Things That Matter

Miami Film Festival Cancels Screening of Immigration Doc After ICE Detained The Movie’s Main Character

For more than a year, anti-Trump activists have speculated that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were targeting them because of their outspoken views and protests against the president. Initially, the fact that undocumented activists were getting detained by ICE soon after a rally or protest seemed like a coincidence.

An NBC News report shows that immigration officials had a “secret database of activists, journalists, and social media influencers tied to the migrant caravan and in some cases, placed alerts on their passports.” All of this goes to show that ICE is watching closely, and this next story is, unfortunately, another casualty of what it means to fight for justice and against the government.

An undocumented immigrant from Argentina was detained by ICE last week after the release of a documentary that exposes controversial truths about the immigration system and ICE.

@ForkFilms / Twitter

Claudio Rojas, 53, was initially detained in 2012 because he overstayed his visa. During this period of his detainment, according to the Associated Press, activists purposefully got arrested and detained in order to expose what was taking place inside the Broward Transitional Center, in Florida. More importantly, the activists wanted to help Rojas and others detained like him who also staged a hunger strike. The more information these activists had from the inside about Rojas, the better case they could build for him to be released.

The documentar is titled “The Infiltrators” and it won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival.

@sundanceorg / Twitter

Filmmakers Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra told the AP that Rojas was the main focus of the film, and also say that he had always been an organizer of justice. As a result of the advocacy for Rojas, ICE released him and others. Now years later, and after the release of the movie, ICE has detained him once again.

Sandy Pineda, Rojas’s attorney alleges that ICE has apprehended him once again simply because of what the film exposed.

“I definitely think it’s retaliation,” Sandy Pineda told The Washington Post. “For them to take this stance and to just arrest him so suddenly for no apparent reason, it’s very unusual.”

Rojas was supposed to attend a celebratory screening in Miami with the filmmakers but now that has been canceled.

According to the Miami Herald, organizers of the Miami Film Festival canceled the screening of “The Infiltrators” because it became too controversial since the detainment of the leading character in the documentary.

The festival didn’t want to “appear to be taking a side” on the immigration matter or “to take a political stance,” the film’s producer told the Miami Herald.

The film festival has since apologized for their action against the film.

READ: Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers’ Constitutional Rights

A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution

Things That Matter

A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution

The original wording of the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution stated, that “‘each man’s home is his castle,’ secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government. It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.” A revised version states, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In other words, authorities cannot probe into people’s private information, home or belongings, without probable cause. Those laws apply to everyone, right? That’s not what some officials in one city in the United States believe. They’re claiming those laws do not apply to undocumented immigrants. 

In 2017, police were called to check on a domestic abuse suspect in Southaven, Mississippi. They went to the wrong house and shot and killed Ismael Lopez. 

Credit: Local 24 Memphis / YouTube

On a late Sunday evening, in July of 2017, police were called to serve a warrant for the arrest of a suspected domestic abuser named Samuel Pearman. His address was 5878 Surrey Lane, CNN reported, and police ended up going to a mobile home across the street where Ismael Lopez lived with his wife. Police entered Lopez’s home and ended up shooting him in the back of the head. He died on the scene. 

“It is so troubling to learn that not only this man died but that this man died running away from people who were trespassing on his premises after he was in bed lawfully,” Murray Wells, an attorney representing the Lopez’s family, told reporters, according to CNN

The Lopez family filed a $20 million lawsuit for his death after a jury failed to indict the police officers on the scene. The City of Southaven fired back with their own lawsuit saying Lopez has no rights under the constitution because he was an undocumented immigrant.

Credit: Local 24 Memphis / YouTube

This case is like most cases involving the police, the investigation had conflicting reports. Lopez’s wife claims the police came in unannounced, and the lawyer says bullet holes outside of the home support her story. The police say that Lopez pointed a gun at them. However, Lopez’s wife said that wasn’t the case. The police also shot and killed their dog. City attorneys are also questioning the credibility of Lopez’s widow, with claims they were never married, and that she was married to multiple men. Lopez’s attorney showed the documents to prove they were legally married in 2003. 

“It’s a real shame that they have to use these tactics to soil someone’s name when she lost her partner, the love of her life, in a tragic accident,” attorney Aaron Neglia said according to the Washington Post

So, does the constitution protect undocumented immigrants? The answer is a resounding yes even though the matter is still taken up in courts all the time.

Credit: Local 24 Memphis / YouTube

“Yes, without question,” Cristina Rodriguez, a professor at Yale Law School told PBS. “Most of the provisions of the Constitution apply on the basis of personhood and jurisdiction in the United States.”

Undocumented immigrants have the right to legal counsel, under the Sixth Amendment, they also have the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment. So, if the courts are already practicing the law under the constitution when it applies to undocumented immigrants, then the Fourth Amendment and all of them for that matter apply to them as well. 

Southaven attorneys have a different point of view. According to the Washington Post, attorney Katherine S. Kerby wrote, “If he ever had Fourth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment civil rights, they were lost by his own conduct and misconduct. Ismael Lopez may have been a person on American soil but he was not one of the ‘We, the People of the United States’ entitled to the civil rights invoked in this lawsuit.”

We shall see how this case plays out in court.

Watch the full news report below.

READ: Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers’ Constitutional Rights

Arnold Schwarzenegger Celebrates Anniversary Of U.S. Citizenship By Defending Undocumented Immigrants


Arnold Schwarzenegger Celebrates Anniversary Of U.S. Citizenship By Defending Undocumented Immigrants

gretathunberg / Instagram

Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of America’s favorite action stars, best known as the apocalyptic cyborg, The Terminator, was out making the case for immigration. “I don’t blame anybody that tries to come here illegally,” the film star said. The former Republican Governor of California has his own personal ties to September 16th, Mexico’s Independence Day, which also happens to mark the day he became a citizen of the United States.

