Things That Matter

Town Outraged After Gas Station Worker Threatens to Call ICE on Spanish-Speaking Latinas

After a viral video surfaced of a Mobile gas station employee threatening that “ICE will come” for the Mexican women simply trying to buy chips, community protests have led to the suspension of the employee. That’s not enough for the community members of Naperville, Illinois, who are continuing to protest outside the gas station until the racista is fired.

Speaking Spanish is not a crime in this country, but racists are feeling empowered more and more often to harass brown people for speaking Spanish.

Carolina Buitron and her visiting family from Mexico just wanted to buy some chips.

@GarciaJuanPOL / Twitter

Buitron told NBC Chicago that they were speaking Spanish when the cashier, self-identified as Joseph Phillip Daniel on his social accounts, assumed they were “illegals” and asked them to leave.

Buitron said that once “he started asking about my cousins, if they were illegal, family or friends, are they adopted,” she took out her cell phone and started recording to Facebook Live.

“I am an American,” Daniel says, pointing to himself.

@GarciaJuanPOL / Twitter

He asks the woman in the video, “Are you a citizen?” to which she responds, “Yes. What is your problem?” She repeatedly asks him, “What is your problem?” but he responds, “Don’t you know the rules? They need to go back to their country. It’s illegal. You’ll be sorry.

The group threatens to call the police on him, and he then starts to say “I hate that…” when the woman emotionally responds, “I hate you.”

People in line were either silent or joined in Daniel’s hate speech.

@GarciaJuanPOL / Twitter

One viewer of the Facebook Live stream noticed that the “white lady didn’t care bcuz she felt wht he felt. b****.” A second video published by another member of the group showed both Daniel and another customer yelling, “You have no rights,” to the women.

“ICE will come. Bye. God bless you. You’re in the wrong country,” he says on their way out.

@GarciaJuanPOL / Twitter

One woman chuckles and responds, “God bless you, too. God bless you, too.” Another mutters, “stupid,” under her breath as they exit the scene as America’s newest victims of recorded blatant ethnic and racial discrimination.

The video quickly went viral with over 400k views in a single day.

@GarciaJuanPOL / Twitter

Naperville resident, Juan Garcia, was “so pissed” after watching the video and rallied his community to protest the store that employs the racist. While Mobile’s name is front and center, it’s Bucky’s Convenience Stores that operates the snack shop.

In a statement, Bucky’s commented that Daniel’s language is “not reflective of the core values of Bucky’s Convenience Stores. We are aware of the situation and are managing this personnel issue. We take this matter seriously and strive to ensure that all customers are treated with respect.”

The day after the video went viral, Daniel was suspended pending “investigation.”

@GarciaJuanPOL / Twitter

Even while justice has not yet been fully served, the fact that Daniel was suspended has @robluft correctly tweeting that there are “higher standards for a gas station attendant than the President.”

Still, Juan Garcia isn’t going to stop organizing protests until Daniel is fired.

The Naperville community has been overwhelmingly supportive of the protests.

@GarciaJuanPOL / Twitter

@PhoebeP46 responded to the video saying, “As someone who used to live in Naperville, I’m not even surprised. It was honestly just a matter of time until they went viral for someone exposing them.”

While organizer Juan Garcia is being lauded for doing “the Lord’s work,” Daniel turns out to be just a straight up piece of work.

Plot twist: Daniel calls himself a Minister and thinks Nancy Pelosi is a Satanist.

Joseph Phillip Daniel Ministries / Facebook

His last post was on July 17, the day he was suspended from his work as a cashier. In the post, Daniel gives us an intense mixture of right-wing politics and a God that sends curses and combats demons. According to Daniel, those of us who call out racists are riddled with demons.

Daniel titled the post, “The Trump curse /Begins taking its effect on the political career of the Satanist, Nancy Pelosi.” He goes on to say, “The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi defames our President Trump, bringing curses upon herself as the demons inside her lead her to falsely call him a racist on the House floor….”

The Mayor of Naperville has condemned the speech, and residents are apologizing to the women on behalf of all of Illinois.

@CahilMaureen / Twitter

Mayor Steve Chirico posted to Facebook saying that “hate has no home here in Naperville.”

