Things That Matter

Trump Administration Will Stop Treating Sick Migrants Deporting Them Back To Their Home Countries

Last year, the Trump administration stunned the world by announcing an unprecedented “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Prior to this, families entering the United States without documentation were held together while awaiting their hearing. The new and inhumane policy forcefully separated children from their parents with no exception and led to overcrowding at detention centers.

The Trump administration has a documented record of not caring for migrants’ health and wellbeing.

Credit: @NBCInvestigates / Twitter

Slowly and surely, the Trump administration is finding ways to dismantle and remove protections for the undocumented community. This week, another unprecedented and inhumane restriction was announced. The federal government is now ending the “medical deferred action” policy, which allowed immigrants – who have a serious medical condition, such as cancer – to remain protected in the United States without risk of deportation.

Under the policy, the patient and immediate caregiver/parent were able to apply for medical stay with proof that treatment was unavailable in the country of origin. Stay was then granted for two-years at a time, which included a work permit for the family member that accompanied the patient.

Now, the Trump administration is reversing a policy that offered migrants a stay from deportation for medical issues.

Credit: @stephmsolis / Twitter

Earlier this month, without warning, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office (a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security) began sending out rejection letters to families protected under this program who had sent in their renewal applications, notifying them they have 33 days to leave the country or face deportation. In addition, the USCIS claims they will no longer be accepting new applications either.

The only exceptions to the new policy change are for those in the military and those protected under DACA.

Credit: @HispanicCaucus / Twitter

This could be the difference between life and death for many. Like the case of 16-year Jonathan Sanchez, who is receiving treatment for cystic fibrosis. He and his family are from Honduras, where his parents lost a daughter to the same illness. When Jonathan was a baby, his parents sent in blood samples to the United States in hopes of receiving medical treatment and saving his life. In 2016 they were able to apply and were granted permission to enter the United States under the medical deferral program. Jonathan has now been receiving treatment over the last three years. He is waiting to hear news of his renewal.

WBUR-FM, Boston’s NPR affiliate was the first to break the story a few days ago when the Irish International Immigrant Center began receiving the rejection letters.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the USCIS department has announced that all applications will now be rerouted and processed through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) whose mission is to deport immigrants. 

Now attorneys are unsure of which way to advise clients because an attempt to fight this change in order to save the life of your child, will now put you and your child in direct risk of possible deportation.

The current acting director of USCIS is Ken Cuccinelli, who was quoted as wanting to alter the words on the Statue of Liberty to instead read “Give me your tired and your poor… who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” Cuccinelli is dedicated to “keeping Trump’s promises” and is currently hard at work finding ways to make life more difficult by denying green cards and visas to immigrants that, currently have or will need, public assistance including food stamps, housing vouchers, and Medicaid. Which implies that only wealthy immigrants would be “welcome.”

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS, is standing by Trump’s policies.

Credit: @USCISCuccinelli / Twitter

“If they don’t have future prospects of being legal permanent residents without welfare, that will be counted against them,” Cuccinelli has stated.

So I guess he’s just going to ignore that whole “give me your tired, you POOR…” part of the Statue of Liberty and American history.

But applications are now being routed to ICE and the man behind that department is, Matthew Albence, the newly appointed Acting Director.

Albence has made controversial statements, like doubling down on his comments during his testimony in 2018, where he stated that the experience in the detention centers – that children are being held in – was comparable to summer camp.

One year later, we now know the truth of the horrific and inhumane conditions the camps are actually in.

But what is most concerning about the man behind ICE, is that in 2017, when he was part of Homeland Security and reported to Secretary John Kelly, Albence actually went a step further than the new Trump administration had instructed. At the time, the directive was to pretty much the same as the original purpose of the organization to “focus on apprehending illegal immigrants that had committed crimes or posed a security risk.”

Except Albenece decided to send out his own memo to agents: “Effective immediately, ERO officers will take enforcement action against all removable aliens encountered in the course of their duties.” This gave the green light for agents to hunt down anyone they “think” is undocumented, regardless of having committed a crime or not. 

The head of ACLU Massachusetts has already vowed to that they will fight the medical deferred policy change in court.

