Things That Matter

Mexico Conducts Largest Raid On Migrant Caravan Members, Regrets It

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Mexican authorities detained over 360 people this week in the largest single raid on a migrant caravan since the groups began passing through Mexico last year. The migrant group was making their way through the southern state of Chiapas with hopes of reaching the U.S. border. Police targeted isolated groups at the end of a caravan that had close to 3,000 migrants. While the number of migrants detained is alarming, similar arrests have occurred over the last month as support for the caravans in Mexico has waned recently.

Many migrants ran to the safest place they could find, the local Roman Catholic church.

The caravan was broken up as people fled to avoid being detained. There have been multiple reports of mothers and children running from police and hiding in nearby forests to avoid authorities. Images on social media have shown authorities wrestling migrants into police vehicles as families tried to stay together during the raid.

“There are people still lost up in the woods. The woods are very dangerous,” Arturo Hernández, a sinewy 59-year-old farmer from Comayagua, Honduras, who fled through the woods with his grandson told Fox News. “They waited until we were resting and fell upon us, grabbing children and women.”

Those migrants who were detained were sent to an immigration station in the nearby city of Tapachula. As this time it’s was not clear whether they would be deported back to their country of origin.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has spoken up about the raid and the increasing number of migrant caravans.

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke about the raid on Tuesday morning, acknowledging that the caravans can’t simply go wherever they please. He noted concerns about human traffickers that may have allegedly infiltrated various caravans.

“We don’t want for them to just have free passage, not just out of legal concerns but for questions of safety.” López Obrador said at a press conference.

Tonatiuh Guillén, Obrador’s immigration chief, said that the raid was “regrettable,” especially for scaring migrant children. Guillén says he doesn’t want to see the incident happen again but warns it’s a normal “migration enforcement action.”

Mexico has deported 11,800 migrants so far this month. The country is also being more selective when it comes to those who receive a humanitarian visa, which would allow a migrant to remain in the country and work.

This has all happened as another “giant” caravan, that may have 10,000 migrants in it, heads towards the U.S.-border.

According to the Washington Examiner, a new caravan of approximately 10,000 migrants is traveling through Mexico with plans of reaching the U.S-border by this week. The group is being called the “mother of all caravans” by Mexico’s Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero. Mexico officials are preparing for the large group by ensuring they have food, shelter, and other needs.

While President Trump has called has ramped up pressure on Mexico to do more to stem the flow of Central American migration, Mexico has already deported thousands of migrants this year. It has also done its part to help those in Mexico as the country has issued more than 15,000 humanitarian visas.

Making matters worse for migrants is the lack of support from locals in southern cities near the U.S-border. Many have faced violent conditions on their journeys and subsequently while they wait for asylum claims to be processed. This has led to an increase in migrant camps near border cities that have continually grown over the last year.

READ: Trump Administration Plans To Build More Tent Cities To Hold Migrants Indefinitely

Heartbroken Honduran Father Finally Reunites with 13-Year-Old Daughter After Suicide

Things That Matter

Heartbroken Honduran Father Finally Reunites with 13-Year-Old Daughter After Suicide

Adhy Savala / Unsplash

It is with unrelenting sadness that we report the death of Heydi Gámez García, 13, who took her life after her father’s asylum request was denied for the third time. Heydi’s father, Manuel Gámez, sent her to the U.S. after his father was gunned down by MS-13 for refusing to pay a “war tax” to the gang. He didn’t expect that Heydi would be granted asylum, but that he would be deported.

Manuel certainly didn’t envision that his goodbye hug and kiss four years ago would be the last time he would hug and kiss his daughter while she was still alive.

The Gámaz family was broken by MS-13 and failed again by the U.S. immigration system.

Credit: @amy_baker22 / Twitter

Heydi’s mother walked out on her and her dad when she was less than two months old. By the time Heydi was a year old, Manuel left for New York as an undocumented immigrant to make money to send back home. After his father was killed by MS-13, and his mother’s health started failing, he worried about who would care for Heydi and his younger sister, Zoila.

Manuel’s sister was granted asylum and cared for Heydi in his absence in New York.

Credit: @holliewolfen / Twitter

A year after his father’s death, he sent Heydi, Zoila and his brother to the U.S. Heydi and Zoila were granted asylum. Heydi learned English within a year and started teaching her father, via phone calls, how to correctly pronounce English words. They spoke every day, always asking when he’d come.

After two failed attempts to gain asylum, Heydi lost hope for being reunited and started cutting herself.

Credit: @holliewolfen / Twitter

He never wanted to make promises he couldn’t keep, like being there for her quinceañera. Heydi watched her classmates complain about their parents’ visiting their school and fell into a depression. In December, she was brought to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after cutting her wrist at school. She was seeing a therapist until two months before her suicide.

“Please forgive me for failing you,” Manuel wants to tell his daughter.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be there… I never meant to leave you,” he says to her. Heydi was Manuel’s only child. Heydi’s aunt is coping with impossible guilt. She told CNN, “I was supposed to be protecting her. I would never send her to Honduras. But I never thought something bad would happen to her here.”

Manuel was released on a two week ‘humanitarian’ visit to release Heydi from life support.

