astrological divinations. Boricuas loved him, and he was soon made a regular.

Recently, Mercado opened up about his gender-nonconformity.

Credit: @Carrasquillo / Twitter

“I’m so into who I am, and I do [what] feels right for me,” Mercado explained to Remezcla. “I’m so connected to people and to the divine for that. That I look feminine with a cape? Everyone knows we have two energies – yin and yang – and I know how to balance them. If I have to be a warrior, then I’ll be that. If I have to be soft and subtle, I can be that, too.”

“He never identified as queer,” one mourner tweeted, “But it felt like he refused to be constrained by gender norms and antiquated ideas of masculinity. He even rejected our understanding of time. When an interviewer once asked his age, Walter Mercado responded “Soy ageless.” AGELESS NEVER DIES, BEBÉ.”

Mercado was a pioneer and icon in the LGBTQ+ Latino community.

Credit: @SheisDash / Twitter

Mercado never discussed his sexuality but courageously expressed his gender to millions of viewers decades before rampant machísmo and homophobia were regularly challenged. Like an actual LGBT superhero, Mercado was known for wearing bejeweled and sequined capes.

At one point, Mercado owned more than 2,000 capes, twelve of which were put on display in Miami in August.

Credit: HistorryMiami Museum

The HistoryMiami Museum put on a popular exhibit of his “costumes, mementos, and ephemera, on display for the first time ever” in its exhibit, Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado, according to the museum website.

Mercado made a dazzling grand entrance, on a gold plated throne that was wheeled through the crowd.

Credit: @OfficialJoelF / Twitter

Wearing a gold sequined three-piece suit, 88-year-old Mercado blew kisses to his fans and posed for photographs as he met the cheering crowd one by one. Some received a coveted reading from the internationally acclaimed astrologer, which were likely some of the last divinations in his 50-year long career.

Mercado garnered 120 million Latino viewers every day for more than 30 years.

Credit: @hagtastic / Twitter

Basically, you, your abuela, and your mamá would gather in the living room every day to watch the icon deliver the wisdom we all needed. Today, Latinos are trying to tap into what made him so special to us all. “Our mothers, tias and tios relied on his advice,” one Twitter user shared, “but I think what captivated his 120 million daily viewers was his positivity and how he radiated mucho, mucho, mucho, amorrrrrr.”

Latinos are lamenting the loss of a decades-long tried and true New Year’s Eve tradition with Mercado.

Credit: THE NEW HERALD / YouTube

At the end of every year, Mercado gives a special segment on what each sign can expect from the new year. The mourning process for Mercado will extend at least until the New Year, as Latinos celebrate NYE without him. “I’m not an astrology buff but Walter was an icon and part of the family,” a mourner tweets, “New years will be so different without his segment his messages/horoscopes promoted optimism, love, and perseverance. Every evening he gave us hope, despite struggles, the stars showed a great future.”

Last year, Mercado predicted that Trump may be impeached in 2019.

Credit: @no_mamex / Instagram

Ok, so his exact Miami Herald-translated words were, “Donald Trump, the controversial president, will face his worst year and perhaps even impeachment.” This headline was published in The LA Times on January 2. Trump is currently undergoing an impeachment inquiry.

Beyond the loss of Mercado, it feels like a piece of our childhood died this weekend.

Credit: @lizzhuerta / Twitter

Ms. Lizz Huerta isn’t the first Latino to tweet about how Mercado’s death feels like the loss of something so innocent and pure from our childhoods. We all have such rich memories of how he was able to unite generations, though in varying ways. “My Tía would sit there and watch him weekly,” one dubious Latino tweeted. “I loved her dearly and while I would shake my head at her, if it made her happy to watch him, it was fine with me. She never sent money either which is why I was ok with it.”

We hope Mercado’s feeling mucho, mucho amor from wherever he is now.

Credit: @mijadoris / @cyberguurl / Twitter

Mercado passed on the final day of Día de Los Muertos, prompting Latinos to reaffirm Mercado’s destiny to transition to the stars themselves. Que descanse en Paz, Walter Mercado. You truly were a celestial being on this earth.

READ: Walter Mercado Got Real About His Flamboyant Style And Why He’s Long Said ‘No’ To Extreme Gender Conformity And Machismo