What is hopeful is that we are not in this fight alone. The ACLU and MALDEF (and many other organizations) are leading the fight against this administration. What we can do, for those of us that can, is to go out there and vote, stay engaged and follow local and state elections as well. Those that we elect on the local and state level are the people that will ultimately fight or support the current laws and restrictions sent down from the federal government, so choose wisely.

READ: Experts Are Warning The U.S. Supreme Court About The Economic Impacts Of Rescinding DACA Protections

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What I Wish My Family Knew About How Their Vote For Trump Impacts My Life

Culture

What I Wish My Family Knew About How Their Vote For Trump Impacts My Life

fidmart85 / cantstayput / Instagram

Politics is a tricky topic for families and friends, especially when you are on opposite sides of the aisle. It’s hard not to take things personally when it comes to how those closest to you vote. Those feelings have been heightened since 2016 when President Donald Trump won on a campaign based on fear and hate. His rhetoric has never changed and his words and policies are having a real impact on the lives of millions, including me and my husband.

My family is a Cuban family living in Florida. They fit the description in more ways than one. They are a close-knit unit always visiting each other and having mini family reunions for every occasion. Covid changed that for a while but over time they have safely created a bubble with themselves. I am one of three in my immediately-extended family to leave Florida so they don’t see my life on a daily basis. I can only imagine that living in Florida would change that.

With the 2020 elections in just days, I have had some hard conversations with my family about things they’ve never understood or asked about. As a gay Latino man living in the U.S., my life hasn’t always been easy and safe. I grew up in a rural town in the Florida panhandle where it was not okay to be visibly and audibly Latino nor gay.

I was 16 when I had my first run-in with violent homophobia. I was at a keg party and I was pouring a beverage. A college student came up to me and asked if I was gay. Knowing the importance of self-preservation, I immediately said no. Without missing a beat, the man sucker-punched me in the face, called me a faggot, and ran to a waiting car that sped off.

My parents never heard that story. I lied to them when they noticed the welt on my face and told them I got elbowed at cheerleading practice. I know. I was a cheerleader and my parents couldn’t see I was gay. It was safer for me to lie and not let my parents know I was targeted for being gay, something they were in no place to accept are Cuban immigrants living in a rural, conservative southern town.

That moment instilled in me a fear that I live with to this day. No matter where I am or what I am doing, I always function at the level that I can be attacked at any time for being gay. President Trump’s rhetoric and administration has made that worse.

During President Barack Obama’s administration, I felt safe for the first time in a long time. I know that comes with some privilege, but it was the first time in in my gay life that I felt safe to be who I was. I came out to my parents. I became involved in politics to get people elected. I traveled as an openly gay man. I was no longer living in the shadows.

The 2016 elections shattered the feeling of safety and peace for me and my friends. Suddenly, all of us were on the chopping block as our rights and dignity were under attack again. The Pulse Nightclub shooting in June 2016 reminded me of how much hate there still was for people like me and the Trump campaign was fanning those flames. I was scared. My family didn’t understand why.

Most of my family voted for President Trump that year. It was a knife through the heart to know that most of my family was not concerned about my own safety and dignity. For them, President Trump’s election was more important than the very real threat he posed to millions of people.

I remember confiding in my family my fear that President Trump would try to eliminate marriage equality, won just one year before. I was made to feel like I was being dramatic. My husband and I got married the Friday after Thanksgiving because we just did not trust what the administration would do.

Four years later, Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito signaled that they want to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that made my marriage legal. How? With the help of Amy Coney Barrett, who was rushed in with just days left till election day. Marriage equality became law of the land in a 5-4 ruling.

This blow to the LGBTQ+ community comes after the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that LGBTQ+ people cannot be fired for being LGBTQ+. The ruling in June stated that LGBTQ+ were included in the Civil Rights Act under protection from discrimination based on sex.

The lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court to make discrimination against me legal was drafted by the Trump administration. The man my family voted for wanted to make me less than everyone else.

One of the first cases before the majority conservative court that could erode LGBTQ+ rights is Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The case, which will be heard the day after the election, will decide if private agencies that receive government dollars can refuse people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, and even religion. How is this happening in the U.S. in 2020?

I am also a recently diagnosed diabetic. The Trump administration has been a hostile enemy of the Affordable Care Act since day one. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, has become increasingly popular with Americans, especially now during the pandemic.

Another case being heard on behalf of the Trump administration is a case to dismantle the ACA once and for all. This would throw millions of people off of their healthcare and would leave millions more with pre-existing conditions without healthcare.

