Things That Matter

Migrants Will No Longer Have Access To English Classes, Ping-Pong, Soccer Or Legal Services Under New Policy

Just when you think the Trump administration can fall no lower than they already have, the administration announces plans to make the lives of more than 40,000 immigrant children more miserable.

A recent announcement by the administration says the government will be doing away with  English classes, legal aid and recreational programs for minors staying in federal detention centers.

The new policy was first reported by the Washington Post.

Credit: @washingtonpost / Twitter

In what can only be described as gutless and utterly heartless, the Trump administration has canceled all remotely humane activities for migrant children, most of whom are living in cages and sleeping on concrete floors.

The government will no longer offer English classes, soccer, ping-pong, or legal aid for the more than 40,000 unaccompanied minors it holds prisoner in detention centers across the country.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, also known as Racist AF, has started discontinuing the money for fun stuff for like soccer, which the administration has deemed “not directly necessary for the protection of life and safety, including education services, legal services, and recreation,” U.S. Health and Human Services spokesman Mark Weber told the Post.

But the move could technically be illegal.

Credit: @bobbydigits / Twitter

Though it’s not like this administration has had an issue with going against precedent or against our legal system to get what they want.

A lawyer representing immigrant minors vowed to go to court if the cut goes through. A previous federal court ruling mandates education and recreation for minors in federal custody.

There are more than 40,800 unaccompanied children in HHS custody. They are mostly teenagers traveling to the US on their own, but during the Trump administration’s since-reversed family separation policy, also included young children taken from their parents.

Most of the minors, who will no longer have access to anything even remotely fun, are teens fleeing violence and poverty in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Credit: @jumonsmapes / Twitter

Critics slammed the move as punitive and illegal. Carlos Holguin, a lawyer who took part in a lawsuit that helped set standards of care for children in custody, told the Washington Post he would file new legal action “if they go through with it.”

“What’s next? Drinking water? Food? Where are they going to stop?” he said.

Many on Twitter couldn’t help but point out the glaring irony in the announcement.

Credit: @martysanchh / Twitter

Like isn’t one of Trump’s biggest gripes that immigrants coming to the US should be speaking English? So what gives?!

And remember when the administration said these detention centers were like “summer camps?”

Credit: @washingtonpost / Twitter

We knew it wasn’t true back then and now we can definitely say the administration has zero interest in caring for these kids.

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Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

Things That Matter

Rite Aid Refused To Give Undocumented Residents The COVID-19 Vaccine Even Though They’re Eligible

As the United States ramps up its vaccination program (with more than two million people getting vaccinated each day), many Americans are eager to get that jab in the arm. But who is eligible varies from state to state and sometimes even county to county.

Despite the different eligibility thresholds in each state (depending on age group or risk factors), there is no immigration requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level. However, not all places are following that guideline and some undocumented residents are being incorrectly turned away.

The pharmacy chain Rite Aid is apologizing after two undocumented residents were denied vaccines.

The giant pharmacy chain Rite Aid has apologized to two undocumented immigrants who the company said were “mistakenly” denied COVID-19 vaccinations at Southern California stores. However, since then, the two women have been invited back by Rite Aid to get their vaccinations and the chain has issued an apology.

Rite Aid spokesperson Christopher Savarese described both cases as “isolated” incidents resulting from workers at the stores not following established protocols for vaccine eligibility. The employees will be re-educated on the protocols to make sure everyone is on the same page.

In a statement later sent to ABC News, Rite Aid officials said, “In such an unprecedented rollout, there are going to be mistakes and there will be always areas for providers to improve — we’re seeking out those opportunities every day.”

Savarese added, “This is very important to us that this is corrected. Both of the situations that we’re talking about have been resolved, and both of those people will be getting their vaccine at Rite Aid.”

To clarify, just who is eligible for the vaccine at this moment?

Although vaccine eligibility does vary from state to state, even county to county, there is nothing requiring that someone prove their immigration status to receive a vaccine. Rep. Tony Cárdenas, who represents Los Angeles, told ABC News that the legal immigration status of a person is not supposed to interfere with them getting vaccinated.

“That is not a requirement whatsoever at the federal, state or local level, and that organization (Rite Aid) has been told very clearly that that was wrong, and they immediately apologized for doing so, but it left the woman very distraught,” Cárdenas told KABC of Rager’s employee.

On Feb. 1, the federal Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that the agency and its “federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants.”

“It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the DHS statement reads.

However, the confusion over whether undocumented immigrants qualify to receive vaccine has continued to occur not only in Southern California, but elsewhere in the country. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley issued an apology to at least 14 people who were rejected Feb. 20 at its vaccination site because they could not provide proof of U.S. residency.

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This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Things That Matter

This Migrant Mother Spent Three Years In Church Sanctuary But Now She’s Free

Lawyers are working hard to get a deportation order removed against a woman who just left a church sanctuary after three years in the refuge. Although she was previously denied asylum in the U.S., advocates are hoping that under new direction from the Biden administration, her case will be reviewed and she’ll be able to stay with her family in Ohio – where she’s lived for more than twenty years.

A mother of three is back with her family after living three years inside a church.

A mother of three who sought refugee inside an Ohio church from immigration authorities has finally been able to leave three years later. Edith Espinal, who herself is an immigrant rights advocate, had been living at the Columbus Mennonite Church since October 2017 to avoid being deported to Mexico. She’s now out of the church and back with her family following a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, who have agreed that she’s not an immediate priority for deportation.

“Finally, I can go home,” Espinal told reporters after meeting with the officials. With tears of relief, she celebrated the small victory in the presence of dozens of supporters who accompanied her to the ICE building.

“But it is not the end of her case. We’re still going to have to fight,” her attorney Lizbeth Mateo said.

ICE has agreed to hold off on her deportation proceedings pending her asylum request.

Espinal was released under an order of supervision, meaning that while she’s not considered an immediate priority for deportation, she must periodically check in with ICE officials to inform them about her whereabouts.

She has lived in Columbus for more than two decades and had previously applied for asylum, citing rising violence in her home state of Michoacán. But she eventually was ordered to leave the country, which is when she sought refuge inside the Columbus, Ohio church.

“We’re going to continue pressing the Biden administration to do the right thing, and try to get rid of that order of deportation against Edith, so she can walk freely like everyone else does without fear,” Mateo said during the press conference.

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