According to the Rivard Report, ICE agents dropped off the families at a Greyhound Bus Station in San Antonio, Texas after Congressman Lloyd Doggett called and urged them to postpone dropping the families off at the station. Despite the warning from the congressman, ICE proceeded to drop off the families, claiming that the buses were still running. However, a spokesperson for ICE refused to answer Rivard Report when asked whether or not buses were running when ICE arrived to the bus station.
According to NOWCastSA, the families were taken in by a local church, which housed some 150 people, including the homeless, during the storm. As the weekend progressed, most of the Central American families were able to make it to the buses to go to their destinations. The families, according to NOWCastSA, had been held in a family detention center and had completed their credible fear interviews.
The City of San Antonio teamed up with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition to find a way to help and house the families temporarily until bus service out of San Antonio had resumed. The Interfaith Welcome Coalition is a group that was set up to help refugees and asylum seekers. As of now, six families await their trips out of San Antonio but were supposed to be going to Houston, which has been hardest hit by the storm with massive flooding.
Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, has been devastating southern Texas since making landfall on Friday evening. What was originally a Category 4 hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend but continues to do damage. The hurricane force winds are gone but the storm is expected to drop close to 9 trillion gallons of water on Houston and southern Texas. Widespread flooding is causing havoc in Houston, the country’s fourth largest city, as water builds up flooding major roadways in and around Houston.
You can learn more about the people who sheltered the women and children below.
There’s no denying the fact that the entertainment industry has vastly become an amalgamation of artists from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. After all, it was largely built, in great part, by migrants who either fled war-torn countries or arrived in the U.S. with nothing to build a better future. Since the early days of Hollywood, when European migrants fled the two world wars and then the Cold War, showbiz has been accommodating to creative minds searching for a conduit to tell their stories through song, words or film. In these days in which many question the value of cultural diversity, it is important to remember how much migrants have contributed to the social, cultural and political foundations of the United States and other Western countries.
Here are 17 individuals who wouldn’t take no for an answer, and we thank them for it!
1. Gloria Estefan
Credit: Instagram. @gloriaestefan
Country origin: Cuba Now lives in: the United States
One of the most influential personalities among the Cuban community in Miami was born in 1957, right in the middle of the Cold War, in Havana. Her father was a soldier and motor escort for Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, so the the family moved to Miami when the Revolution struck. Estefan’s dad later fought in Vietnam. Gloria Estefan is a famous opposer to the revolutionary regime in Cuba. Her dad suffered from the effects of Agent Orange after Vietnam, so Gloria’s mom was her source of support. She has said: “My mom was a source of strength. She showed me by example that women, regardless of how difficult life may get, can do it all”.
2. Kumail Nanjiani
Credit: Instagram. @kumailn
Country origin: Pakistan Now lives in: the United States
The star of The Big Sick was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and grew up in a religious Muslim family. He moved to the United States when he was just 18-years-old and he completed a major in computer science and philosophy, a combination that later led him to his iconic role in the HBO hit comedy “Silicon Valley.” Being a Muslim in America in this day and age is not easy, and Kumail has found a way to sublimate these struggles through his art.
3. Salma Hayek
Credit: Instagram. @salmahayek
Country origin: Mexico Now lives in: France, previously in the United States
Salma Hayek has generated hundreds of jobs in the United States through her movies and her production house, as well as millions of dollars in revenue. She arrived to the United States and initially overstayed her visa before getting a green card. She is open about this, and she has become a citizen of the United States. She lives in France for most of the year with her husband, billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault.
4. Jim Carrey
Credit: Instagram. @jimcarrey_
Country origin: Canada Now lives in: the United States
If we think of politically engaged actors in Hollywood, we have to think about Jim Carrey. He was born in Ontario, Canada, but has lived in the United States for decades. He is often outspoken when it comes to politics and he became a citizen in 2004 to be able to vote in the presidential elections. He is as funny as he is intelligent: his political stances are humanitarian in nature and fierce in practice. His philosophy is encapsulated by this awesome phrase: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer”. Just wow.
5. Natalie Portman
Credit: Instagram. @natalieportman
Country origin: Israel Now lives in: the United States
The Oscar-winning actress holds both an Israeli and an American passport. Besides being an actress, Portman is a consummate scientist and has authored academic papers. She graduated from Harvard, by the way. Todo un cerebrito la Natalia! She also serves some harsh truths: “Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women”.
6. Sofia Vergara
Credit: Instagram. @sofiavergara
Country origin: Colombia Now lives in: the United States
The highest-paid actress in television was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and moved to Miami to find fame and fortune. She also found a home in the United States. She is outspoken about Latino rights and bragged happily when she passed her citizenship test with a perfect score. Te queremos, Sofia, te queremos.
7. Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan
Credit: Instagram. @kevins_personalities
Country origin: India Now lives in: the United States
Once touted as the next Steven Spielberg, M. Night Shyamalan was born in Puducherry, India, in 1970. His parents migrated to the United States when he was barely six years old and he was raised in Hindu, which made his cultural adaptation harder. He is an honorable member of the American-Indian community and he always shows his ethnicity proudly on his sleeve.
8. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer
Credit: Instagram. @cesarsway
Country origin: Mexico lindo y querido Now lives in: the United States
One of the greatest stars of reality television arrived illegally and with a mere $100 USD in his pocket. He chased his American Dream and he found it thanks to his amazing ability to get into the minds of dogs and into the hearts of celebrities and lay people alike. A true standout among Latino entertainers.
9. Singer Regina Spektor
Credit: Instagram. @reginaspektor
Country origin: Russia (then the Soviet Union) Now lives in: the United States
She was born in Moscow in 1980, in the then Soviet Union. Her parents fled the communist regime when she was nine, seeking a refugee status in the United States with the help of HIAS (the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). Spektor is a classically trained musician that has experimented with all sorts of genres. Know that amazing opening song in “Orange is the New Black”?Well, that’s her!
10. Music legend Carlos Santana
Credit: Instagram. @carlossantana
Country origin: Mexico Now lives in: the United States
One of the godfathers of Chicano rock was actually born in Jalisco, Mexico. The family moved to the border town of Tijuana when Carlos was a kid, and then the young musician tested his luck in San Francisco. The rest, as they say, is musical history. Santana is a true hijo de la frontera.
11. Novelist Isabel Allende
Credit: Instagram. @allendeisabel
Country origin: Chile Now lives in: the United States
The legendary author of The House of Spirits was born in Chile, and denounced the many atrocities of the Pinochet military regime. She did so in her books, and also in her outspoken political persona. She is a Chilean-American dual citizen and in 2014 then-president Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She often lectures on literature in US colleges. She settled in California in 1989 and was awarded her citizenship in 1992.
12. Hollywood legend Anthony Quinn
Credit: Instagram. @cinema.classic
Country origin: Mexico Lived in: the United States
Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca was born in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. This legendary actor, the epitome of the rugged Hollywood type, was born during the Mexican Revolution to a Mexican mother and an Irish immigrant father. The family later relocated to Los Angeles.
13. Actor Andy Garcia
Credit: Instagram. @lovelikefilm
Country origin: Cuba Now lives in: the United States
One of the most vociferous opponents to the Castro regime and a prominent member of the Cuban-American community. He was born in Havana, but his family relocated to the United States after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion.
This year has seen so much of what we would have never even imagined just a little over four years ago. Thanks to the strict and cruel policies under our current presidential administration, we’ve seen families separated from their underaged children at border stops, kids held in cages and women sexually assaulted and harassed by officers of the United States government. Xenophobia and racism are on the extreme uptick and just when you think we couldn’t stoop any lower as a country, a new report sets a new bar.
Sadly, the latest low involves a child that is just 3-years-old.
Parents from Honduras have recently accused an agent at a Border Patrol holding facility of asking their 3-year-old daughter to decide which one would be deported.
In a recent interview with NPR, a woman by the name of Tania said that she and her husband, who share three children together, experienced the bizarre abuse of their child in a holding facility in El Paso Texas. While detained, an agent told the family, which is from Honduras, that one of the parents would be sent to Mexico while the other would be kept in the United States with their three children. The two parents also have a 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son.
“The agent asked her who she wanted to go with, mom or dad,” Tania told NPR through an interpreter. “And the girl, because she is more attached to me, she said mom. But when they started to take [my husband] away, the girl started to cry. The officer said, ‘You said [you want to go] with mom.'”
Tania says that she and her husband spent last week attempting to make deals with Border Patrol so that their family would not be separated.
Tania and her husband, Joseph, were working with a doctor who examined the 3-year-old, named Sofi, who had been given the burden of the harsh decision. The parents say that they pleaded with agents to not separate the family.
According to NPR Tania and her family came to the U.S. after they witnessed the murder of her mother. The news outlet reported last week that the family was sent back to Juárez, Mexico after crossing into El Paso in April and became part of the Trump administration program called Migrant Protection Protocols, which is also known as “remain in Mexico” and requires Central American migrants to wait in northern Mexico cities while their immigration cases are sorted out by the courts. More often than not, these cities are among the most dangerous in the country.
On top of everything, Sofi has an extreme heart condition.
According to NPR, Linda Rivas, the family’s lawyer and an employee of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center presented evidence from a Mexican health clinic that Sofi had suffered a heart attack. Stunned by the revelation Immigration Judge Nathan Herbert said that he didn’t have the authority to remove the family from MPP. However, he did ask the Department of Homeland Security lawyer to consider of Rivas’ evidence.
According to NPR, Sofi was examined by a doctor last week. The doctor told Border Patrol agents that she had had a serious heart condition and needed to stay in the country.
Tania told NPR that the agents “spoke to me at around 3 or 3:30 p.m., and they told me: ‘Sign here, because we are giving you and your children permission.’ And I said, ‘I came with the children’s father,’ and he said, ‘Not him. Only you and your children.’ And the doctor said it’s important for the family to stay [together], and even the doctor said ‘They entered as a family and they have to leave as a family.'”
According to the report, the agent had already made up their mind about the separation and it was then that Sofi was asked which parent she wanted to go with. According to Tania, the doctor who examined Sofi told her not to allow the agent to ask the little girl to make the decision, “because they don’t have the right to ask a minor.”
Eventually, the doctor was able to make a case for the family to be kept together to another agent. Fortunately, the family was released last Friday, together, to an El Paso migrant shelter.
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