Chirico is clear as he continues, “Quite frankly, this type of behavior has no place in society at large. Our city prides itself on being open and inclusive to all. Civility towards each other is an important component of being a global citizen, and I urge everyone in our community to showcase the kindness, compassion, and good decorum that our residents are known for and that our world needs more of.”

Meanwhile, a smattering of racists have defended Daniel, but allies are clapping back louder.

@foreverstefanie / Twitter

One commenter thought the video only showed Daniel telling the women “that illegal people are here illegally” and Latinos are just being dramatic. This is a long-used method to gaslight and oppress minorities.

Politico maintains a record of hate speech and found that the phrase “go back to where you came from” is a very common dog whistle. Telling women that they’ll “be sorry” and “ICE will come” for speaking Spanish is racist. Punto.

See for yourself what pendejada looks like:

You can help offer justice to these women by making sure Mobile and Bucky’s know that a suspension isn’t a satisfactory response to discriminating against customers based off their language. This will not blow over until justice is served. #MakeRacistsAfraidAgain

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The Trump Team Is Ramming Through Last Minute Immigration Rules That Will Have Serious Impacts On Migrants

Things That Matter

The Trump Team Is Ramming Through Last Minute Immigration Rules That Will Have Serious Impacts On Migrants

Johan ORDONEZ / Getty Images

In addition to telling his own team to have zero contact with the President-Elect’s transition team, Trump is now attempting to rush through more dangerous immigration policies.

Although most officials agree that there are few major changes the administration can achieve in two months, they admit that Trump could still wreak havoc on an incoming administration’s plans. From solidifying ‘safe third country’ agreements to finally enacting their rule against international students, there is still a lot of damage the Trump administration can impart on the migrant community.

Trump is rushing to put into place last minute changes to immigration policy.

With President-Elect Biden’s inauguration less than two months away, there is added urgency with the Trump Administration to ram through any last-minute rules that would further limit immigration.

The last minute push comes as little surprise as it’s very much inline with a years-long effort to expand policies that further limit immigrant’s rights – and also a concession that a new administration is incoming.

Like so many other immigration reforms, it’s believed that Trump’s longtime advisor Stephen Miller is behind the push. As lead immigration adviser and the architect of his hard-line immigration agenda, Miller is looking for any opportunity to tighten immigration rules and curtail the flow of migration to the United States.

Immigrant advocates have slammed Miller and the administration for their actions, arguing that the changes have betrayed the country’s posture of welcoming immigrants. 

Despite Trump’s denial, some see the last minute rush as a tacit admission that Biden won the election.

Although these last minute pushes are the same thing that happens in the twilight of every outgoing administration, this one is peculiar because Trump himself has conceded to admit he’s leaving office come January.

However, every administration wants to finish what they started and give it as much staying power as they possibly can.

It’s common for administrations to try to get pending items across the finish line before a transfer of power, but such moves have the potential of setting up more hurdles for Biden, who’s pledged to roll back Trump immigration policies, many of which have occurred through regulations that can be more arduous to reverse.

Though even immigration hawks admit that there is little that can really be accomplished within the next two months.

Some on the right who have failed Trump’s dangerous immigration policies say that there is always going to be a higher level of intensity when you’re running on borrowed time. They also admit that they have, in fact, been working with the Trump Administration on last minute changes. Chris Chmielenski, deputy director at NumbersUSA, told CNN that, “There has been constant communication between us and administration officials on what we still want done.”

“People are looking for stuff to do. People are asking, is there anything you think we could make progress on, anything you think needs to be fixed,” he said. “It’s nothing that’s going to make a difference within two months. People want to know if there are policy changes that can be made, but I think the general view is there is not a lot that can be done.”

The one area where Trump could make changes it by creating more so-called “safe third country” agreements.

Credit: Johan ORDONEZ / Getty Images

Although it’s unlikely the administration will be able to enact any major legislation, the president is attempting to further enact existing policies. One area where Trump’s team is looking to expand policy is in so-called ‘safe third country’ agreements.

The agreements — initiated last year — marked a significant shift in US asylum policy as migrants who may have legitimate claims for asylum are sent to other countries to make their cases. The U.S. already has entered into agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, but only the agreement with Guatemala was actually up and running.

And despite the region being devastated by Hurricanes Eta and Iota, they still want to see the agreements enacted.

