Things That Matter

House Democrats Pass The DREAM Act And Millions Of Lives Could Change Forever

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Undocumented immigrants. Children of undocumented immigrants. People in the US with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) fleeing violence or war in their countries. Everyone is celebrating the huge milestone made in the House of Representatives yesterday, as the chamber passed the DREAM Act.

The House of Representatives passed a bill that prevents immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children from being deported and gives them permanent residency along with a path to citizenship.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 237-187.

Credit: @CBSNews / Twitter

With a handful of Republican votes, House Democrats passed the latest version of the DREAM Act, an ambitious expansion of a nearly two-decades-long legislative effort that would place millions of young undocumented immigrants and immigrants with temporary status on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

The Democratic-led chamber approved the sweeping immigration bill, dubbed the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019, by a vote of 237 to 187.

Seven Republicans in the House joined 230 Democrats in voting for the bill. No Democrats voted against the measure.

Although it’s unlikely to be brought to a vote in the Senate, and Trump has already issued a veto threat, people couldn’t help but celebrate the achievement.

With the changes to this bill, entire communities would face new, more certain futures.

Credit: @UNITEDWEDREAM / Twitter

The proposal would grant young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, including those shielded from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an opportunity to acquire permanent lawful status if they meet certain requirements. The bill would also allow hundreds of thousands of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients — as well as Liberian immigrants covered by Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) — to gain permanent residency.

Many Latino and Latina politicians took to Twitter to share their excitement and pride.

AOC herself reminded everyone that moments like these make all the drama, fighting, and campaigning worth it.

Rep. Ilhan Omar shared her own story and how much this bill means to her.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

Rep. Omar, who has been a vocal critic of the Trump administrations approach to immigration, said the fight wasn’t over yet.

The reactions on the Latino Twitter-sphere were everything.

Credit: @MamiChampangne / Twitter

Some woke up to the news and couldn’t believe what it could mean for their lives.

Many wanted to address their undocumented hermanos right away.

Credit: @zripena / Twitter

Even if this bill doesn’t become law, the community is a familia and will keep fighting until it does.

Many saw this as proof that their parents were right and that they hoped to do their parents proud.

Credit: @AlanRRosales / Twitter

If this bill were to become law, tens of thousands of students would be eligible for tuition assistance and would be able to attend college. They’d be able to help work towards that better life their parents so badly want them to have.

Some were just flat out emotional over the breaking news.

Credit: @orrchards / Twitter

To be placed on a pathway to citizenship under the bill, these young immigrants must earn a college degree or complete two years of a degree program in an institution of higher education or technical school. They would also qualify if they served honorably in the military or have been employed in the U.S. for more than three years.

The proposal would also grant this group of young undocumented immigrant access to federal financial aid for college.

DED and TPS recipients, meanwhile, would be able to obtain permanent residency if they have resided in the U.S. for more than three years before the proposed legislation is enacted and if they do not have any felony convictions or more than one misdemeanor.

Despite the bill’s bleak prospects in the Senate, House Democrats believe the passage of one of their signature legislative issues will convey to the electorate that they continue using their majority to push through meaningful legislation.

“This is a day that glorifies what America is to the world. A place of refuge, a place of safety, a place of opportunity,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said at a press conference before the vote, citing a speech in which Republican President Ronald Reagan said the U.S. is a “better nation” because of immigrants.

“We will send it to the Senate and then we’ll keep on keeping on until it is the law of the land,” Hoyer added.

French Montana Says He Wants To Be The ‘Face Of Hope’ For Migrants And He’s Determined To Make That Happen

Entertainment

French Montana Says He Wants To Be The ‘Face Of Hope’ For Migrants And He’s Determined To Make That Happen

FrenchMontana / Instagram

French Montana told TMZ he wants to be the “face of hope” for immigrants who come to America. It’s a feeling no doubt many immigrants have right now. The Trump Administration’s depraved immigration policy has resulted in the deaths of citizens and non-citizens. Many immigrant children have died in immigration detention centers due to inhumane and unhygienic conditions. The deeply racist rhetoric towards Latinx and Muslim immigrants, in particular, has made the two groups targets of domestic terrorism. 

