Things That Matter

These 13 Heartbreaking Moments From The Trump Administration Will Forever Be Unforgivable

Friends, familia, there is a lot we cannot forgive Trump for, and our mamas raised us well. From the moment he opened his mouth to announce his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” and “degenerates,” to mocking rape survivor Christine Blasey Ford in front of a crowd of people–it’s tough to narrow this list down.

But it’s important that we do because as our nation transitions from one shocking moment to another, we’re losing sight of what ‘normal’ felt like years ago. We have to stay vigilant to the horrors happening in this country at the signature of Trump’s pen or the thoughtless jeer to a crowd of people. We have to hold him, and ourselves, accountable to the truth.

1. At least five children have died in federal custody since December 2018.

@Nysteveo2AOLcom / Twitter

Before then, no children had died in Customs and Border Protection custody in ten years. Jakelin Caal Maquin is a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who was kept in what most people would call a garage for hours until she was taken to the hospital. She died of dehydration.

2. Trump’s family separation policy has traumatized countless children.

@akri2000 / Twitter

Hundreds still have not been reunited with their families, and the evidence points to Trump’s administration not even having a plan in place to reunite them in the first place. Their mission is to deport as many people as possible, regardless of human rights violations and international law.

3. Trump stands by the use of tear gas at the border.

@leedsgarcia / Twitter

U.S. border agents fired tear gas canisters in November 2018 into Mexico to disperse a group of migrant families near the border. Doctors have protested the use of tear gas, especially at children, whose respiratory systems aren’t as resilient as adults. Reportedly, some children fainted and had to be carried away. Trump stood by the agents.

4. Trump says immigrant children don’t need soap, toothbrushes or beds.

@Stone1ML / Twitter

After an Associated Press report that detailed a lack of adequate access to food, water or medicine for 250 infants, children and teenagers detained in Clint, Texas, Trump blamed Democrats. The Flores settlement lays out that it’s the government’s responsibility to provide “safe and sanitary” conditions to migrants. According to the Trump administration, soap, toothbrushes, and beds are superfluous to “safe and sanitary” conditions for children.

5. When Trump blamed Democrats for the deaths of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his one-year-old daughter, Valeria.

@DarrinFranklyn / Twitter

Óscar and his wife Tania Vanessa Ávalos arrived on U.S. soil from El Salvador seeking asylum–a legal right. They were held in a migrant camp on the Mexican side of the border–a new policy–which left the family in essentially a dog pound, with temperatures reaching over 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Desperate for true safety, they attempted to cross the Rio Grande on their own. Óscar brought Valeria safely to the other side, but when he went back for Tania, Valeria tried to go after him. Oscar swam back for his daughter, but the current took them away. Tania survived to tell the horrific story.

6. Trump has made America a place that has concentration camps of brown people.

@Donald_from_HI / Twitter

According to Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, these immigrant detention centers fit the bill for “a concentration camp system” in the U.S. She defines a concentration camp as mass detention of civilians without trial.

So far, 24 people have died in ICE custody under the Trump administration. Now, Trump is using Fort Sill, a once-Japanese internment camp to house 1,400 unaccompanied migrant children.

7. Trump’s Trans military ban, which is now in effect.

@OuterPeaceGear / Twitter

The way Trump got around the obvious human rights violations is by saying that trans people can serve… but only as their sex at birth. That means a trans male would be forced to present and bunk with females, and a trans woman would be forced to have the same haircut, and presentation as men in the military.

8. When Trump threw paper towels at Puerto Ricans.

@ninersCK7 / Twitter

This photo was taken at a relief event in a church. Trump appeared as President of the United States and the best he could do was throw paper towels into a crowd of people devastated by a major hurricane. Just weeks before, Trump’s administration responded swiftly, and seriously to Hurricane Harvey victims.

9. Trump still refused to acknowledge the 2,975 deaths from Hurricane Maria.

@ajplus / Twitter

His administration announced that 64 people died from the storm. Far worse than Trump’s denial of the true tragedy of Hurricane Maria is the fact that hundreds, maybe thousands, of deaths could have been prevented by an equal response by FEMA. Similar to Hurricane Katrina, the delay in response from FEMA is unforgivable.

Trump tried to blame the “big water, ocean water” that made Puerto Rico difficult to assist, but the reality is that it’s as long a plane ride from the U.S. mainland as it is for Trump to fly to Mar-a-Lago.

