Things That Matter

A Migrant Father Died In US Custody So His Daughter Is Now Being Treated Like An Unaccompanied Minor

An anonymous whistleblower reported to the Associated Press another fatality at the hands of U.S. Border Patrol Custody. The man was a 43-year-old father who traveled with his daughter from El Salvador for refuge in the U.S. He and his daughter were held for a week at the Rio Grande Valley central processing center in McAllen, Texas.

The unidentified man collapsed at the facility and was transferred to a hospital where he later died. A statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection offers no information yet on the cause of the man’s death.

His death is the seventh since December 2018.

@MasoKitchen / Twitter

Before then, there had not been a single reported migrant death in federal custody in more than a decade. New administration policies, likely fueled by privatized detention facilities, force asylum seekers to be detained in what are being referred to as concentration camps. The centers are overcrowded, creating unsafe and unsanitary conditions for migrants.

The man’s daughter is expected to be transferred to a facility like this.

@CNNPolitics / Twitter

There is no report of the daughter’s age or condition after her father’s death. She was in Border Patrol custody but officials have submitted an expedited transfer to a shelter specifically geared toward unaccompanied minor migrants. The goal is to release her to a sponsor, but it will likely take weeks or months until she finds a semblance of home.

Meanwhile, breaking news of a Facebook group for Border Patrol agents corroborates a culture of violence and disdain for migrants.

Untitled. Digital Image. ProPublica. 1 July 2019.

Last week, a Salvadoran father and one-year-old daughter drowned in the Rio Grande. The group, called “I’m 10-15” which is Border Patrol code for the arrest of an ‘illegal alien’, is filled with desensitized posts like this one.

News of Congress members arriving at Border Patrol facilities prompted members of the group to respond violently.

Untitled. Digital Image. ProPublica. 1 July 2019.

Included in the Facebook group discussion, as reported by ProPublica, includes photoshopped images of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being violently forced to perform sexual acts on President Trump.

Out of respect for the Congresswoman, we have chosen not to disclose those images here. Instead, the lighter option is an example of a Border Patrol agent suggesting a racist and violent group effort “to throw a 10-15 burrito at one of these b***es. Who ever does it takes the pot of $$$.” We don’t know what a 10-15 burrito is but we’re sure it’s racist AF.

AOC pointed out that almost half of the total CBP agents in the U.S. belong to this Facebook group.

@AOC / Twitter

These people are in positions of power, meant to oversee the treatment of traumatized refugees in horrific living conditions. The Facebook group offers no hope that CBP culture is respectful of migrants or women.

Just today, AOC visited several CBP facilities and reported that women were told to hydrate from toilet water.

@AOC / Twitter

AOC’s first-hand report comes in just days after a doctor reported that breastfeeding mothers were only given 1.5 liters of water per day, less than half the minimum amount required. The doctor also reported that children were losing weight in American facilities.

“CBP made us check our phones,” AOC tweeted.

@AOC / Twitter

“But one woman slipped me this packet to take with me,” tweets AOC alongside a photo. “It says “shampoo,” but she told me that this is all they give women to wash their entire body. Nothing else. Some women’s hair was falling out. Others had gone 15 days without taking a shower.”

If migrants are dehumanized, how can their medical needs be taken seriously?

@AOC / Twitter

“Now I’ve seen the inside of these facilities. It’s not just the kids. It’s everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of members Congress,” AOC followed up in a tweet.

“I brought it up to their superiors. They said, ‘officers are under stress & act out sometimes.’ No accountability.” It should never be a permissible cathartic act for an employee to force women to drink from toilets. These are government employees paid by our taxes.

An aerial view of a detention facility exemplifies the conditions under which seven migrants have died.

@PatrickGilmore / Twitter

The U.S.’s capacity for detained migrants is 4,000 people. We currently have 15,000 in custody because our administration prefers indefinite detention.

We wish we knew the name of the man who bravely made the journey from El Salvador to give his daughter a better life. We’re so sorry the last week of your life was spent here.

READ: A Secret Facebook Group For Immigration Officers Mocking Dead Migrants Has Been Exposed

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

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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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