Things That Matter

This Video Of A Mexicana And Her Parents Reuniting After 23 Years Is A Reminder That Conservatives Have Immigration Wrong

So many immigrants are all too familiar with the feeling of homesickness. From the food, the language, the culture of one’s own country, it’s an incredibly difficult process to leave a familiar life in pursuit of a something new. But perhaps most difficult of all is saying hasta luego to loved ones—sometimes for years, or, in many cases, even decades.

For Twitter user @aashleylozano, watching her mother and grandparents reunite for the first time in 23 years was a heartwarming experience that inspired many people to share their own stories of reunion and reconnection.

@aashleylozano recorded her mama as she approached her parents, @aashleylozano’s abuelos in the Portland International Airport. The three of them embrace tearfully in a moment of sheer joy, savoring the fact that they could finally hug each other after 23 years apart.

According to @aashleylozano, her mother left Petatlan, Guerrero, Mexico, due to struggles with @aashleylozano’s father. In order to separate herself from the conflict, @aashleylozano’s mom moved the family to the U.S., eventually ending up in Oregon. And after spending two decades apart, @aashleylozano’s abuelos finally got their visas approved and were able to make their way to the Pacific Northwest for a visit.

The video garnered an enthusiastic response from other immigrants (and second-generation folks), eager to share their own experiences with being separated—and reunited—with family after too much time apart.

This Latina shared a video of her dad reuniting with her abuelo.

This Latina shared a video of her mom and her tías reuniting with their parents after 15 years apart.

This Latina expressed her gratitude for belonging to a family who is lucky enough to be together. She also acknowledged the sacrifices her parents made to provide her with a better life, which is enough to give anyone escalofríos.

Many people mentioned that they couldn’t imagine being so far away from their parents for such a long time, like this Twitter user, who lamented the fact that families ever need to separate, offering hope for a better future:

This Twitter user was also optimistic, wishing that all immigrant families could experience this family’s joy:

And this Twitter user encouraged others to put themselves in immigrants’ shoes, imagining how difficult it would be to form a whole new life, in a whole new country, with a totally different culture:

Many of the replies to @aashleylozano’s original video were from people who simply had a strong emotional response to her family’s reunion. Seemingly endless tears were shed from people overwhelmed with happiness for this family finally coming together, but a lot of folks were also saddened by the fact that they were apart for so long, as so many immigrant families are. But the majority of responses were deeply positive, with people celebrating the reunion and offering blessings and well wishes for their future.

Although many people shared their own beautiful stories of reunion, many also drew attention to the difficulties of being away from family. Several Twitter users cited the deaths of grandparents that occurred while their parents were establishing new lives in the US, describing many missed opportunities to spend time with loved ones because of immigration restrictions and challenging life circumstances.

This Twitter user expressed gratitude for the fact that her mother only had to go 4-5 years without seeing her parents (which is still a super long time!), but that her uncle wasn’t as lucky, as he was never able to return to Mexico to see his parents before they passed.

This Latina’s mother has also gone more than 25 years without seeing her mama, and she acknowledged her excitement to bring her mama and her abuela together again—especially since her mama didn’t get to see her dad before he passed away two years ago.

This Latina hasn’t seen her own mom for 5 years, and @aashleylozano’s video took her through a rollercoaster of emotions.

The internet can be an amazing tool for staying connected and for offering support to people who share our most challenging experiences. No matter what one’s experience with immigration might be, it’s almost always bittersweet, with moments of joy, moments of grief, and everything in between. And interactions like @aashleylozano’s family reunion remind us to cherish the time we have with our loved ones, and to remain optimistic about what the future might hold for us and the people we care about most.

ICE Tells International Students To Go Home Or Face Deportation Because Of Switch To Online Classes

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ICE Tells International Students To Go Home Or Face Deportation Because Of Switch To Online Classes

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Just as students begin to contemplate what a fall semester might look like amid a global health pandemic, the Trump Administration has thrown another curveball at foreign university students. In a new rule issued by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, foreign students must return to their home country if their school will no longer be offering in-person learning, effectively forcing students to decide between full classrooms or international travel during a health crisis.

Once again, a cruel and poorly thought out, hastily announced rule change has thrown the lives of hundreds of thousands into doubt.

The Trump Administration announced new rules that require foreign students in the U.S. to be part of in-person classes.

Despite the global pandemic that is currently spiraling out of control in the U.S., the Trump Administration has issued new immigration guidelines that require foreign students to be enrolled in in-person learning. With this new rule, foreign students attending colleges that will operate entirely online this fall semester cannot remain in the country to do so.

The new comes just as college students begin to contemplate what their upcoming semester might look like and leaves them with an uncomfortable choice: attend in-person classes during a pandemic or take them online from another country. 

And for students enrolled in schools that have already announced plans to operate fully online, there is no choice. Under the new rules, the State Department will not issue them visas, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not allow them to enter the country. 

