Things That Matter

Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

On Friday, previously undisclosed court documents revealed that almost 9,000 unaccompanied migrant children seeking refuge were denied access to the U.S. and subsequently expelled from U.S. soil. None of these children were given a chance in court.

According to reporting done by CBS News, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have “suspended humanitarian protections” for most migrants crossing the border, on the grounds that “public health law overrides asylum, immigration and anti-trafficking safeguards” in the era of COVID-19.

CBS news made the shocking discovery when investigating the problematic and increased practice of holding and detaining minors in unregulated, privately contracted hotel rooms.

The government is arguing that the practice is keeping the American public safe from possibly COVID-19 exposure from unauthorized migrants.

“What we’re trying to do…is remove all individuals, regardless of whether they’re children — minors — or they’re adults,” Customs and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan said in an August media briefing.

He continued: “We’re trying to remove [the migrants] as fast as we can, to not put them in our congregate settings, to not put them into our system, to not have them remain in the United States for a long period of time, therefore increasing the exposure risk of everybody they come in contact with.”

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But critics are claiming that the Trump Administration is using COVID-19 as an excuse to unlawfully expel as many migrants as possible–regardless of their age.

On Friday, federal Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered the administration to put an end to the practice of detaining children in hotel rooms, saying that hotels do not “adequately account for the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors in detention”. She asked the government to put an end to the practice by September 15th.

It is in the court documents regarding the above case that 8,800 expelled migrant children number was revealed.

“The numbers are stunning,” said executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Lindsay Toczylowski, to CBS News. “…To find out that our government has literally taken children who are seeking protection and sent them back to the very places they fled in such high numbers really took my breath away.”

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US Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz has defended the unsafe hotel detainment and speedy expulsion of migrant children, saying that stopping the practice would increase risk of exposure to health and customs officials alike.

But even if the practice comes to an end, the staggering number of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children left to their own devices is sitting heavy on the soul of advocates and activists.

“It’s just completely contrary, not only to all child protection norms and standards, but also just completely contrary to our values as a nation around protecting the most vulnerable,” said vice president for international programs at Kids in Need of Defense Lisa Frydman to CNN. “Because we are just wholesale shipping them out without making sure that it’s safe for them to go.”

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Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Culture

Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2020 has been, well, the year from hell. But, like with any terrible events, there has been a few silver linings. More flexible work schedules. More alone time with family members.

And now, the mother of all silver linings: hands-free Cholula dispensers.

No, we’re not kidding. Earlier this month, the cult-favorite hot sauce brand announced that they have partnered with appliance tech company simplehuman to develop a hands-free dispenser for restaurants. Per Cholula, the invention was made in response to the need for a safer way to dispense hot sauce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When restaurant operators began removing Cholula bottles from tabletops amid the pandemic, we needed to develop a solution that could adapt to their new environment,” said Cholula’s CEO, Maura Mottolese, in a press release. “The collaboration between simplehuman and Cholula combines the best in technology and taste to revolutionize the condiment station to meet the needs of the customer and the foodservice industry in the ever-changing landscape that is 2020.”

The invention is–dare we say–genius.

Various video demonstrations of the gadget show that a user need only to hover the hand over the Cholula dispenser to be gifted with a glorious stream of hot sauce coming out of its little faucet.

Additionally, the company revealed that the Cholula dispensers would be available for private commercial purchase. According to Cholula, the Touch-Free dispensers will be available for a limited time on Cholula’s website–just in time for the holidays.

“Cholula diehard consumers will have a rare opportunity to purchase a limited number of Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispensers, the essential gift for contactless holiday meals, starting December 1, 2020 at www.Cholula.com/handsfree,” wrote the hot sauce brand in a press release.

“Optimized for the best saucing experience, the flash sale promotion, priced at $130, includes a Cholula x simplehuman Touch-Free Dispenser PLUS a half-gallon jug of Cholula Original and free shipping.”

Cholula revealed that 100% of the proceeds will go towards the Independent Restaurant Coalition, which is a “nonprofit formed by notable chefs like Tom Colicchio to save independent restaurants affected by COVID-19.”

