Things That Matter

Jimmy Kimmel Celebrates Immigrants Of America, Welcomes New US Citizens In Huge Ceremony On TV

Every single late-night host has gone after President Donald Trump in some way shape or form. Making fun of people in the public eye, especially the president is their job after all. While they did poke fun on former President Barack Obama back in the day, they just have a lot more material to go after Trump. The late-night hosts, however, aren’t just making fun of Trump’s idiotic ways and unstable mentality (because that would be too easy), they’re also telling viewers around the world that the majority of people in the United States do not share his views. It’s important for the hosts to show the distinction between what the president does, says, or tweets, and how everyone else feels by firing back in clever and hilarious ways.  

One of the most vocal dissidents in late-night TV has to be Jimmy Kimmel. The comedian and host has attacked Trump in various ways. He’s gone after him on his inaction on gun reform, his slaughtering of healthcare in the U.S., and even the president’s misspelling of his name. Now Kimmel is taking his anti-Trump material to another inspirational level. 

In response to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, a group of immigrants celebrated their new citizenship to the United States with a heartwarming ceremony on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Credit: YouTube

“This is a very strange time in America,” Kimmel said on his show on Aug. 8. “Our President is building walls and telling people to go back where they came from. With all that happening it’s important to remember that many people still dream of becoming Americans. Every week immigrants from all around the world take the oath of citizenship.”

Kimmel then had six immigrants from various parts of the world come on stage to celebrate their U.S. citizenship, including Jose Alberto Sahagun Ruiz from Mexicali, Mexico. 

Credit: YouTube

Each person walked onstage, and national TV, by being introduced like rockstars by Los Angeles Kings announcer Dave Joseph, and they all held up their new citizenship document. It was really beautiful and inspiring to hear each person’s name be called and their home countries, which includes places such as the Philippines, Argentina, Poland, and others. They all walked out to Neil Diamond’s “We’re Coming To America” song played by Kimmel’s house band, Cleto and the Cletones. 

Then country singer Brad Paisley joined in on the fun by singing a little ballad about what life as an American means.

Credit: YouTube

Paisley kept it light by telling these new American citizens that they can pretty much get away with anything in the United States. But he did so through song.

 “Congratulations citizens,” he sang. “We’re happy that you’re here/ Come on in and take a load off/ Grab yourself an ice-cold beer. You can exercise your freedom of speech/ eat a sticka’ butter at a county fair/ Wear your Crocs with a pair of socks/ Go to Target in your underwear.”

He then finished the song by singing “My Country Tis of Thee.”

This isn’t the first time Kimmel has celebrated new Americans. Last year on Flag Day, he did the same beautiful thing. 

“Every week immigrants from all over the world take the oath of citizenship in courthouses, libraries, and auditoriums across the country, without much pomp or circumstance,” Kimmel said last year. “I think becoming an American shouldn’t feel like a visit to the DMV. It’s a big deal and we think it deserves a big deal.” 

Kimmel’s sidekick, Guillermo Rodriguez, then came out dressed like the United States bald eagle and had goody bags for all of them. 

Credit: YouTube

Guillermo gave each new American citizen a goody bag filled with American staples including a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer helmet, apple pies, and fireworks. Then someone dressed as Abraham Lincoln arrived to drive them all in a limo to IHOP, because there’s nothing as American as IHOP, right?

Here’s this year’s new batch of American citizens. Grab some tissue first!

We really hope this celebration of welcoming new Americans into this country becomes a regular segment on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” It’s important for people all over the world to know that people here in the United States are welcoming to newcomers, and this celebration also shows that becoming a citizen of America is a big deal. 

Thanks, Jimmy for making these people feel special and that becoming a U.S. citizen matters. Whatever you do, just don’t get fined for making jokes about Trump. Keep doing it, of course, just make sure it’s not costing you. 

READ: Last year, Jimmy Kimmel Brought DACA Opponents To Meet A DACA/Military Family And Here’s What Happened

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Human Smuggling Is Suspected In The Tragic SUV Accident That Killed 13 Migrants

Things That Matter

Human Smuggling Is Suspected In The Tragic SUV Accident That Killed 13 Migrants

Another tragic story has unfolded at the U.S. – Mexico border, this time involving the deaths of at least 13 people who were allegedly being smuggled into the United States. Although investigators are still working to piece together the tragic chain of events, one thing has become clear: we need serious immigration reform now.

13 people died in a tragic SUV accident near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The tragedy unfolded when a Ford Expedition carrying 27 people smashed into a gravel truck near the town of El Centro, about 30 miles from the border. Officials say that the Ford SUV and a Chevrolet Suburban, which was carrying 19 people, were earlier caught on video entering the U.S. as part of a smuggling operation.

