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A 16-Year-Old Girl Was Strip Searched By Border Patrol Agents, And Her Father Is Seeking Justice

GoFundMe

A 16-year old San Diego girl was strip-searched by Border Patrol agents after they felt her maxi pad during a pat down.

CREDIT: Scott Catlin with his three daughters. Via GoFundMe

CBS8 San Diego reports that on September 5, the teen and her two older sisters, who are 20 and 18 years old, were crossing the U.S.-Mexico border from Tijuana into the U.S. through the San Ysidro Port of Entry after visiting their grandmother. When a K-9 unit alerted officers in the general direction where the sisters were standing in line, they were taken to secondary inspection for questioning by U.S. Customs officials. The 16-year-old was separated from her sisters, taken to another room alone by two female Customs agents where her father, Scott Catlin, claims she was touched throughout her body. When agents detected a maxi pad on her, they performed a strip search on the teen to, as Catlin described to CBS8, “make sure the pad they already touched was not contraband or had contraband.”

A lawyer speaking on behalf of Catlin and his family said the U.S. Customs officers made no attempt to contact the parents of the teen before performing the search.

This is not the first incident like this to be reported. CBS8 reports that the American Friends Service Committee, a religious organization that advocates for peace and social justice, has received 50 complaints of inappropriate touching this year. ABC News also reported that the ACLU is currently investigating several instances of abuse against minors at the hands of Border Patrol agents.

Catlin has opened a GoFundMe page to support legal fees and therapy for his daughter. On the page, he writes:

As many of you know the rights of our 3 daughters were recently violated by Homeland Security.  All 3 were traumatized, especially our youngest who was touched inappropriately in her private area (sexually assaulted) then forced to endure a demeaning and illegal strip search without consent and no parental notification. We are seeking all remedies to hold those involved accountable and to prevent other innocent parties from abuse… Together we can hold the Government and it’s agents accountable for their heinous misconduct protecting all of our vulnerable youth as well as those government agents who are honorable, follow the rules, and have basic human decency who are sullied by the misconduct of others.

To watch the CBS8 interview with Scott Catlin, click here.


READ: Corruption Among Border Patrol Agents Highlighted In This Tense Documentary

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Cristina Jimenez Moreta's Fight For Immigrants Just Won Her A $625,000 'Genius' Grant

Things That Matter

Cristina Jimenez Moreta’s Fight For Immigrants Just Won Her A $625,000 ‘Genius’ Grant

Facebook/Cristina Jimenez

Every year, the MacArthur Foundation hands out a $625,000 “no-strings-attached” award to creative geniuses in various fields. Academics, engineers, activists, writers, and musicians have all won the award, including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Sandra Cisneros.

There’s no application for the MacArthur fellowship, so the recipients often have no idea that they’re being considered. According to the MacArthur Foundation website, this is the criteria for selecting the fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity.
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments.
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Cecilia A. Conrad, a managing director of the foundation and the leader of the fellows program, told The New York Times that the whole point of handing out this money to great minds is to inspire others to do amazing work.

The 24 winners of 2017 MacArthur Foundation fellowship were announced yesterday and Cristina Jiménez Moreta was one of the winners.

Cristina Jiménez Moreta is one of the MacArthur Fellowship winners that won $625,000.

CREDIT: Facebook/Cristina Jimenez

The 33-year-old told The Washington Post that she could not believe the news. She was informed weeks ago but had to keep it a secret until the news was formally announced.

I felt like it just took me a few minutes to believe — is this really happening?” Moreta tells The Washington Post. “For me, this recognition is a recognition of the lives of undocumented people, of the work that we have been doing to advocate and create change.”

Moreta, the co-founder of United We Dream, was recognized for her work as an immigration rights activist.

CREDIT: Facebook/United We Dream

Founded in 2008, United We Dream is a national youth-led organization that fights for the fair treatment of immigrants, regardless of immigration status.

Moreta knows the struggles that immigrants face very well. She came to the U.S. from Ecuador as an undocumented immigrant when she was 13.

CREDIT: Facebook/Cristina Jimenez

According to the MacArthur Foundation, Moreta was chosen for “changing public perceptions of immigrant youth and playing a critical role in shaping the debate around immigration policy.”

After winners were announced, Moreta posted this lovely message on her Facebook, thanking her parents for their hard work.

CREDIT: Facebook/Cristina Jimenez

She writes: “To my family and community, you have been with me and United We Dream throughout the years. Thank you for your love and support. I’m humbled to have received the FDR’s Freedom from Fear Medal from the Roosevelt Institute and have been selected as a MacArthur fellow by the MacArthur Foundation. I could only think of my parents as I received the news of this award. It was my mother and father who heroically risked everything to come to the United States from Ecuador seeking a better life for my family.

This award celebrates the resilience and strength of my parents and and of all immigrants who’ve defeated the odds to make the United States their home. As a proud immigrant woman of color, I ask the country to see me, see my brother, my parents, and the generations of immigrants who’ve come before. This recognition symbolizes the pathways we take to survive and thrive.”

Moreta says this award isn’t just about fighting Donald Trump’s racist politics but about recognizing what immigrants have to offer this country.

“Regardless of what Trump or anyone has to say, this award recognizes our courage, our sacrifices of the community, our humanity, and that this is our home,” Moreta told ThinkProgress. “This award and this journey really reflects that community [of undocumented immigrants] and the power and courage that comes with it when you’re dreaming together of what you want to achieve.”

READ: Activists, Politicians And Celebs React To The Announcement To Rescind DACA

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