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

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Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

Things That Matter

Here Are The Executive Actions That President Biden Is Signing His First Day In Office

Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool / Getty Images

President Joe Biden has a lot of work ahead of him and he is hitting the ground running. On his first day in office, President Biden has a series of executive actions he is signing to reverse a lot of the damage created by the Trump administration. Here are some of the things President Biden will do with these actions.

The border wall on the southern border is done, y’all.

President Biden is saving the taxpayers billions of dollars by halting the construction of President Trump’s border wall. The border wall is one of former President Trump’s several unfulfilled promises at the expense of the taxpayers.

Despite his unrelenting campaign, Mexico never paid a dime to the wall. President Biden’s action to halt the border wall is a humanitarian and conservationist move that will save billions of tax dollars. According to estimates, there would be $3.3 billion in unused funds in the projects accounts.

The emotionally devastating Muslim ban will finally come to an end.

Former President Trump famously put an end to travel from predominantly Muslim countries. The order arbitrarily excluded a group of people based on their religion. The order that has kept families apart for years is finally coming to an end thanks to President Biden.

President Biden’s ation will bring families together and safeguards the rights of religious freedom. The ban has kept spouses separated, children apart from parents, and caused real damage. There is more to be done to make up for the stain on American history and the action is the first step.

The Keystone XL Pipeline is toast.

We all remember the terrifying scenes of Native people being brutalized by federal officials under Trump’s command. President Biden will make sure that the permit for the pipeline is revoked and put an end to a project that has been devastating the Native community. Activists have been fighting for years to get this done.

Undocumented people will have to be included in census counts.

President Biden is getting rid of the Trump administration’s terrible policy of ignoring undocumented people in the census. There have been several arguments by officials that the move would work to undermine certain states. The policy would take federal money away from states that did not support the former president and have high undocumented populations.

President Biden is going to preserve DACA.

More than 600,000 people benefit from the Obama-era program. Former President Trump waged a war against DACA and Dreamers for political points. Most Americans support DACA and a pathway to citizenship for DACA beneficiaries. With the new executive action, President Biden will instruct the federal government to restore the program to its fullest.

There is still a lawsuit the Biden administration will have to fight. The lawsuit challenging DACA’s legality was filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

In total, President Biden will sign 17 executive actions that will roll back several issues created by the previous administration.

“Today, hours after taking the oath of office, President-elect Biden will take a historic number of actions to deliver immediate relief for families across America that are struggling in the face of converging crises. He will sign a combination of executive orders, memoranda, directives, and letters to take initial steps to address these crises, including by changing the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief, tackling climate change, and advancing racial equity,” reads a statement from the Biden-Harris Transition Team. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward. These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president.”

READ: President Joe Biden’s And Vice President Kamala Harris’ Inauguration Represented America

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

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