The Suburban immediately caught fire after entering the U.S., but all the occupants managed to escape and were taken into custody by Border Patrol officers. It’s still unknown why the first vehicle caught fire.

The Ford SUV continued along its route when it collided with a gravel truck. Ten of the 13 people who died in the accident have now been identified as Mexican nationals, Gregory Bovino, the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector chief told the Associated Press.

“Human smugglers have proven time and again they have little regard for human life,” said Mr. Bovino.

An SUV designed for 7 or 8 people was carrying 27 people.

California Highway Patrol said that the Ford Expedition was designed to hold seven to eight passengers safely. But in this case all of the seats had been removed apart form the driver and front passenger seats in order to pack people in.

“When I pulled up on scene, there were bodies everywhere,” Alex Silva, the Holtville fire chief, told the LA Times. “I’ve been doing this for 29 years and that’s the worst scene I’ve ever seen. I’ve been to calls where we’ve had four or five people dead. I’ve gone to calls where we had a bus accident that had 24 people. But it wasn’t the fatalities that we had in this one.”

“I’ve never seen an SUV with 25 people in it. I can’t even imagine what that must have felt like being cooped up in there.”

Officials are confident the tragedy is connected to a human smuggling operation.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they suspected the deadly crash was tied to human smuggling after the Ford Expedition and a red Suburban were caught on surveillance footage coming through a breach in the border fence. Border Patrol agents insist they did not stop or pursue either vehicle, although community activists express skepticism. Either way, the outcome illustrated the high stakes involved in human smuggling.

While it’s unclear what caused the crash, Jacqueline Arellano, 38, who works with the nonprofit Border Angels, said crashes involving vehicles packed with people aren’t unusual in the region. Arellano, who grew up in El Centro, recalled a crash in 2003 in which she witnessed a Border Patrol vehicle chase an SUV packed with people on Highway 8 heading west toward San Diego.

Migrant advocates agree that major changes need to take place in our country’s immigration laws so that deadly tragedies such as this one never happen again.

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In Bombshell Report, ICE Agents Are Accused of ‘Torturing’ African Asylum-Seekers to Get Them to Sign Their Own Deportation Documents

Things That Matter

In Bombshell Report, ICE Agents Are Accused of ‘Torturing’ African Asylum-Seekers to Get Them to Sign Their Own Deportation Documents

Photo: Bryan Cox/Getty Images

A bombshell report published in The Guardian alleges that ICE officers are using torture to force Cameroonian asylum seekers to sign their own deportation orders. The report paints an even starker picture of Immigration and Customs Enforcement–an agency that is already widely criticized as corrupt and inhumane.

The deportation documents the immigrants have been forced to sign are called the Stipulated Orders of Removal. The documents waive asylum seekers’ rights to further immigration hearings and mean they consent to being deported.

The asylum seekers allege that the torture in ICE custody consisted of choking, beating, pepper-spraying, breaking fingers, and threats on their lives.

“I refused to sign,” recounted one Cameroonian asylum-seeker to The Guardian. “[The ICE officer] pressed my neck into the floor. I said, ‘Please, I can’t breathe.’ I lost my blood circulation. Then they took me inside with my hands at my back where there were no cameras.”

He continued: “They put me on my knees where they were torturing me and they said they were going to kill me. They took my arm and twisted it. They were putting their feet on my neck…They did get my fingerprint on my deportation document and took my picture.” Other witnesses recount similar violent experiences.

Experts believe that the escalation of deportations is directly related to the upcoming election and the possibility that ICE might soon be operated under a different administration. The theory is that ICE is coercively deporting “key witnesses” in order to “silence survivors and absolve ICE of legal liability.”

“In late September, early October of this year, we began to receive calls on our hotline from Cameroonian and Congolese immigrants detained in Ice prisons across the country. And they were being subjected to threats of deportation, often accompanied by physical abuse,” said Christina Fialho, executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, to The Guardian.

Many of the Cameroonians who are in the U.S. to seek asylum have legitimate claims to danger back in their home countries. Many of these Cameroonians come from an English-speaking minority in Cameroon that are violently target by the government there–some have died. The violence has been condemned by The United Nations and Amnesty International.

As with many immigrant stories of people who are seeking asylum, these immigrants’ lives are in danger in their home country. They are coming to the United States for a better life. But instead, they are faced with the agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whom they claim brutally mistreat them.

According to report, the U.S. is deporting entire airplanes full of asylum-seekers back to their home countries–deportations that have not been given due process and have been authorized under duress.

An ICE spokesperson contacted by The Guardian called the reports “sensationalist” and “unsubstantiated” while roundly refuting the claims. “Ice is firmly committed to the safety and welfare of all those in its custody. Ice provides safe, humane, and appropriate conditions of confinement for individuals detained in its custody,” she said.

Read the entire report here.

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