Things That Matter

Here’s Why People In Los Angeles Came Out In Support Of Reuniting Families

Since President Trump implemented his “zero tolerance” policy back in April, more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S border. An executive order was signed Wednesday to end family separations at the border yet many questions remain. There are still thousands of separated families with no signs of when many will or ever be reunited. As public backlash has increased, people in Los Angeles hosted a Keep Families Together rally where they spoke up about the Trump administration’s policy and the importance of reuniting families. Here is why they came out to rally on behalf of separated immigrants across the country.

Sofia Aguilar, 18

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I strongly believe that we shouldn’t have border rules that result in the separation of families,” Aguilar said. “It’s not right and it’s not American, that’s why I brought my mom out here today with me who is an immigrant.”

Leidy Valencia, 31

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I’m out here today to protest the inhumane things happening to immigrants at our borders,” Valencia said. “I wanna go to the border myself and protest there but this is what I can do today and that’s why I’m here standing proud.”

Alison Brega, 60

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I want to represent the baby boomers and show that we are a nation of immigrants,” Brega said. “Diversity is important and is a fabric of our story, that’s why we need to bring awareness to this issue.”

Jessica Nevarez, 26

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I think that the injustice that is happening in our country right now is atrocious and unconscionable,” Nevarez said. “The fact that Donald Trump signed that executive order does nothing to protect families and still keeps thousands of people away from each other. No human being is illegal and we, as a country, need to abolish these policies.”

Alice Whetherland, 37

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I’m out here today because this issue is too important to wait for someone else to start a movement. We need to be out here in these streets and make our voices heard for all these families that don’t have a voice right now.” Whetherland said.

Emily Prado, 27

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I think what we’re doing at the border is horrendous and it’s been a problem that I can’t ignore,” Prado said. “This latest policy is cruel and goes against what this country stands for and we need to speak up against this policy in any way we can.”

Hector Gomez, 49

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I’m angry for so many reasons right now. I don’t recognize this country right now and I feel so much emotion today,” Gomez said. “Donald Trump doesn’t know what the hell he is doing and the damage he has done to the country that I love so much. We need to speak up and make our voices heard or else this country that we love will never be the same.”

Blair Imani, 24

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I’m from Los Angeles and I just got back from Kenya. I saw what was happening in the news and as an activist I felt really compelled to organize this protest today.” Imani said. “There is no such thing as an illegal human being and America right now is in a moral crisis. We have been perpetuating human right atrocities since we were founded but enough is enough.”

Matt Brega, 62

CREDIT: Javier Rojas/ mitú

“I think its obscene what our government is doing. The people that are crossing the border just want a better life and are just trying to escape violence,” Brega said. “They are being greeted with separation of their families and even more turmoil. It’s horrific that we don’t even know where many of these children are and we need answers more than ever.”

READ: Trump Administration Claims Babies Separated From Families Are Being Held In ‘Tender Age’ Shelters

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

As recently as last month more than 5,000 children languished in jail-like conditions inside U.S. Border Patrol facilities, often for longer than the 72-hour limit set by federal law. But, according to the Biden administration, that number has dropped by 84% as the agencies charged with migrant detention make significant progress.

Questions remain, however, about where these children are being sent to instead and why there remains a need for jail-like conditions in the first place.

The number of kids in jail-like Border Patrol facilities drops 84% compared to March.

The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by US Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month, according to a White House official. As of last Wednesday, there were 954 children in CBP facilities, down from a peak of 5,767 on March 28, the official told CNN.

The average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared to 133 hours on March 28, the official said, a nearly 80% reduction in time spent in Border Patrol detention.

In an interview with NBC News this week, Biden suggested that the situation with unaccompanied children is now under control, saying, “It’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control,” and touted “significant change in the circumstances for children to and at the border.”

In recent weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the care of migrant children, has opened up a string of temporary shelters to accommodate minors. That’s allowed for an increasing number of children being transferred out of border facilities to spaces equipped to care for them at a quicker pace.

The drop in children in custody is a welcome sign given the conditions they faced.

In some cases, children were alternating schedules to make space for one another in confined facilities and taking turns showering, often going days without one, while others hadn’t seen the sunlight in days.

While the administration works to address root causes of migration, it’s also had to contend with growing numbers of children in government custody. As of April 27, there were more than 22,276 children in HHS care, according to government data.

Biden on NBC again warned Central American parents against sending children to the US.”Do not send your kids, period. They’re most — they’re in jeopardy going– making that thousand-mile trek,” Biden said. “And so what we’re doing now is we’re going back to those countries in question where most of it’s coming from and saying, ‘Look, you can apply from your country. You don’t have to make this trek.”

The shift in strategy comes as a new poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support new immigration policy.

A vast majority of Americans approve of the idea of engaging countries abroad to address the causes of migration before it happens, according to a new nationwide poll released Thursday.

Pollster Civiqs found that 85 percent of survey respondents agreed that the United States needs to engage with other countries to address migration patterns.

On a partisan basis, 86 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans, as well as 81 percent of independents, agree with that approach, according to Civiqs, which conducted the poll for Immigration Hub, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

The poll found that 57 percent of Americans accept illegal immigration when the immigrants are fleeing violence in their home countries.

That support is lower for undocumented immigrants who come for other reasons; 46 percent agree with immigrants arriving illegally to escape poverty or hunger, while 36 percent do if the migrants are seeking to reunite with family members, and 31 percent do if the migrants are looking for jobs in the United States.

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