Things That Matter

22 Immigrants Have Died In ICE Detention Two Years Into The Trump Administration

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

At least 22 immigrants have died in the custody of U.S. immigration enforcement in the two years since President Donald Trump took office. According to an investigative report from NBC News, it found that a number of deaths in U.S. detention centers included individuals from places like Vietnam and Mexico. The report comes out less than a month after two high profile deaths of immigrant children died under U.S. custody.

The report shows that some had been longtime legal residents and half were not yet 45 years old.

While issues within U.S. detention centers predate President Trump, he’s expanded U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforcement priorities that include the arrest of and separation of many children from families. These new measures have put vulnerable immigrants at risk, especially younger groups of people. The 22 deaths in the past two years are among the 188 detainee deaths in ICE custody since 2003 when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed shortly after 9/11.

The 22 deaths include at least one transgender woman, Roxana Hernandez, who died within two weeks of being taken into U.S. custody.

Hernandez had traveled from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border, where she sought asylum as part of a migrant caravan. Within two weeks in ICE custody, she was transported to four different immigration centers. She was transported from California to Arizona, then to Texas and lastly to New Mexico, where she was sent to the hospital and died shortly after. The death ws original blamed on lack of medical care for her HIV-positive diagnosis.

This past December, ICE released reports on six people who died in 2018 that included Hernandez. The report showed that Hernandez had been dehydrated, starving and feverish upon her death. An independent autopsy disputes the report and shows she likely died due to dehydration and that her body showed signs of “physical abuse.”

A request for the death reviews of all 22 who have passed away has not been completed by ICE. This has made it hard to completely analyze what’s going on at detention centers.

During testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 20, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that “one death is too many,” and DHS detention centers have “some of the highest standards in the world.” Yet the new report reveals a detention system filled with multiple violations and problems. Just in the last year, the DHS Office of Inspector General issued three reports finding bad treatment and inadequate oversight in ICE detention centers.

One death was that of a legal resident, Huy Chi Tran, 47, who arrived from Vietnam in 1984. After ICE got Tran in May 2018 from an Arizona prison, where he was serving time for disorderly conduct, he died of a heart attack. ICE records revealed that Tran suffered from schizophrenia that may have contributed to his death.

“You’ll see someone who is clearly an asylum seeker who came into custody with a serious medical condition, whether a heart condition or otherwise, and you have to ask, ‘Why is this person in jail?'” said Heidi Altman, director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center told NBC. “There’s no reason for it.”

Under Trump, the population of the immigrant prison network has risen 30 percent over the average under Obama and twice that under George W. Bush.

While the number of 22 remains below the peak of 32 deaths in 2004, the annual number of deaths, 10 in 2017 and 12 in 2018, has jumped under President Trump. During the Obama administration, the numbers rose and fell from 10 in 2008 to five in 2012. But deaths rose up to 12 in President Obama’s last full year in office, as the number of detainees grew. ICE held an average of about 42,000 people a day in it’s more than 200 detention centers, which was 30 percent more than under President Obama and double than President Bush.

The report shows that the rise in the number of detainees had more to do with the increase in ICE arrests across the U.S. than from actual people crossing the border. The shift in arrests and number of those detained has most likely attributed to these deaths.

If the Trump administration wants to continue making immigration one of its main priorities, they’re going to have to improve conditions in detention centers across the country. It’s going to have to start with better medical screenings of children and an increase in mental health checks on those incarcerated.


READ: These Tweets Show The Impact Trump’s Government Shutdown Is Having On American Families

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

The Trump Administration Is Threatening To Overturn The 14th Amendment By Ending Birthright Citizenship

Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Is Threatening To Overturn The 14th Amendment By Ending Birthright Citizenship

realdonaldtrump / Instagram

While Donald Trump has made immigration one of the central policies of his presidency, on Wednesday he took it one further. The president told reporters he was “very seriously” considering issuing an executive order to make changes to birthright citizenship, which some argue is protected as a constitutional right. 

“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby–congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen,” Trump said on Wednesday outside the White House. “It’s frankly ridiculous.”

While the President did not elaborate on what he meant by the statement, many are questioning if this is even possible.   Several lawmakers and political pundits have already cast doubt on his ability to take such action calling the statement “ridiculous.” Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris lauded Trump’s comments on Twitter saying the President “should ‘seriously’ consider reading the Constitution.”

This isn’t the first time that the president has discussed the topic of ending birthright citizenship.

Credit: @emeraldrobinson / Twitter

The president originally brought up the subject of ending the rule that grants automatic citizenship to those born in the United States back during his 2016 presidential campaign. He argued that many migrants make the trip to the southern U.S. border with intentions to have a child shortly after to give them legal status. He brought up the issue again last year when he said he would sign an executive order to end the policy. 

In an interview with Axios last year, President Trump brought up the issue of birthright citizenship. He said the amendment had become a magnet for illegal immigration in the U.S. and has only encouraged more people to come here. 

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” President Trump told Axios at the time. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

At the time, Trump claimed the U.S.  is “the only country in the world” that allows birthright citizenship. That is a lie. Birthright citizenship is a recognized form of citizenship in 32 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela. 

