Things That Matter

This 11-Year-Old Read A Heartbreaking Letter To Trump About Her Mom Being Deported And It’s A Must Watch

If you aren’t a political junkie who has tuned in to watch every last minute of the Democratic National Convention this week, there’s a lot that was totally fine for you to have missed. It’s had its share of tacky, dull moments and plenty of self-congratulating.

But, last night, there was a moment that everyone should take two minutes to watch. The moment featured an 11-year-old girl with a story so similar and familiar to so many Latinos across the country. The girl, whose mother was deported to Mexico in 2018, helps us all put a face and a very articulate voice to a daily tragedy that we should never stop thinking about: the separation of children from their parents due to harsh U.S. immigration policies.

Estela Juárez stole the spotlight with a powerful letter to Donald Trump about her mother’s deportation.

Eleven-year old Estela Juarez was undoubtedly the star at last night’s Democratic National Convention. As the daughter of an undocumented immigrant who was deported in 2018, she read an emotional letter directly to Donald Trump decrying his hurtful and inhumane immigration policies.

“My mom is my best friend,” Juarez said in a letter she read aloud, addressed to Donald Trump. “She came to America as a teenager over 20 years ago, without papers, in search of a better life. She married my dad, who served our country as a marine in South America, Africa, and Iraq. My mom worked hard and paid taxes, and the Obama administration told her she could stay.”

“Mr. President, my mom is the wife of a proud American Marine, and the mother of two American children,” Estela Juarez said. “We are American families. We need a president who will bring people together, not tear them apart.”

In her statement, she added that her father, a naturalized American citizen who immigrated from Mexico, had voted for Trump in 2016 with the expectation that Trump would protect military families, but would not vote for him in 2020. The video featured footage of Trump stating that he did not want immigrants in the U.S. and that they are “not people.” It also included news coverage of the families being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“My dad thought you would protect military families, so he voted for you in 2016, Mr. President,” she said, addressing Trump. “He says he won’t vote for you again after what you did to our family. Instead of protecting us, you tore our world apart.”

The Juárez family gained national attention when her mother was deported because of her father’s service to the country.

Credit: Alejandra Juarez / Facebook

In 2018, the Florida family gained national attention after Immigration and Customs Enforcement confiscated Alejandra’s passport and pressured her to self-deport to Mexico. Estela described how her mother was able to live in the country during the Obama administration.

The family’s case was widely publicized because of her husband Temo Juarez’s military status. She also was one of the subjects of the Selena Gomez-produced Netflix documentary series Living Undocumented.

Another family who Trump has terrorized with his immigration policies also spoke last night.

Another family who has been hurt by Trump’s immigration policies also took the state last night. Silvia Sanchez and her daughters, Jessica and Lucy, spoke about their journey to the U.S. and how Trump’s policies have made them fearful for their futures.

Silvia shared her story of crossing the border without documents after doctors in her hometown said that they would not be able to care for Jessica, who has spina bifida, a birth defect that affects the spine.

“I took my baby in my arms and traveled for days to the border,” said Silvia, in Spanish. “When we got to the river, I raised her above the water and we crossed.”

While Lucy is a citizen and Jessica is a Dreamer, Silvia is still undocumented. The three explained how Trump’s policies have brought back fears the family will be separated and that Jessica will be unable to get health care because she does not have the right ID to get insurance through an exchange. “We work hard. We make ends meet. We pay taxes,” said Silvia.

These emotional, human-centered issue montages dominated the opening 30 minutes of the Democratic National Convention’s third night. A segment on gun control concluded with an address from former Rep. Gabby Giffords, while a climate change segment included scientists who resigned from the administration. But the issue where it was apparent Democrats have come the furthest in four years was immigration—the policy area that might be least hospitable to abstractions after four years of Donald Trump.

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Stacey Plaskett Stole The Show At Impeachment Hearing While Connecting Trump To Violent Attack On Capitol Building

Things That Matter

Stacey Plaskett Stole The Show At Impeachment Hearing While Connecting Trump To Violent Attack On Capitol Building

Handout / Getty Images

Update Jan. 10, 2020

The second day of Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment is highlighting the rhetoric that led to the horrific insurrection on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan 6. House impeachment managers have laid out a timeline linking Trump and his words to the attack. U.S. Virgin Island Delegate Stacey Plaskett made it all real clear.

The second day of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial brought to light more violence.

Rep. Joe Neguse highlighted a threat that come from an affidavit highlighting a selfie video. The video was recorded by Dawn Bancroft and threatened direct violence against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain, but we didn’t find her,” Bancroft said in the video, according to the affidavit.

The impeachment managers really drove home the point that Trump’s attempt to overturn the election laid the groundwork for the coup.

The Trump campaign spent months trying to overturn the election with numerous lawsuits in key swing states. All of the lawsuits were thrown out but that didn’t stop Trump and his campaign from pushing rhetoric that cast doubt on the democratic process. The focus weighed heavily on Michigan.

“Think about it. The President of the United States was calling public officials, calling from the White House, inviting them into the Oval Office, telling them to disenfranchise voters of her state, telling them to overturn the will of the American people,” Rep. Madeleine Dean, a House impeachment manager, said on the Senate floor. “All to take the election for himself.”

Stacey Plaskett caught everyone’s attention with her cape and recalling the Texas highway tape.

There is a lot of talk on Twitter from women celebrating Plaskett for wearing a cape to defend democracy. The first-ever delegate to be a House impeachment manager recalled the video of vehicles with Trump flags trying to run a Biden/Harris bus off the road in Texas.

Trump and other Republicans celebrated the caravan of vehicles that tried to run the Biden/Harris bus off the road. It was a moment in American political history that showed the worst of American voters. Trump tweeted the video the following day saying “I LOVE TEXAS!”