“Active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction to remain in lawful status,” read a release from ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program. “If not, they may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings

Already, several major universities have announced their intention to offer online learning because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

The strict new rule comes as higher education institutions are releasing information on their reopening plans. Schools are preparing to offer in-person instruction, online classes or a mix of both.

Eight percent of colleges are planning to operate online, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which is tracking the reopening plans of more than 1,000 U.S. colleges. Sixty percent are planning for in-person instruction, and 23% are proposing a hybrid model, with a combined 8.5% undecided or considering a range of scenarios. 

Harvard University is one of the latest institutions to unveil its plans, announcing on Monday that all undergraduate and graduate course instruction for the academic year will be held online. Joining Harvard’s stance are other prestigious universities, including Princeton and the University of Southern California.

The U.S. has more than 1 million international students from around the world.

The U.S. is the number one destination for foreign students around the globe. More than a million foreign students are enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities, although that number has dipped slightly in recent years – largely attributed to the election of Donald Trump.

Mexico sends more than 15,000 students to the U.S. and Brazil is responsible for 16,000 foreign students in the country. By contrast, China and India send a combined almost 600,000 students to study in the U.S.

The new rule is expected to cost U.S. colleges and universities more than $4 billion.

Credit: Eva Hambach / Getty Images

Putting aside the very real health implications of forcing students to decide between attending in-person classes or traveling back to their home country amid a global pandemic, the U.S. economy is also going to take a hit.

International students in the U.S. contributed nearly $41 billion to the national economy in the 2018-2019 academic year. According to the Institute of International Education, the vast majority of funding for international students comes from overseas, rather than being funded by their host institutions, meaning that international students are big business for American universities. While students will still be required pay tuition fees, it’s possible that a hostile policy towards people seeking to study in the US could discourage prospective students.

If fewer international students are able to study in this country, it could spell trouble for the colleges that bank on them. Over the last decade, deep cuts in state funding for higher education have put pressure on schools to admit more students who need less aid, which is why so many schools have come to rely on the revenue from foreign students, who typically pay top dollar. 

“Those students are also, by and large, paying full tuition to study in this country,” Lakhani said. “That’s a really valuable tuition base.”

Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Eliminating DACA

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Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Eliminating DACA

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

For three years, people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status faced an uncertain future. The Trump administration was involved in legal battles after abruptly eliminating the program. For the third time this week, the Supreme Court has handed down a major loss for the Trump administration as they protected DACA from Trump’s attack.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot end DACA.

The 5-4 decision is the third major legal loss for the Trump administration this week. SCOTUS ruled earlier this week that LGBTQ+ cannot be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court also refused to take up a case challenging California’s sanctuary state law letting the law stand.

The decision to temporarily protect DACA was a split decision with all of the conservative justices (Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) voting in favor of the Trump administration. Justice John Robert joined the liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan saving the program from the Trump administration, for now.

In the ruling, written by Justice John Roberts, the court cites that the acting secretary of state violated the Administrative Procedures Act when ending the program. Basically, the announcement was lacking substance and did not address key parts of the policy. This made the announcement void of an argument supporting the dismantling of the program.

The ruling is only temporary relief for the hundreds of thousands of young people on DACA.

While the program has been spared, it is not completely saved. The decision from the Supreme Court today focuses on the way DACA was eliminated, not the actual elimination. This means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now has time to reevaluate its case against DACA to try again.

“The Court still does not resolve the question of DACA’s rescission,” Alito wrote in his dissent. “Instead, it tells the Department of Homeland Security to go back and try again.”

The conservative justices, while dissenting, did release statements that agreed with parts of the decision to block the Trump administration from eliminating DACA. The Trump administration first announced that they were ending DACA in 2017 with a press conference on the border led by Jeff Sessions.

Justice Sotomayor made her own headlines after calling the case a racist attack.

“I would not so readily dismiss the allegation that an executive decision disproportionately harms the same racial group that the President branded as less desirable mere months earlier,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in her concurrence of the decision.

Organizers and activists are giving credit to the DACA community for this victory.

The DACA community has led the charge to protect their status in the U.S. The movement has largely been done thanks to the work of DACA recipients fighting for their right to be here. For many, it is the only country they know after arriving to the U.S. without proper documentation when they were young children.

The president has tweeted his clear displeasure on the Supreme Court that he tried to stack in his favor by appointing two justices.

Both justice Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were Trump’s appointees. After three losses from the Supreme Court, President Trump followed his usual playbook and accused the Supreme Court of not liking him.

Now, it is time for Congress to act.

With DACA recipients temporarily spared sudden deportation, Congress must act and pass legislation protecting Dreamers from being deported. The Dream Act is one piece of legislation that offers DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship, something most Americans agree with.

READ: ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status