10. When someone died at the hands of white nationalists and he said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

@TimMoses37 / Twitter

After white nationalists announced a march through Charlottesville, Virginia, counter-protesters flooded the streets to prevent White Power from taking over their community. One white nationalist drove his car into a sea of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer.

Trump defended the white nationalists by saying there were “very fine people on both sides” and refused to denounce their philosophy until days later. Unforgivable.

11. Trump called black athletes honoring black victims of police brutality “son[s] of bitch[es].”

@ninersCK7 / Twitter

Colin Kaepernick started a movement that has forever made an impact on sports, by taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against black and brown lives. In a September 2017 rally in Alabama, he roared at the crowd claiming that NFL owners should fire their players for exercising free speech. “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

Under oath, Miami Dolphins owner, Stephen Ross, admitted that he supported the protests initially, but Trump’s comments changed his mind.

12. Trump mocked a reporter’s disability.

@VABVOX / Twitter

New York Times journalist, Serge Kovaleski, suffers from a joint condition that became the butt of a joke for Trump during his primary campaign. Kovaleski was correcting Trump’s lie that “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks. Trump’s response was to mock his congenital condition. We all thought that would be his last strike. Never forget.

13. When Trump took out an ad wanting to kill the wrongly convicted Central Park Five.

@morganstephensa / Twitter

The newly released Netflix series “When They See Us” depicts what happened to a collection of Black and Latino young boys who were coerced to admit guilt to raping a woman in Central Park. A big theme in the story was how it felt for the mothers of the boys and the boys themselves to see that this random, rich white man, wanted to kill them. They’ve since been exonerated.

A reporter asked Trump if he would apologize to the Central Park Five. His response was, “You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt.”

This man wouldn’t know truth if it hit him in the face, and we hope it does. Hard.

READ: Migrants Children Are Getting Sick In Detention Centers But The Trump Administration Doesn’t Want To Give Them Toothbrushes

Iranians Are Being Questioned And Detained By US Border Patrol In What Appears To Be Racial Profiling

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Iranians Are Being Questioned And Detained By US Border Patrol In What Appears To Be Racial Profiling

Pixabay

Iranian-Americans were held by U.S. immigration agents at the Canadian border over the weekend, following escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Traveling Iranian Americans now fear being racially profiled by Customs and Border Protection as they re-enter the county. 

CBP says they have enhanced security at ports of entry, according to NPR. Homeland Security is also on high alert as Iran’s leaders vowed they would retaliate for the U.S. airstrike that killed the military leader Qassem Soleimani. The country kept its promise yesterday when it fired over a dozen ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq. 

Today President Donald Trump announced an increase in sanctions on Iran, rather than using military force (right now), as a response. 

Iranian Americans pay the price for U.S. conflicts in the middle east.

Roughly 200 Iranian Americans were held for up to 12 hours at the Peace Arch Border Crossing last weekend. 

“I’ve heard from people who are saying they’re going to cancel their vacations,” said Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council in Washington, D.C., told NPR. “They had planned to travel abroad or, you know, leave the country for spring break. And people are already saying we’re going to cancel those trips because we don’t know what we’re supposed to do.”

Travelers were detained and questioned, while some were denied re-entry into the U.S. The New York Times reported that a detained Iranian family told Masih Fouladi, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), that an agent told them: “This is a bad time to be an Iranian.” 

“Those detained reported that their passports were confiscated and they were questioned about their political views and allegiances. CBP officials contacted at the Blaine Port of Entry provided no comment or reasons for the detentions,” Fouladi said in a statement. “We are working to verify reports of a broad nationwide directive to detain Iranian-Americans at ports of entry so that we can provide community members with accurate travel guidance.” 

CBP denies that Iranian Americans were held and questioned at all. 

“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false,” said Matt Leas, a spokesperson for CBP. 

CBP instead claims that security has increased at ports of entry overall and that processing times at some ports had increased due to the holiday seasons. According to the New York Times, border officers are not allowed to refer someone to a secondary screening based on their national origin alone, but it is one of many factors. In fact, agents may place extra emphasis on the country of origin if it is one that can pose an alleged national security threat. 

“If you were an Iranian citizen returning from the British Columbia, you would be sent to secondary as a result of the increased tension with that country,” Girl Kerlikowske, former commissioner of CBP, told the paper. “It wouldn’t be the main factor in many cases, but certainly in this particular instance the country of origin would be the determining factor.”