There has also been a major push to finalize a rule that takes aim at international students, potentially limiting the length of time students and others can remain in the United States. In September, DHS proposed changes to visas for students, exchange visitors and foreign media. Since then, a “substantial amount of resources” have been put into finalizing the regulation, a DHS official told CNN, pointing out that there has been “tremendous opposition” to the rule.

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This Inmate Firefighter Was Nearly Killed Battling California Blazes But Now He’s Facing Deportation

Things That Matter

This Inmate Firefighter Was Nearly Killed Battling California Blazes But Now He’s Facing Deportation

David McNew / Getty Images

Across the United States there are hundreds of thousands of undocumented Americans doing their part to protect and better the country. But far too often, our communities and our leaders don’t return the favor.

One man, a former inmate who was injured while battling California’s historic wildfires, was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after he was released from prison. Instead of being given a second chance, he faces likely deportation back to his native country of Laos – a place he hasn’t known since he was 4 years old.

A California man is facing deportation after nearly dying on the frontlines of the state’s wildfires.

A formerly incarcerated firefighter who helped battle California’s historic wildfires is now in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, after the state notified the agency he was being released.

Bounchan Keola, 39, left his native Laos at the age of 4. His home is here in the United States – in San Leandro, CA to be exact. But he’s facing the ultimate punishment of being sent back to a place he knows nothing about.

“He made a mistake as a child. He came here impoverished and he was resettled as a refugee when he was 6,” said his San Francisco Asian Law Caucus attorney, Anoop Prasad. “And he literally risked his life. California didn’t have to call ICE to deport him…This case is extremely sad and unfortunate. Society has failed him again and again.” 

Even more shocking is that Keola only had 14 days left on his prison term when he was crushed by a tree while battling the Zogg Fire in early October. He was soon released from prison but then taken into immigration custody by ICE.

While fighting a wildfire, Keyla was severely injured.

Credit: David McNew / Getty Images

Although Keola was convicted of attempted second degree murder, not only has he served his term but he also gave back to the community as one of the thousands of inmate firefighters battling the state’s blazes. In fact, he received a shorter prison sentence because of the extra credit he earned for fighting fires. 

Incarcerated firefighters get two days credit off their sentence for every day they’re working and are paid up to $5 a day. It’s estimated they save the state tens of millions of dollars a year. 

But then Keola got injured.

While he was stationed in Redding, CA., a tree fell on him while he was clearing brush to stop the fire from spreading. He is still in excruciating pain, his lawyer said, and he has not received the proper medical attention.

Since his release from prison, Keola has been in ICE detention.

Just seven days after being injured and with seven days left in his prison term, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation notified ICE that his release would be coming up. On Oct. 16, the day Keola finished serving his prison sentence in Sacramento, ICE came to pick him up. On Oct. 29, an immigration judge ordered his removal to Laos, records show.

Since being picked up by ICE, Keola has been held at a detention facility in Kern County. Although he faces a deportation order, Laos doesn’t have a repatriation agreement with the U.S., which means he could end up staying in California. But his fate is still unclear. And only a pardon from Newsom, his attorneys said, would expunge his record and allow him to go home freely to his parents and sister. 

I just want to go home and give my mom and dad a hug,” Keola told The Guardian, the first news organization to report the story. “All I know is I’m American. I’ve never thought of myself not being a citizen. I’m just asking for that one, second chance.”

Keola’s fate is in the hands of Gov. Newsom as he awaits a potential pardon for his crime.

Gov. Newsom has painted himself as a champion of those who have been incarcerated and fought on the front lines to save California during the wildfire season. That’s why Keola and his attorney say that his fate is in the hands of the governor. He has asked for a pardon from his prison sentence, showing that he has changed for the better and that his service to the state battling wildfires should count for something.

On Sept. 11,  Newsom signed AB 2147, a bill that will allow formerly incarcerated people to be able to try to expunge their records and become professional firefighters. Inmates who have stood on the frontlines, battling historic fires should not be denied the right to later become a professional firefighter,” Newsom later said in a tweet after signing the bill. 

Yet Keola, an inmate fighting fire on the frontlines, hasn’t been given that chance. And although California is a sanctuary state, which forbids most cooperation with ICE, Keola was still handed over to the agency.

Newsom’s spokesperson, Jesse Melgar, said in a statement: “We are unable to discuss individual clemency applications, but can assure that each application receives careful and individualized consideration.”

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