So what legal standing or power does President Trump have to change birthright citizenship?

Credit: @davidfrench / Twitter

The right to citizenship for anyone born in the U.S. has been guaranteed in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution for more than 150 years. It states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

So what power does President Trump have, if any, of ending the amendment? Not much.

The president cannot amend the Constitution or sign an executive order trying to end or restrict the right to citizenship of an individual born in the U.S. If he did there would almost certainly be a bevy of challenges in court as a violation of the 14th Amendment. In order for birthright citizenship to be revoked in the U.S., the president would need Congress to support the change and vote to ratify the amendment, which are both unlikely to happen. 

While the number of female immigrants that come to the U.S every year to give birth in unclear, The Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for immigration laws, estimated that in 2012 about 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the U.S., then promptly left.

President Trump has made cracking down on immigration a major focus point for his re-election campaign. 

Credit: Unsplash

President Trump’s statement coincidentally came on the same day that his administration announced a proposal to detain migrant families indefinitely. This replaced the decades-old Flores Settlement Agreement that required children to be held no longer than 20 days under government detainment.

Last April, the Trump administration unveiled the controversial “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of thousands of migrant families. That would be later reversed after much blowback from both sides of the political aisle. Just last week, an announcement was made that a range of programs would disqualify immigrants from legal status if they are deemed to be a burden to the U.S. and make it harder to obtain a green card.

So, we will have to wait and see if Trump is willing to knowingly violate the Constitution in an attempt at reelection.

READ: Netflix Officially Cast The Role Of Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled

A Democratic Illinois State Senator Is Facing Backlash From Both Sides Over A Simulated Trump Assassination At A Fundraiser

Things That Matter

A Democratic Illinois State Senator Is Facing Backlash From Both Sides Over A Simulated Trump Assassination At A Fundraiser

@MarkMaxwellTV / Twitter

Politics have become increasingly divisive since the election of President Trump. People are angered by what they see and hear on TV and the anger, some say fueled by the president, is leading to violence targeting minority groups. The latest low point in American politics comes from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval and shocking photos from a recent fundraiser depicting a simulated assassination.

Photos from Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval is the middle of a firestorm following a recent fundraiser.

Credit: @MarkMaxwellTV / Twitter

The fundraiser, hosted over the weekend, included a moment when someone staged a simulated assassination of President Trump using a fake assault weapon. The fake president was wearing a mariachi outfit and was acting as if he had been shot in the chest.

“The incident that took place is unacceptable,” Sen. Sandoval said, according to WCIA. “I don’t condone violence toward the President or anyone else. I apologize that something like this happened at my event.”

The photos, just weeks after shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, are sparking outrage from both sides of the political spectrum.

Credit: @MarkMaxwellTV / Twitter

“As our nation grapples with the epidemic of gun violence, purposely pointing a fake gun at anyone is insensitive and wrong,” Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement. “I condemn actions like the ones displayed in the pictures because they lack the civility our politics demands.”

“The apology from Sen. Sandoval for the detestable pictures from his event depicting an assassination of President Trump is too little, too late,” said Illinois Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider, according to the New York Post. “Dangerous imagery like this will be condemned and seen as inappropriate by people of sound mind; however, a mentally unstable individual who wants to harm President Trump might find them as an inspiration. It’s inexcusable for an elected official to allow the promotion of violence in any way. If the individual pictured is a staffer or volunteer, they should be terminated immediately.”

People took to Twitter to share their own disapproval of the senator’s actions.

Credit: @thebwethington / Twitter

The images are stirring controversy because of their distasteful nature. It has caused a storm on Twitter with Trump’s top aide Kellyanne Conway weighing in tweeting that “Every Democrat should be asked if they support or disavow this.”

People are getting tired of the hateful and dangerous rhetoric from the president and don’t want to see other elected officials following his lead.

Credit: @nola3229 / Twitter

Trump’s rhetoric has been tied to an increase in hate crimes against minorities. Most recently, the same rhetoric used by the White House was included in the manifesto by the El Paso shooter. The shooter went to El Paso with the mission to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Some are calling out the senator but also the hypocrisy with the right-wing and their treatment of President Obama.

Credit: @axiomatic13 / Twitter

The years after President Obama was first elected were filled with Conservative and Republican voters and politicians spewing racist and hateful words. The most racist moment was the birther movement questioning Obama’s citizenship, which was led by Trump.

Some think people on the right have forgotten how the right hanged and burned effigies of President Obama.

Credit: @4everNeverTrump / Twitter

No one is condoning the actions of Sen. Sandoval. However, this behavior is like a page out of the Tea Party and the Republican Party playbook. Obama’s election showed the ugly underbelly of the American political system and it seems to be continuing under President Trump.

A couple of Twitter users are asking for their politicians to do better and be better.

Credit: @whitneydevlin / Twitter

There’s a common saying that says, “Never wrestle with a pig in mud. You’ll both get dirty but the pig will love it.”

READ: After The El Paso Shooting, Julián Castro Releases Ad Tying Trump’s Rhetoric To The Deadly Massacre Targeting Latinos

Paid Promoted Stories