Things That Matter

Undocumented People In The US Are Getting A Chance To Reunite With Family Thanks To This Program

It’s been two decades since Imelda Gil, 73, last saw her daughter. That’s because her daughter, Isabel, left her home of Michoacan, Mexico 20 years ago to cross illegally into the United States. Unfortunately, Isabel like many of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S, never returned.

Their story is similar to countless other undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. that leave their home country for a better life but also leave their family behind with no chance of seeing them again.

“I speak with her on the phone every three days, and with video calls, but it’s not the same as seeing her in person,” Imelda told CGTN. “She says her only concern is that something will happen to me. That I might die, and she won’t be here when it happens.”

But after years of separation and anxiety of the dangers that might await, they are finally getting the chance to reunite. As part of a unique migrant reunion program, Imelda will get a U.S. tourist visa and have the chance to meet her daughter and the American-born grandchildren she’s never met. 

Imelda is one of more than 6,000 Mexicans that have been reunited with their loved ones due to the ‘Paloma Mensajera’ or ‘Messenger Pigeon’ program that started back in 2017. 

Credit: CGTN / YouTube

The program is a joint effort between the Michoacan government, the U.S. State Department, and various local migrant organizations. One of those organizations is the Migrant Advocate which is run by Marco Ramirez. He says that the program goes a long way in helping bridge families together even if it’s temporary. 

“Little by little, a migrant becomes indifferent about their own family. That’s what happens. You feel a connection to your loved ones when you are with them in person, and when you leave, the love and the emotion begins to go away. So whoever you talk to about this program, it’s the greatest gift we could possibly receive,” Ramirez told CGTN. 

For Imelda, this moment has been decades in the making. She was joined by 20 other Mexicans on her flight to the U.S. that were all patiently waiting to touch down on American soil. 

Few can ever relate to the emotions that many of these migrant families go through upon reuniting for the first time,

The moment that her mother gets off the plane, Isabel is overcome with emotion. She says that through everything that she’s been through the moment she saw her mom mad it worth it. 

“I feel very happy. It’s something I never thought would happen,” Isabel says upon seeing her mother for the first time in 20 years. “Because even if I cannot return to Mexico, at least God has already given me the joy of seeing her again. A person comes to this country because they want a better life for their children. In Michoacan there is a lot of murder and kidnapping. I’m scared of being forced to live through something like that,” 

For Isabel, it hasn’t been easy for her and her three children making ends meet in the U.S. She worked through multiple cleaning jobs and had to juggle taking care of three kids, all while getting by without proper citizenship. Her fears heightened as President Trump took office in 2016 and enacted a more aggressive anti-immigration policy. 

“Once you enter illegally, it’s almost impossible to become legal. A lot of them are afraid of buying a home, even if they have the money to do so. They are afraid of investing in a business, Paola Chavarro, a U.S. immigration attorney, told CGTN. “They’re afraid because they’re here today, but they could be deported fairly soon.”

Isabel fears for her safety and her immigration status keeps her on edge. She knows deportation is always a possibility but is always prepared for the worst-case scenario.

 “You have to live in the moment, and hope that when you leave the house in the morning, you will return again at night. Because you never know,” she says.

While there are constant fears, Isabel and her mother can enjoy the next month together. Even if it’s only for a short while, it’s a moment that will last a lifetime. 

READ: A New Documentary Is Showing An Untold And Heartbreaking Side Of The Undocumented Life In The United States

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Mexico Wins International Award For $100 Peso Note Featuring 17th-Century Nun Sor Juana

Culture

Mexico Wins International Award For $100 Peso Note Featuring 17th-Century Nun Sor Juana

Over the last few years, Mexico has been updated its currency to make it more secure from counterfeiters and to highlight the country’s diverse history. One of the country’s newest bills is a $100 peso note featuring a 17th-Century female historical figure and it’s winning major international awards for its design and history.

Mexico’s $100-peso bill has been named banknote of the year for 2020 by the International Bank Note Society (IBNS). As printer and issuer of the note, the Bank of México beat 24 other nominees to the award, and the Sor Juana bill led the way from the start of the voting process.

The note features national heroine Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, with the monarch butterfly biosphere reserve on its reverse.

In its announcement the IBNS wrote: “Mexico’s award-winning entry may provide a template as other countries reconsider how they design and promote new banknotes.  The successful design in eye-pleasing red combines Hispanic architecture, a famous female Hispanic literary figure and a tribute to the world’s fragile ecosystem.”

Past bank note of the year recipients include Aruba, Canada, Uganda, the Faroe Islands, two time winner Switzerland and three time winner Kazakhstan, among others.

So who was Sor Juana and why was she important to Mexico?

Born in 1651, Sor Juana was a self-educated nun and intellectual renowned for her poetry, writing and political activism, who criticized the misogyny of colonial Mexico.

Beginning her studies at a young age, Sor Juana was fluent in Latin and also wrote in Nahuatl, and became known for her philosophy in her teens. Sor Juana educated herself in her own library, which was mostly inherited from her grandfather. After joining a nunnery in 1667, Sor Juana began writing poetry and prose dealing with such topics as love, feminism, and religion.

Mexico was up against 24 other countries in the nomination process.

In second place was Kate Cranston who appears on the Bank of Scotland’s 20 pound note. The businesswoman appears on the obverse and she is recognized for being the owner of the famous tea rooms inaugurated in 1903 and that today are a tourist attraction.

In third place there was a triple tie between the 20 pound note of the Ulster Bank of Northern Ireland whose design features flora and buskers. The one from the Bahamas of 5 dollars with the image of the junkanoo dancer, and the one of 50 dollars from Fiji.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Protesters In Mexico Take To Streets To Demand Justice For Dog Brutally Killed By Man With An Axe

Things That Matter

Protesters In Mexico Take To Streets To Demand Justice For Dog Brutally Killed By Man With An Axe

Residents of one Mexican city have taken to the streets to demand justice for a local stray dog who was brutally killed in an axe attack last month. Video of the incident was uploaded to social media and quickly went viral, leading to large protests in the Sinaloan city of Los Mochis.

Hundreds marched in Los Mochis to seek justice for a dog killed by man with an axe.

Hundreds took to the streets in Los Mochis, Sinaloa to demand justice for Rodolfo, a mixed breed dog killed with an axe on March 21. They showed banners that read “Justice for Rodolfo & for all who have no voice,” “We won’t stop until we have justice,” and “Justice for Rodolfo,” among others.

Despite the COVID-19 regulations, the participants in this new march, children, women and men, calmly marched through the center of the city of Los Mochis to make it clear that they are against animal cruelty and demanded justice for Rodolfo, who was a local stray dog. The demonstration gained traction after a video of the attack on Rodolfo, also known by Heart, Pirate and Shorty, was uploaded onto social media.

The predominantly young crowd marched to the state prosecutor’s office where environmental activist Arturo Islas Allende delivered a criminal complaint. Many brought their pets to the march and carried placards demanding the killer be sentenced to prison. One placard read: “Justice for Rodolfo and for all those that don’t have a voice.”

The suspected attacker, José “M,” a student at a Sinaloa university, has already delivered a preparatory statement to officials. Islas Allende questioned the morality of the killer. “We don’t want a psychopath like him as our neighbor,” he said.

The suspect’s girlfriend claimed that he killed the dog to protect her.

The girlfriend of the alleged attacker took to social media in his defense, saying the dog had attacked her days earlier and injured her face and hands.

On her Facebook account she claimed that medical treatments for her injuries had cost 8,000 pesos (US $400) and uploaded photographs of the injuries caused by the dog’s bites.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com