This summer a gunman killed at least 20 people in an El Paso, Texas Wal-Mart. In his “manifesto,” the shooter referred to his attack as a response to a “Hispanic invasion.” In January, four men were arrested in New York for planning to attack a small Muslim community. Trump has referred to Mexicans as “rapists,” and called people from Syria, a Muslim-majority nation, “snakes.” All of these men were avid Trump supporters and some unabashedly spewed his hateful talking points on their social media accounts. 

French Montana is proud to be an immigrant.

French Montana has always been outspoken about his African heritage. Born and raised in Morocco before his family immigrated to the Bronx, New York when he was 13 years old. Even with English as his second language, he was able to have a thriving career as a rapper. 

French believes if he hadn’t come to America he wouldn’t have been able to pursue his dreams. He wants similar opportunities for all the other “French Montanas” out there who are seeking the American Dream. 

“I just feel like I came from nothing and I was immigrated to this country,” French told TMZ. “I would have never been ‘French Montana’ if I wasn’t immigrated. I feel like there’s a lot of French Montanas out there.”

French wants to be the “face of hope” for immigrants. 

“I want to be the perfect example for these young kids that come from Africa, that come from third world countries, that come from places that have no hope and all you have is faith,” French said. “I want to be the face of that. We got to mold that and use this platform to broadcast whatever dreams everybody got.”

But he won’t be working with Donald Trump on a better tomorrow for immigrants.

When he was asked if he would work with Trump, Montana seemed uninterested. Instead, he hoped to take a more hands-on role in the African community. 

“I don’t know if I would do that,” he said. “But, I’ll go build a couple hospitals in Uganda and Morocco. Build schools and things that I’ve been doing.” 

While celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Karamo Brown have had meetings with Trump and his administration to improve criminal justice, race relations, and LGBTQ+ relations, respectively, only one has had success. Kim Kardashian credits herself with getting the President to commute the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who spent 21 years in prison for a first-time, non-violent drug charge. 

While every fight for human rights requires everyone to be activated, many activists felt Kardashian’s role overshadowed and downplayed the decades of work put in by real organizers and activists. 

French Montana has been critical of Trump in the past.

Last year, French was critical of Kanye West’s association with Trump and expressed disappointment in Trump’s plan to end the DACA program. 

“But I’m not feeling what he [West]  doing with holding Trump down. I don’t respect nobody who take away education from students. [Trump] took away education from millions of students. They don’t have the DACA program. You know, this country was built on immigrants. Nobody’s from here,” French said. 

The President is just as responsible as the gunmen who pull the triggers.

It isn’t shocking that any immigrant, whether as successful as French or not would oppose the Trump administration. The President’s hateful rhetoric puts immigrants and their loved ones at great risk every day.

“The president may not be pulling the trigger or planting the bomb, but he is enabling much of the hatred behind those acts. He is giving aid and comfort to angry white men by offering them clear targets — and then failing to fully denounce their violence,” wrote Mehdi Hasan for The Intercept.

This isn’t the first time French Montana has stepped up for immigrants.

In 2018, French teamed up with MTV and the nonprofit Get Schooled for the “We Are the Dream” campaign which provides resources to undocumented immigrants seeking higher education. 

“I am one of tens of thousands of first- and second-generation immigrants that are having a significant positive impact on the United States. I am excited to lead others in this fight to ensure Dreamers connect with support they need to get to college and make their American Dream come true,” he told Rolling Stone. 

We need celebrities like French Montana to use their platform and stories to amplify the voices of immigrants. We’re not safe here until all of us are safe here. 

An Elderly Woman Is Going Viral After Her Heart Warming And Crushing Poem About Immigration Had Everyone Crying

Culture

An Elderly Woman Is Going Viral After Her Heart Warming And Crushing Poem About Immigration Had Everyone Crying

A video of a woman in Los Angeles reciting her poem about her pride in being Mexican in the U.S. is quickly going viral with Latinx from every country showing their support for her words. The video was posted by Jerry Ulloa Zatarain on Facebook and at the start of it the woman insists that the man recording gets her name – Celia – so people know who she is as she stands on a street in Los Angeles to passionately present her words. 