Speaking from his own experience, he has often shared his support for comprehensive immigration. “As an immigrant, I know the magnetic power of America’s greatness. As a former border Governor, I know the importance of securing our border and fixing our absurdly broken immigration system. As an American, I know that kids shouldn’t be pawns while the ‘adults’ figure it out.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger is speaking up for the undocumented and immigrant communities.

Credit: @Schwarzenegger / Twitter

Since becoming a citizen in 1983, Schwarzenegger has consistently voted Republican. However, he was also married into one of the most iconic Democratic families in history, the Kennedy’s. His wife of over twenty years, Maria Shriver, is the daughter of Eunice Kennedy and niece to 35th President, John F. Kennedy. He has often credited his in-laws as the inspiration of why he got into politics.

In 2003 he ran and was elected Governor of California. During his early days in the office, one of his most controversial actions was to repeal on a bill which would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. Activist and organizations like MALDEF, were quick to call out the new governor, especially since there was no clause that protected agencies from sharing people’s private information, and having it turned over to the federal government.

Over the years, the once Republican “Governator” (as he was dubbed), has leaned more towards the left-wing of politics.

Credit: Arnold Schwarzenegger  / Facebook

On abortion, he has been consistent in stating he is pro-choice and supports a woman’s right to choose and family planning services but also stated he does not support “partial-birth” abortions. In his second term as governor, he went against President George W. Bush’s mandate that states not fund stem cell research and authorized California to allocate $150 million in such funding. In 2008, he declared September 25 Stem Cell Awareness Day.

On gay marriage, he twice vetoed a bill that would have allowed gay marriage but believed in domestic partnerships and the right for gay couples being able to adopt. In 2008, he changed his views and publicly voiced his support that the California Supreme Court could overturn Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage.

On environmental issues, Schwarzenegger also went against traditional conservatives by signing a bill into law that puts a limit on greenhouse gas emissions. The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 made history in the state and was also the first initiative in the nation of its kind. Schwarzenegger has gone full circle, from being the first civilian to purchase a gas-guzzling Humvee in 1992, to becoming the first person to drive an electric Hummer in Santa Monica, last year.

After completing two terms, Schwarzenegger exited public office in 2011.

During the last presidential primary, he endorsed Republican nominee John Kasich and was so insulted by many of Trump’s remarks that he publicly announced his refusal to vote for Trump in the general election.

Although Schwarzenegger may have had more political ambitions, he cannot seek the highest office; since he is not a natural-born citizen, he is ineligible to run for president.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in 1947 in Austria.

Credit: Arnold Schwarzenegger / Facebook

He grew up in a very strict household and turned to bodybuilding very early on in life. His dream as a young boy was to make it to America one day and he felt fitness was the way to get there. In 1965, he won his first big competition in sports fitness claiming the title of Mr. Europe, followed by his first Mr. Universe victory in 1967.

After dominating Mr. Universe competition, four years in a row, Schwarzenegger set his sights on bringing home the title of Mr. Olympia. He ended up losing the top spot in his first attempt at Mr. Olympia but then won the following year, making him the youngest Mr. Olympia to hold the title. Schwarzenegger held on to his title, 7 years in a row.

Schwarzenegger was building his name in the world of bodybuilding and finally had made his way to America.

Credit: Arnold Schwarzenegger / Facebook

According to different interviews, Arnold has stated that he arrived in the U.S. in 1968, with only $20 dollars in his pocket, but after a week at the gym, he had made friends who helped him find a place to live and get a job, all within a few days. Never slowing down, Schwarzenegger continued to train and compete in the world of bodybuilding, with 13 titles under his belt, it wouldn’t be long before Hollywood came calling.

Joe Weider, who was the founder of the iconic Mr. Olympia competition, saw the spark in Arnold and knew he was destined for greatness and passed his name along to some Hollywood casting contacts, where he told them Schwarzenegger was a Shakespearean actor in hopes of having limited speaking time due to Schwarzenegger thick accent and limited English.

After a few small parts, Schwarzenegger landed his breakout role in 1982’s “Conan the Barbarian” and oddly enough the Australian actor’s thick, broken English accent would be what made him a standout character among others and caught the attention of “Saturday Night Live” writers.

“SNL” built a whole ongoing sketch, “Hans and Franz” who were bodybuilding gym rats with thick broken English accents based on Arnold Schwarzenegger. When asked about the skit and if he was offended, he said that he loved the skit and felt that is the most American thing that could happen to him, to be a character on a famous American show, like “SNL,” and so he took it as a true  “you know you have made it” moment.

Schwarzenegger became a household name around the world when he landed the role as the Terminator.

Credit: Arnold Schwarzenegger / Facebook

His next big role as “The Terminator” would be the one to catapult him into international superstardom. From that movie came a franchise, and other big-budget action blockbusters. Arnold Schwarzenegger name and his accent would become iconic, with audiences repeated his famous line from the movie “I’ll be back,” only to be replaced by his iconic line “hasta la vista, baby” from the sequel, “Terminator 2.”

Today, in 2019, Schwarzenegger has several fitness competitions named after him that, he has even helped bring weight training to an organization near and dear to his heart, the Special Olympics. He has continued his work on charities and environmental causes. He even has a new movie, Terminator: Dark Fate coming out later this year.

From bodybuilder to college graduate, to Hollywood film star, to part of the Kennedy family, to Governor of California, it is said the Arnold Schwarzenegger is America’s most successful immigrant.

READ: César Chávez Changed The Way Our Country Treats Immigrant Farm Workers But There’s Still A Lot Of Work To Be Done