A vote for Trump is a vote to strip people of necessary and life-saving healthcare. We have all read the horror stories of people dying of diabetes because they couldn’t afford their insulin. The Trump administration wants us to go back to those days. The court case could force numerous people to die from treatable and manageable diseases for the sake of profit over lives.

Republicans have no plan to replace the ACA. However, they have continued to lie to the American people and claim that they do.

There are several communities under attack right now. Black lives are at stake. Abortion rights are at stake. Healthcare is at stake. Immigrant rights are at stake. Trans lives are at stake. LGBTQ+ rights are at stake. Our standing in the world is at stake. The soul of our nation is at stake.

Under this current administration, I have seen my friends live in fear that they will lose rights. I have watched friends grapple with the understanding that they have lost rights.

My family claims to care for me, and I am sure that on some level they really believe that. However, as a gay Latino man living in the Trump administration, I have grown resentful. I resent that their votes are costing me and my friends their human dignity. I resent that their vote exacerbated the ongoing pandemic that has cost more lives than it should have. I resent that they ask why I don’t visit despite voting to limit my rights and freedom.

To my family members who have voted against this administration, thank you. Thank you for standing by my side. Thank you for understanding what is at stake for me and my marriage. Thank you for rebuking an administration that has caused unnecessary harm to millions of innocent people.

It is not too late to have your voice heard. Go vote. Millions of us are relying on you using your voice to determine the future of this nation.

READ: Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

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Marco Rubio Writes Letter Asking For TPS For Venezuelans After Republicans Voted Against It

Things That Matter

Marco Rubio Writes Letter Asking For TPS For Venezuelans After Republicans Voted Against It

Stefanie Reynolds / Getty Images

The Trump administration is letting Temporary Protected Status expire for hundreds of thousands of people. A lot of these people have been here for years and have started families and businesses. Republicans voted against TPS for Venezuelans so Sen. Marco Rubio is now asking Trump to do something about it.

Sen. Marco Rubio wrote a letter to President Trump asking for TPS for Venezuelans.

It is a break from the usual tactic of ignoring TPS needs in Florida by Haitians, Hondurans, and Salvadorans. These people are at risk of losing their TPS after the Trump administration decided to let those protections expire. Venezuelans started fleeing the South American country when the economy started to collapse. Many of them have settled in South Florida.

People immediately started to call Sen. Rubio out for his glaring inaction for years.

Venezuelan nationals have been coming to the U.S. for years to escape the terrifying situation in Venezuela. An economic downfall led to millions of Venezuelans going without food, school, medicine, and other necessities. The crisis was an international fascination as Venezuelans took to the streets and were killed for protesting against their government.

Senate Republicans refused to vote on a bill last year to provide TPS to Venezuelans.

In August 2019, Senate Republicans had the chance to vote on a bill that would have protected Venezuelans living in the U.S. A bill in the Democrat-led House passed but the Senate bill stalled because of Senate Republicans. The failure by the Senate to pass the bill has left Venezuelans vulnerable to deportation back to the country they fled.

“Not this week, I don’t anticipate movement on it,” Rubio told the Miami Herald back then. “I anticipate hopefully getting the administration to do something. That’s what we’ve been working on behind the scenes here, we’ve made a little progress on it. We have 17 votes already scheduled this week, a bunch of nominees, the spending bill, the veto override. The votes this week have already been scheduled.”

During this time, the Trump administration has quietly been deporting Venezuelans back.

Venezuelans nationals have been deported back to President Nicolás Maduro’s brutal regime. With no economic prospects, the deportations are sending people to their deaths as one in three Venezuelans aren’t getting enough food. This is just one of the many issues compounded on the Venezuelan people after years of economic and political turmoil.

Venezuelans are also pointing out how Sen. Rubio waited until after Amy Coney Barrett to fight for TPS.

Senate Republicans recently confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The confirmation was rushed to secure a conservative majority on the court and went against the wish of the American people. A majority of Americans preferred that the Senate wait until after the election.

There are four days left until the elections and every vote matters. Make sure you get out there and make your voice heard.

READ: The RNC Wants You To Think Biden-Harris Policies Are Socialist, These Cuban And Venezuelan-Americans Think Otherwise

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