Things That Matter

She Fled El Salvador With Her Father To Escape The Civil War, Now She Is Running To Be A Judge In Texas

Selena-for-Judge / Facebook

If last year’s midterm primaries taught us anything, it was that everyone, regardless of their background or story, has a right to run for office. Furthermore, first-time politicians who want to help the marginalized community are encouraged to run, and we now have proof they can win.

Meet Selena Alvarenga, a gay immigrant of El Salvador, that is seeking to run for District Court Judge in Texas.

Facebook/Selena-for-Judge

Alvarenga’s campaign for judge of Travis County’s 460th District Court is steaming rolling right along as they prepare for an election. While this new seat has never been conquered, the election will be an exciting one to watch. It won’t take place until March 2020, but there’s no better time to jump into campaign mode.

She understands that her background isn’t a typical one, but that’s what makes her a perfect candidate to fight for people’s rights.

Credit: @selenaforjudge / Twitter

Her history as a lawyer spans two decades, and she’s an alum of St. Mary’s Law School in San Antonio.

Alvarenga migrated to the U.S. with her father in the 1970s after they fled the Salvadoran Civil War.

Facebook/Selena-for-Judge

“One day, I literally woke up, and my father said everything was packed. He said it was getting too dangerous and we had to leave. We got in the car and we started driving north,” Alvarenga said in an interview with Popsugar.

According to her website, her father worked as a computer programmer at a bank in El Salvador but in the U.S. he could only get work serving fast food. “When he finally did find a job in his field, it was in Alaska. Selena was one of three Latin American immigrants in her class.”

“I didn’t know any English, so I went to [an English as a second language] school,” she said to the publication. That adversity only helped Alvarenga excel in school.

Some of the issues she’s ready to address in her campaign include LGBTQ+ rights and ending cash bail.

Facebook/Selena-for-Judge

Her background includes serving as a current Board Member of the Austin Bar LGBTQ Association. She also seeks to reduce pretrial detention and explore alternatives to cash bail.

Click here to learn more about Selena and her campaign.

READ: These Latinx Queer Organizations Need Your Money More Than You Need Corporate Rainbow Socks

Trump Would Do Well In Remembering That His Grandfather Begged To Be Spared A Family Separating Deportation

Culture

Trump Would Do Well In Remembering That His Grandfather Begged To Be Spared A Family Separating Deportation

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Familia, what you are about to read is rich. Harper’s Magazine has recently uncovered and translated a German letter written by Friedrich Trump, President Trump’s grandfather. At the time of its writing, in 1905, Friedrich Trump was living in Bavaria as an “illegal alien” in what was then Bavaria, and had just received a letter of deportation. Trump responded by penning a letter begging for repatriation to Prince Luitpold. Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s deeply reverent yet desperate request on behalf of his family’s mental health. The family later resettled in New York.

“Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!,” it begins.

Credit: @PeterFotopoulos / Twitter

Trump begins by explaining how his “parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers.” They strictly held [him] to everything good.” He then goes on to explain that he “apprenticed to become a barber,” emigrated to America and with “God’s blessing” he “became rich.” He moved back to Kallstadt, his birthplace in Bavaria, because his wife “could not tolerate the climate in New York.” He brought his “dear family” back to Kallstadt.

He pleads on the count of not separating his family.

Credit: @glennf / Twitter

“The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age. But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria.”

“We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished.”

Credit: @fofochavez / Twitter

“My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick. Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.”

People are shooketh that POTUS hasn’t derived any empathy from his own abuelo’s experience as a deported illegal immigrant.

Credit: @MauiGigner / Twitter

Two generations later, Friedrich Trump’s grandson is the President of the United States and enacting new policies that specifically separates families at the border as a “deterrent” to immigration. When Friedrich’s reasons for immigrating was New York’s harsh climate and wanting to be close to his aging mother, we’d expect his grandson to have compassion for families who are fleeing gang violence, LGBT discrimination, and threats of death to protect their families.

That said, Bavaria rejected Trump, Sr. for dodging the military draft.

Credit: @mssenator / Twitter

Friedrich had fled Bavaria (now-Germany) when he was young as a method to escape the military draft. He obviously failed to report his emigration 20 years prior to receiving the letter because it was shady AF. Germany denied his request to stay in the country since he failed to notify the government of his emigration and for dodging the draft.

Given his recent hate speech to “send back” the four Congresswoman of color, this news has folks reeling in Trump’s own hypocrisy.

Credit: @MarioAVazquez7 / Twitter

Twitter user, Mario Vazquez, tweeted his thoughts, “HYPOCRISY: Melania, from Slovenia, illegally worked under a tourist visa in the 90s and then brought her parents over through “chain migration.” Trump’s mom immigrated from Scotland and his grandfather came from Germany. Should they all “go back” then?”

Fourth-generation Americans are chiming in acknowledging their privilege and degrading Trump’s hypocrisy.

Credit: @nosnibornasus / Twitter

What makes America great is that it did welcome Trump’s family at a time when immigration laws were tightening in the U.S. The President at the time had to veto a law passed in Congress that would require immigrants a literacy test by reading five lines of the Constitution. That POTUS rejected the requirement as un-American.

