Things That Matter

A 3-Year-Old Was Told To Pick Which Parent To Be Separated From

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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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Things That Matter

9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Culture

Tate’s Cookies Threatened to Report Undocumented Workers to ICE If They Unionized

Photo via chocolleto/Instagram

Fans of the crispy, buttery Tate’s cookies might be sad when they hear this news. According to current employees, the popular cookie business has been threatening employees who are trying to unionize.

According to multiple employees, Tate’s cookies threatened to contact ICE if workers vote to unionize next month.

According to Gothamist, most of Tate Bake Shop’s 432 employees are undocumented workers. But the National Labor Relations Act says that undocumented workers have a lawful right to unionize.

The powerhouse baked goods company Mondelēz International owns Tate’s cookies. Additionally, Mondelēz owns other popular brands like Oreo and Chips Ahoy. Local union leaders have called the company “anti-union on steroids”.

Once Tate’s cookies heard rumblings of their workers unionizing, however, they hired an anti-labor consultant. The consultant, Carlos Flores, brags on LinkedIn about keeping businesses “labor free”.

“They began threatening people based on their immigration status, telling them that if their documents are not in order and they attempted to join the labor union they would get deported,” said Eastern States’ Union president, Cosmo Lubrano.

The consultant allegedly told workers that he would review their documentation to see if “everything was in order”. If it wasn’t, he said ICE might “send them back”.

“Just because a worker wants to organize, wants to have representation doesn’t mean a company should make their life miserable,” said Julio, an undocumented worker, to The New York Times.

Tate’s cookies employees only began to discuss the possibility of unionizing when the pandemic hit. Workers felt that the cookie company might not protect them should they fall ill.

“We were in the heart of the pandemic at that time and they didn’t know any of the rules that applied to them,” said Anthony Miranti, an Eastern States’ union delegate.

“Will they get paid if they have to self-quarantine? How do they get safety equipment? They were telling us about how they’re all at minimum wage and needed more paid time off and there was just nobody to listen to their problems.”

Officially, Mondelēz denies all claims or threatening workers. They released a statement saying: “Any allegation that the company has violated any aspect of the National Labor Relations Act is untrue. Tate’s prides itself on treating all its employees with respect, and we have fostered over many years an inclusive, supportive, caring work environment and culture with our employees.”

Despite the threats to their livelihood, many workers still believe unionizing will ultimately be beneficial.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who work in union shops. They say things are better,” said an undocumented worker by the name of Catalina to the New York Times. “Why not give this an opportunity?”

As Miranti says, “I think the workers that produce these products should be able to put their heads down on their pillows at night and know their job is secured, that their family has the best coverage out there, that they’ll have a pension to retire on someday.”

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