The viral video shows the elderly woman as she recites a poem about the history of Mexican immigration.

An elderly Lady that was interviewed in the city of Los Angeles CA

Posted by Jerry Ulloa Zatarain on Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“Por que yo soy Mexicana dicen que yo soy illegal,” she begins. “pero si tu lees la historia esta es mi tierra natal.” This translates to “Because I am Mexican they say that I am illegal. But if you read the story this is my homeland.”

Her words ring true for Mexicans considering that before the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Mexico owned the land that later became California, Nevada, and Utah, and portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. The area was sold to the U.S. for $15 million and the treaty also officially recognized Texas as a U.S. state after it joined states in 1846. 

The treaty also states that Mexicans could retain their lands and become U.S. citizens but over time they were stripped of more than nearly 20 million acres of land by businesses, ranchers, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture among others in power.  

The powerful poem honors the immigration experience of Mexicans of the past, present, and future.

Facebook

“Pero tu, gringo Americano, tu si eres ilegal, porque yo so Mexicana aqui me voy a quedar,” she adds. “Y aunque tu pongas la barda, yo me la voy a brincar por arriba, por abajo ni cuenta te vas a dar.”

These sentiments are shared by many young Mexicans and Mexican immigrants especially in light of the immigration crisis happening at the border. With the Trump administration going after undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, these words are needed now more than ever. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017 there were 4.9 million undocumented immigrants from Mexico in the U.S. but of the estimated 33 million Mexicans living in the U.S., 22.3 million were born in the U.S

Long before Trump and his hateful rhetoric and border wall mongering there has been a wall (psychological and physical) separating the U.S. from Mexico. Border Patrol in the U.S. was established in 1924 and President Bill Clinton mandated the construction of a 13-mile wall between San Diego and Tijuana in 1993. By 2011, The Department of Homeland Security completed construction on 649 miles of barriers and for many, this is an affront to the beliefs that were part of the establishment of the United States. For Mexicans like Celia, it’s also a reminder of the land that once belonged to the indigenous communities that are now part of a country that is becoming more hostile to Mexican immigrants, undocumented or otherwise. 

Later Celia adds that “el Mexicano no raja, el viene aqui a trabajar” (the Mexican does not crack, he comes here to work) which is a sentiment evident in the large number of farmworkers that come from Mexico, 68 percent to be exact. The need for farm workers is so dire that even the Trump administration conceded to the demands of farmers and streamlined the H-2A visa process that allows them to work legally in the U.S. There are 27.4 million immigrant workers in the U.S., which makes up 17.1 percent of the total number of workers (undocumented or not), according to a 2018 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But negative stereotypes and portrayals of Mexicans and immigrants in general as violent, lazy, and overall criminals persist. Studies consistently find that immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than those born in the U.S.  and the crime rate actually plummeted 45 percent between 1990 and 2010 even though the overall percentage of immigrants and the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. both increased sharply, reported the Anti-Defamation League. 

“Dime gringo Americano, dime tu que haces aquí, si tu veniste de lejos,” Celia said. “Tu vienes de otro país, si el Mexicano es mojado, también tu lo eres aquí.” 

The fact that the U.S. is a land founded by immigrants and that should continue to welcome immigrants stands in stark contrast to the current policies and the images of families in cages going without medical care or basic necessities on the border. About a month ago, a mural called “Chained Migration.” was revealed in Las Vegas showing the State of Liberty getting arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

For these reasons, Celia’s words have had a profound effect on those who have seen the nearly two-minute video on Facebook. 

Facebook

One commenter even translated the entire poem into English and many shared their own Mexican pride, thanking her for her words. 

She closes the poem by saying, “Y si la migra me agarra, yo me vuelvo a regresar,” she said. ” y aunque los gringos no quieran, aquí me van enterrar.” 

Celia’s words are filled with pride, passion, and defiance and in a time when the Latinx community seemingly spends more time than ever defending their rights it’s a good reminder to listen to the sage advice of our elders.