Credit: @holliewolfen / Twitter

He finally got to hold her hand and comfort her as she left this life behind. “We love you,” he whispered to her. “Don’t leave us.”

The last thing Heydi told anyone was that she lost hope in being reunited with her father.

Credit: @MaryJaneKnows / Twitter

She was crying as she told her aunt that she feels hopeless and that one day, she’ll become a lawyer to help her dad’s case. She then said she wanted to be alone and was found two hours later in a closet. She didn’t leave a note.

She was declared brain dead a week later at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens.

Dr. Charles Schleien told CNN that she was in a “neurologically devastated state” upon arrival with “no hope for recovery.” He went on to disclose that the Gámaz family “chose to turn tragedy into the gift of life. Heydi is an organ donor and her final act will be to save others.”

The mental health impacts of family separation at our borders can only be told one story at a time.

Credit: @apbenven / Twitter

It is the only empathic way to relate to the emotional scars of our community. Every story is important. Every life lost to policies that don’t incorporate the most visceral human desires, like growing up with your father by your side, is one life too many. 

What on earth are we doing?

Credit: @JoeGould50 / Twitter

How can anyone go about business as usual? How do we humanize brown-skinned people to every voter and decision-maker? The only way we know how is to continually voice your concerns to your representatives and create space for these stories. Don’t look away. The grief of the Gámaz family is all of our grief. 

A Manuel, you did not fail your daughter. We all did. We are so sorry.

Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

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Mexican President Lopez Obrador Is Bringing Sweeping Budget Cuts Causing Some Concerns

lopezobrador / alexa_morenomx / Instagram

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has brought sweeping changes to the country since he took office last year. Whether it’s crime reform, government overhaul or even cutting his own salary. But according to the Washington Post, Lopez Obrador has also slashed the budget of the Mexican Olympic Committee. The cuts are a huge blow to the day-to-day operations of the sports organization which will now no longer be able to offer food, lodging, and medical services at its central sports training complex.

The budget cut is just the latest to come from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador administration which has already cut back on other services such as government jobs, researchers and archaeologists.

Credit: Twitter/@membarba

The call for more budget cuts comes as a surprise to some as Lopez-Obrador, a self-described leftist, has consciously spent less on government-funded efforts. In just the first seven months on the job, the administration has pushed efforts to reduce spending, which even includes Lopez-Obrador’s own salary and plans to sell off the presidential plane.

The Mexican Olympic Committee says it doesn’t have the $4.7 million needed to operate the Olympic sports center in Mexico City with full resources due to these cuts. The sports complex has various track and pool facilities that include a gymnasium and velodrome. Just this year alone, government funding for sports is about 25 percent below last year’s spending.  

Critics of these budget cuts say the government is spending the same amount of money but instead reallocating it to different areas and needs. This has resulted in fears that the cuts will result in not having enough money to perform and essential tasks and duties. 

President Lopez Obrador has described his new financial plan as “republican austerity.” This is causing some concerns in Mexico. 

Credit: Twitter/@emposts 

Besides just athletics, there is increasing stress for other civic services. Researchers and archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History told the Washington Post that almost 200 employees have been cut since the year began. These latest announced cuts have renewed fears of more layoffs coming in the near future. 

“We have gone from republican austerity to Franciscan poverty,” Joel Santos, head of the researchers’ union at the institute told the Washington Post. Many of these employees are scarcely paid and are on temporary contracts, which already places a big burden on their pay and livelihood. 

Throughout the government spectrum, there has been visible cuts and elimination of positions like consultancy and management positions. All while thousands of more public servants have resigned or quit altogether. 

Some of these funds being cut are essential to certain projects being worked on throughout Mexico. 

Credit: Twitter/@marybsheridan

While Mexico’s budget, $5.8 trillion pesos ($304 billion), may look similar to last year, it just means that Lopez Obrador is putting it to use in different areas. These decisions are well in his power and are following his budget plan that he crafted back in December. 

“There is money,” Valerie Moy, an economist told the Washington Post. “It’s just being redirected to the president’s social and infrastructure projects, some of which appear to be almost whims that lack sound research to determine their viability or potential negative impacts.”

There are some concerns that these cuts are being made without proper consideration. Finance Minister Carlos Urzua left his position just last week due to what he says is the public policy decisions the administration is doing “without sufficient sustenance.”

“It’s what the president decides, what the president wants — and that’s what’s done,” Moy said.

There is no say when or what will be cut next but it may have a huge effect on things bigger than sports. 

Credit: Twitter/@vfelbabbrown

Back in May, Mexico City was hit with severe smog that was caused by nearby wildfires. Experts say that the looming air pollution could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the budget cuts to environmental services that deal with this type of detection.

“All of these activities could be seriously compromised if the austerity measures are applied indiscriminately,” Mexico’s Science and Technology Consultative Forum said in a statement this year. “If that happens, it would be an irredeemable setback in Mexico’s effort to achieve robust national development, and would make us even more dependent on what occurs beyond our borders.”

READ: The Peso Plummets After Mexico’s Finance Minister Quits And Calls Out Corruption In AMLO’s Government

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