Things That Matter

We Now Have A Better Look At What Migrants Are Facing In Detention Centers Thanks To Joaquin Castro And A Secret Camera

The growing list of allegations against ICE, DHS, and Border Patrol sent a group of members of Congress to Texas on Monday. Their mission was to get inside a for-profit migrant detention center.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Veronica Escobar, and Joaquin Castro were among the group that traveled to Texas to visit what many are calling a migrant prison.

While they had to check their phones with security, many of them took to Twitter to share the horrors they saw inside. Castro, however, managed to take photos and videos, further proving that the heartbreaking conditions at these facilities are unacceptable.

Castro’s secretly captured footage shows the shocking conditions inside migrant detention centers.

Credit: @thehill / Twitter

Castro, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, led a delegation of more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers to tour the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities in southwest Texas on Monday.

The delegation was told to “surrender their phones” ahead of the tour, AOC wrote on Twitter. But Castro “was able to get a device in.”

Castro said in an interview that he had no second thoughts about taking and sharing the images after officials had asked the lawmakers on a facility tour to leave their cellphones behind. He posted the images after visiting a station in El Paso. 

The group was able to meet with women who wanted their photos and stories to be shared with the world.

Credit: @RawStory / Twitter

The congressional members met with a group of women in custody who agreed to be filmed and gave their names, according to a senior aide in Castro’s office.

His undercover videos showed women who had been denied showers for more than two weeks and others who had been denied medication.

Castro posted the video on his Twitter account purportedly showing the women, who he said were all from Cuba, sitting in sleeping bags on a concrete floor of a small cell, which he said had a toilet but no running water to drink from or to wash their hands.

“Many said they had not bathed for 15 days,” Castro tweeted. “Some had been separated from children, some had been held for more than 50 days. Several complained they had not received their medications, including one for epilepsy.”

And showers that are so tiny it would seem impossible to even turn around in them.

Next, the delegation toured a border patrol station in Clint, which Castro said houses children and some parents. Castro posted a video on Twitter purportedly showing the mobile shower units there, which he described as “dank, dirty” and “small in number for the hundreds of people there just a few weeks ago.”

Castro also recounted seeing a young boy in custody at the facility who smiled and “pressed his face against the dirty glass of a locked steel door,” trying to talk to them through the thick glass.

Credit: @carol_canderson / Twitter

Ingraham —a virulent racist who has cozied up to white nationalists and continued to downplay the inhumanity of separating migrant children from their families and placing them in cages — chimed in, comparing the conditions for children in detention to those of U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq.

Castro shot back: ““You’re a white supremacist, Laura. And, no, I don’t think refugees should be kept in war-zone conditions in the most prosperous nation on earth.”

READ: According to AOC, Agents At Texas Detention Center Are Telling Migrants To Drink Water From Toilets

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Lawmakers Want To Include ‘Selena’ In The National Film Registry

Entertainment

Lawmakers Want To Include ‘Selena’ In The National Film Registry

RICCO TORRES/AFP via Getty Images

“Selena” is one of the most influential and impactful movies of our generation. We all remember watching Jennifer Lopez embody the Tejana queen of music. The 1997 biopic is a classic and there is finally talk of including it in the National Film Registry.

“Selena” is one of the most impactful movies of our childhoods.

The 1997 movie was something that we watched over and over when we were younger. We sang the songs and basically learned all of the lines of this movie. It is arguably one of the first times we saw our culture and one of our icons’ stories told for the masses.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is pushing for “Selena” to officially be recognized.

Movies are a crucial part of telling the full story of American life. The National Film Registry is a list of movies that are honored for their cultural impact. “Real Women Have Curves,” “West Side Story,” and “Zoot Suit” are all part of the National Film Registry. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, is the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and wrote a letter asking for the consideration of “Selena.”

“As a next step, we also wish to formally nominate the 1997 film ‘Selena’ for inclusion in the National Film Registry in 2021,” reads the letter. “Directed by Gregory Nava and starring Jennifer Lopez and Edward James Olmos, the film depicts the life, remarkable rise, and tragic death of Tejana music star Selena Quintanilla.”

There is a lot of hope that the Library of Congress will make this happen.

Selena represents that first major and successful jumps from the Latino market to the mainstream that many of us can remember. We finally had someone who looked like us and understood our cultural struggles in a real way. Our story was being told and the film about the music icon was so important in guiding some of us through our own cultural struggles.

“The film also touches on important themes of cultural identity and assimilation faced by Mexican American communities as they navigate their personal connections to two cultures and languages,” the letter continues to explain. “The film has become a beloved icon of Latino culture and has found widespread mainstream success, proving once and for all that Latino stories are American stories.”

Selena is the kind of cultural phenomenon that comes once in a lifetime.

The singer was able to build an impressive legacy that has endured for longer than she was alive. We were raised with her music and told her story over and over to keep us all tuned in to the fact that we could do anything. If Selena could break into the mainstream audience, we could all be that successful.

“Given its importance as a work of Latino cinema, we believe it is deserving of preservation at the Library of Congress. We trust you will give ‘Selena’ careful consideration, and hope to see it included in the titles added to the National Film Registry in 2021,” Rep. Castro further explains in the letter. “We also expect to identify other films which feature the American Latino experience and urge you to devote careful consideration to Latino films when considering films for the registry as well.”

Here’s hoping that “Selena” gets the official recognition it clearly deserves.

We all have our fingers crossed that this movie will earn its place in the National Film Registry because it deserves that kind of praise.

READ: Part 2 Of “Selena: The Series” Has Already Finished Filming And Here’s Everything We Know About The Next Season

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

Things That Matter

Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

Julio César Aguilar / Getty Images

As the number of parents and children crossing the border continues to increase, driven by violence and poverty in Central America, many are growing desperate while being forced to wait in migrant camps in Mexico. While crossings have not reached the levels seen in previous years, facilities that hold migrants are approaching capacity, which has been reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is forcing many to check the status of their claims by crossing into the U.S. to speak to border agents. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more women are being forced to give birth in less than ideal situations – putting at risk both the lives of the mother and child.

A migrant woman gave birth on a bridge between U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Mexican border authorities, a Honduran woman gave birth on the Mexican side of the border bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. The woman was apparently trying to reach the U.S. side, but felt unsteady when she got there and was helped by pedestrians on the Mexican side waiting to cross.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said the birth occurred Saturday afternoon on the Ignacio Zaragoza border bridge, also known as “Los Tomates.” It said authorities received an alert from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials regarding “a woman trying to enter the country improperly.”

It said the woman was taken to a hospital in Matamoros, where she was given free care. Her child will have the right to Mexican citizenship.

Hernández is hardly the first woman to give birth while hoping to cross into the U.S.

Just last month, a woman gave birth along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. She had just crossed the river and her smugglers were yelling at her to keep moving as U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived. But she couldn’t continue, fell to the ground, and began to give birth.

The mother and her her daughter are safe and in good health. “They treated me well, thank God,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she fears retribution if she’s forced to leave the country, in an interview with ABC News.

“There’s so many women in great danger,” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, told ABC News. “They must really think before they do what they do and risk the life of their unborn child.”

Like so many other women, Hernández was waiting in Mexico under Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Hernández was reportedly among about 800 migrants sheltering in an improvised riverside camp while awaiting U.S. hearings on their claims for asylum or visas. Other migrants are waiting in Matamoros, but have rented rooms.

Thousands of other migrants are waiting in other Mexican border cities for a chance to enter the U.S. — some for years. The Trump administration has turned away tens of thousands at legal border crossings, first citing a shortage of space and then telling people to wait for court dates under its “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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