Naturally, people are hyped that Cholula is selling the hands-free hot sauce dispenser to customers.

This is the type of gift that keeps on giving.

Honestly, “hot sauce innovation” is exactly the type of innovation we need coming out of 2020.

TBH, we deserve good things right now. Thank you Cholula.

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As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Things That Matter

As El Paso Becomes A Covid-19 Hotspot, One Nurse Says The Most Severe Patients Are Being Left To Die In “The Pit”

Cengiz Yar / Getty Images

Cities across the United States are experiencing the worst yet of the Coronavirus pandemic. From California to New York, the country is struggling. However, one area that has emerged as a severe hot spot for the virus is El Paso, Texas.

The city has emerged as one of the nation’s hardest-hit regions. To put it into perspective, El Paso has more active Covid-19 infections than the entire country of Mexico.

In addition to a major spike in cases, the city is also seeing an increase in Covid-19 deaths that is seriously overwhelming healthcare workers, public health officials, and the network of morgues. It’s so bad that the city was using inmates to help transport bodies until the Texas’ governor finally deployed the National Guard to assist.

El Paso is emerging as the face of the second wave in the U.S. and the scenes are terrifying.

The El Paso community is struggling to control it’s severe spike in Covid-19 cases as it becomes a national hot spot for the pandemic. As infection rates rise, El Paso has registered more active Covid-19 cases than the entire country of Mexico.

El Paso (a city of 840,000 people) has 34,487 active cases while Mexico (a nation of 129 million) has 23,284. Although, it’s worth noting that many say Mexico’s actual number could be as many as ten times higher thanks to a severely-limited testing program.

El Paso’s government has attempted to get ahead of the virus and had implemented a wide-ranging stay-at-home order that called for hair salons, gyms and restaurant dine-in services to close. However, a court ruling last week by the 8th Circuit struck down that order, putting thousands of lives at risk.

One nurse went viral after telling her story inside “the pit” where many victims are left to die.

One nurse who worked in an El Paso hospital has gone viral after sharing her harrowing story from inside a Covid-19 hospital. In a nearly hourlong Facebook Live video, Lawanna Rivers, a traveling nurse, said that her time spent at the University Medical Center of El Paso was the worst experience she’s had since the pandemic began.

“Out of all the COVID assignments I’ve been on, this one here has really left me emotionally scarred,” she said. “The facility I’m at has surpassed the one I was at in New York.”

Rivers was most upset about how the sickest patients at the hospital were treated. She said they were all put into an area called a “pit,” where they are essentially left to die.

“My first day at orientation, I was told that whatever patients go into the pit, they only come out in a body bag,” Rivers said.

Rivers said doctors at the hospital would not enter the area, and nurses like herself who were stationed in them were under orders to perform CPR just three times on a patient before letting them die.

Rivers said she learned that doctors wouldn’t enter the pit when she called a physician for help one day with a patient who was bleeding profusely. She said the doctor told her they don’t go into the rooms for the sickest COVID-19 patients, so as to not expose themselves to the disease.

Inmates are joining the frontlines as they help to move the bodies of Covid-19 victims.

Credit: Justin Hammel / Getty Images

As the city struggled to manage the spiraling number of infections and deaths, inmates at the County Detention Facility were called upon to assist the El Paso Medical examiner with the overflow of bodies at the morgue.

Inmates were seen in full PPE gear assisting mobile morgues with the rising body count. A spokesperson for the county did not further detail exactly what the inmates were being asked to do but that they were being paid $2 per hour and were serving time for low-level sentences. The county also defended the decision to use inmate labor, saying it was either that or force families to wait even longer to start funeral arrangements.

The National Guard has been called upon to help work in mortuaries.

Credit: Ivan Aguirre / Getty Images

After El Paso resorted to using county jail inmates to move bodies for nearly two weeks, the Texas Army National Guard is sending a 36-person team to assist with mortuary services.

“This is very much needed in our community, and we’re really thankful for [the Texas Division of Emergency Management] and the governor’s action on this,” Democratic state Rep. and Sen.-elect César Blanco said Friday.

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