Friedrich Trump became a U.S. citizen after immigrating as an unaccompanied minor who didn’t speak English.

Credit: @AshaRangappa_ / Twitter

He certainly wouldn’t have passed Trump’s citizenship screening test that prioritizes those with Ph.D.’s and wealth. 

It seems as if our own abuelos are trying Twitter for the first time to “burn” Trump.

Credit: @RoberL01302168 / Twitter

We see you, Mr. Lopez. Solid burn.

We’ll leave you with one final reaction to the surfacing of Friedrich Trump’s letter.

Credit: @nharmertaylor / Twitter

You’re not aging very well, Mr. President. Might we suggest honoring the stories of your own ancestors? This country is built on family. Trump’s own family is built on “chain migration.” Without family, you’re just an old, unhinged, racist white-bordering-orange dude.

Despite A Video, Mike Pence Attempts To Minimize The Horrendous Conditions In Detention Centers

Things That Matter

Despite A Video, Mike Pence Attempts To Minimize The Horrendous Conditions In Detention Centers

@jdawsey1 / Twitter

After hundreds of organized protests around the country, we would hope the Trump administration would send someone to a detention center in a sincere effort to address the problem. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence was sent in a political move to combat the assertions of Democratic Congress members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib from their visit.

Reporters were allowed into the detention facility for 90 precious seconds. Pence wasn’t able to maintain his initial statement once he saw the unsanitary conditions migrants were kept in.

“What people are going to see is not the situation many Democrats have described,” Pence told reporters on Thursday.

Credit: @VP / Twitter

His full statement was actually this: “What people are going to see is not the situation many Democrats have described, but actually a situation where our CBP agents are providing humanitarian care, health care, shelter, food, sustenance in a way that would make the American people proud.

But afterward, he said, “I was not surprised by what I saw. I knew we’d see a system that was overwhelmed.”

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

While he wasn’t able to reiterate that the conditions would “make the American people proud,” or offer any hope that he or his administration would do anything about it, he did try to blame Democrats for the conditions.

“The DHS facility in McAllen is a prime example of why we need to secure our borders,” he tweeted out after the visit. “The facility is overcrowded and our system is overwhelmed. It is time for Democrats in Congress to step up, do their jobs, and end this crisis.”

White House pool reporter Josh Dawsey was only allowed in for 90 seconds, and this is what he saw.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

Dawsey said “the cages were so crowded that it would have been impossible for all of the men to lie on the concrete. There were 384 single men in the portal who allegedly crossed the border illegally. There were no mats or pillows—some of the men were sleeping on concrete.”

Agents were seen guarding the cages wearing face masks.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

That’s likely because Dawsey reports that “the stench was overwhelming.” After talking with some of the people, they told him that they hadn’t showered in weeks. They wanted toothbrushes and food. In response, CBP said, “They were fed regularly, could brush daily & recently got access to shower.” Dawsey followed that up with asserting that “many hadn’t [showered] for 10-20 days.”

Reporters didn’t feel any air conditioning in a room where the outside temperature was already 97°F.

Credit: @passantino / Twitter

CBP said it was air-conditioned but Dawsey reports that the “heat was sweltering.” The facility doesn’t have a shower, but CBP says they all showered the day before “in an outdoor trailer.” What CBP told reporters directly contradicts much of what the migrants themselves had a chance to report to the outside world.

For example, CBP told reporters that nobody had been there longer than 32 days, but this man told reporters he had been there for 40 days.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

He wasn’t the only one who told reporters that they’d been there longer. The migrants told reporters they wanted to brush their teeth and were hungry. CBP told reporters they brush their teeth daily and are fed three times a day. In Dawsey’s own words, the “stench was horrendous. CPB said it was cleaned 3x a day.” 

This is the scene that Vice President Pence saw.

Credit: @jdawsey1 / Twitter

When migrants told reporters they were thirsty, CBP said the water was outside the fence and that they could leave the barrier to get water after the press left. 

But this is the image he tweeted out to his followers.

Credit: @VP / Twitter

Conveniently, this image seems to have chairs. What Pence was directly staring at much of the time was human beings sleeping on concrete, in an environment so foul CBP agents were wearing face masks.

Dawsey reported that the children’s facility was “new and relatively clean and empty.”

Credit: @VP / Twitter

“There were cots & medical supplies & snacks,” Dawsey tweeted. “Children watched TV and told Pence through translator they were being taken care of. But at least two said they’d walked for months to get here.”

Is America proud yet?

@jdawsey1 / Twitter

The people in this image allegedly crossed the border illegally. We don’t know if they claimed asylum. We don’t know if these are people who have broken the law because they are effectively jailed without trial, in conditions worse than jail

Trump is the man behind it all. It was he who decided to enact a policy that, instead of allowing asylum seekers to set up roots in American society while awaiting trial, to detain them in facilities that are overcrowded with a judicial system that is backlogged.

Watch the video below of migrants letting reporters know what has happened to them in detention.

READ: Woman Pays The Bond Of A Woman Being Held In ICE Detention Center And The Internet Is Living For This Moment Of Kindness

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