Plaskett took the hand of everyone watching her speak and led them from the Texas highway incident right to the Capitol attack.

Plaskett did not hold back and showed how the attack was coordinated and anything but a secret. The U.S. Virgin Islands representative laid out the path from the caravan to the people who orchestrated the violent attack aiming to overturn a free and fair election.

She also highlighted how the Trump administration was not in the dark about the planned attack. According to Plaskett, the Trump administration was monitoring websites where the attack was being planned. The day before, the FBI sent a warning of a credible threat from extremists in the U.S. Yet, the Trump administration did nothing to stop the attack.

“They posted exact blueprints of the attack openly, loudly, proudly – and they did this all over public forums,” Plaskett said during her remarks. “These were not just hidden posts and dark websites that Trump would not have seen. Quite the opposite. We know President Trump monitored these websites. We know this because his advisers confirm it.”

Original: Former President Donald Trump is making history as the only president in American history to be impeached for a second time. This time, the Senate, with Democrats in the majority, is bringing a full trial against the former president. The historic impeachment started with a startling video of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The second impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump started with a chilling video of the insurrection.

The 13-minute video shows the terrifying scene at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and includes parts of the former president’s speech that day during his Stop the Steal rally. The parts of the speech include him calling for the riled-up crowd to march down to the Capitol building while members of Congress were certifying the Electoral College votes.

The video shows Trump supporters fighting with police and causing complete pandemonium. The video is hard to watch and paints a picture of the Jan. 6 insurrection that Americans might not have seen. Using various videos, the impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, created a montage of violent imagery with rioters calling for death of Congress members, destruction of the Capitol, and the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.

After the video, Rep. Raskin spoke about what it was like for him to survive the violent siege on the Capitol building. The representative’s son committed suicide one week before the attack and his daughter and son-in-law were with him in the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Like many people in the building during the violent attack, they believed they were going to die.

The opening video has struck a chord with Americans watching.

The insurrection stunned Americans when it happened. Images of elected officials running from the chambers to avoid violence and the threat of death circulated on social media. The impeachment video showed elected officials having to drop to the floor for fear that the terrorists would break through the House and Senate doors.

“People died that day. Officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. People’s eyes were gouged. An officer had a heart attack. An officer lost three fingers that day.,” Rep. Raskin said through tears after showing the video. “Two officers have taken their own lives. Senators, this cannot be our future. This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States.”

This is a historic impeachment trial as there has never been a president impeached twice.

Republican Congress members are determined to acquit Trump calling into question the constitutionality of the impeachment trial. Democrats are holding the line and demanding that he be held accountable for inciting the insurrection. Republicans and Trump’s attorneys claim that Democrats have no basis for the impeachment.

The impeachment trial is ongoing and we will update as the process continues.

READ: As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

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ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

Things That Matter

ICE Has Gone Rogue As It Continues With Deportations Despite Several Policy Changes

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Long before taking office, President Biden vowed to undo many of the Trump administration’s most cruel and inhumane immigration policies within days of taking office. But despite several executive orders, Biden’s policies have met several roadblocks and swift changes in immigration policy have yet to arrive.

One major roadblock to ending deportations has been a federal judge that placed a hold on a Biden’s executive order and the other has been a “rogue agency” that’s continued several of Trump’s immigration policies.

Migrant rights advocates are calling ICE a “rogue agency” as it faces new allegations of abuse.

Although President Biden has outlined his immigration policy and installed his new head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – which oversees ICE – the White House still does not have full control of ICE, which faces multiple allegations of human rights abuses and allegations that it has disproportionately targeted Black migrants.

The agency also continues to deport immigrants who don’t fit the categories approved for deportation by DHS – even those who had been taken off deportation flights just hours before.

Many deportees are claiming that ICE has stepped up its torture of detainees.

Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Several migrant rights groups – Freedom for Immigrants, Al Otro Lado and Advocates for Immigrants Rights – published affidavits from Cameroonian asylum seekers who they said were tortured by being forced to approve their own deportations. The asylum seekers described being forced to the floor and having their fingers inked and pressed on to deportation documents they had refused to sign.

According to The Guardian, one Cameroonian asylum seeker described being brought into a room with darkened windows where he was forced by agents to put his fingerprint on a document in lieu of a signature, waiving his rights to further legal process before deportation.

“I tried to stand up because of the force that they were using on me, and they tripped me,” HT said. “I fell on the floor; I kept my hands under my body. I held my hands tight at waist level so they could not have them. Five of the Ice officers and one of the officers in green … joined them. They pressed me down and said that I needed to give them my finger for the fingerprint.”

One man was put on a flight to Haiti even though he’s not Haitian and had never been to that country.

And despite new directives from DHS and the Biden administration, ICE continues to carry out deportation flights containing people who fit none of the current criteria for deportation.

Just last week, Paul Pierrilus, a 40-year-old financial consultant from New York, who had never been to Haiti and is not a Haitian citizen, was taken off a deportation flight at the last moment after the intervention of his local congressman, Mondaire Jones. But just days later, ICE put him on another plane and sent him to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Jones told the Guardian: “Ice is a rogue agency that must be brought to heel. There is no world in which an agency under the control of the leader of the executive branch should continue to deport people after the president of the United States signed an executive order halting deportations for 100 days.”

However, the Biden administration has also moved forward on its own with many deportations.

It’s true that a federal judge ordered the Biden administration not to enforce a 100-day pause on deportations, but the ruling did not require the government to schedule them. However, the administration has moved forward on deportations for hundreds of immigrants within the past two weeks.

It’s unclear how many of those people are considered national security or public safety threats or had recently crossed the border illegally, the priority under new guidance that DHS issued to enforcement agencies.

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