While CBP denied any wrongdoing, immigrants’ rights advocates and attorneys begged to differ. Representative Pramila Jayapal and Representative Adam Smith expressed their concerns about the matter. 

“Let me be clear: Instituting xenophobic, shameful and unconstitutional policies that discriminate against innocent people, trample over basic civil rights, and put fear in the hearts of millions do not make us safer,” Jayapal said in a statement.

Many feel the treatment of Iranians is mimicking the circumstances that eventually led to Japanese internment during World War II. 

The kind of racial targeting evokes the same sense of American racial paranoia that resulted in Japanese internment and rampant Islamophobia following the September 11, 2001 attack of the world trade center. 

“It doesn’t make any sense, because these are individuals who are U.S. citizens and don’t have any individualized suspicion associated with them, other than the fact that they’re Iranian or of Iranian heritage,” Matt Adams, legal director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project’s Seattle office, told Politico. “What’s clear is that they are being targeted for the secondary inspection because of their Iranian background, and there must be some kind of directive” to CBP officers to pull them over, he added.

Attorneys say detained Iranians were questioned about where they traveled in recent years, their work and education history, and were asked if they had family in the Iranian military. Iranian American historian John Ghazvinian was one of the 200 who was taken in for secondary questioning when he landed in JFK. 

“Well, just landed at JFK and — no surprise — got taken to the special side room and got asked (among other things) how I feel about the situation with Iran,” Ghazvinian wrote in a tweet. “I wanted to be like: my book comes out in September, preorder now on amazon.”

Trump Administration Plans To Send Some Mexican Asylum-Seekers To Guatemala And Mexico Is Fighting Back

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Trump Administration Plans To Send Some Mexican Asylum-Seekers To Guatemala And Mexico Is Fighting Back

Joe Raedle / Getty

The Trump Administration continues to ramp up its attack on asylum seekers – and Mexican asylum-seekers in particular. The Department of Homeland Security announced that ‘effective immediately’, Mexicans could be subject to a safe third country agreement that could see them deported even further away to Guatemala.

The policy in effect blocks Mexicans — and any asylum seeker arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border who is not Guatemalan — from seeking protection in the United States, sending them more than 1,000 miles south instead.

The United States has yet to expel any Mexican asylum seekers to Guatemala, but the new U.S. policy could soon affect about 900 Mexican asylum seekers, the Mexican Foreign Secretariat said in a statement late Monday signaling its “disagreement.”

The Department of Homeland Security confirms that certain Mexicans seeking humanitarian protection can be transferred to the Central American nation.

The U.S. will begin sending Mexican asylum-seekers to Guatemala to wait out their cases instead of allowing them to remain in the U.S., according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed News.

“Certain Mexicans seeking humanitarian protections in the United States may now be eligible to be transferred to Guatemala and given the opportunity to seek protection there, under the terms of the Guatemala Asylum Cooperative Agreement,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement to NBC News.

Under the safe third country agreement between the US and Guatemala, technically the move is likely legal – though is it ethical?

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 28: Mexican immigrant Nieves Ojendiz holds her 4-year old daughter Jane as she attends an immigration reform rally with members and supporters of the New York Immigration Coalition, June 28, 2016 in New York City, New York. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked in a 4-4 decision concerning President Barack ObamaÕs immigration plan, which would have protected millions of undocumented immigrants from being deported. Because the Supreme Court was split, a 2015 lower-court ruling invalidating ObamaÕs executive action will stand. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The agreement, which was brokered in July between the Trump administration and the outgoing Guatemalan government, allows U.S. immigration officials to send migrants requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to apply for protection in Guatemala, instead.

The administration made similar deals with Honduras and El Salvador last year.

The Trump administration had previously implemented a “remain in Mexico” policy for asylum-seekers from Central America, but international law forbidsasylum-seekers from being sent back to their home country due to concerns they may face prosecution. Mexicans account for more than half of the estimated 21,000 asylum seekers waiting along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Is Guatemala really a safer, more stable option for people seeking asylum from poverty and violence?

Critics of the agreements have said migrants could be further endangered if they are sent to violence-plagued Central American countries, while others with valid asylum claims could be keep out.

They have also said the countries do not have the capacity in their asylum systems to take on the migrants’ claims.

An anonymous asylum officials told Buzzfeed news: “Mexico is dangerous; Guatemala is even more so. This expansion of the [agreement] continues to prevent legitimate asylum-seekers from having their cases heard by the US and foists them upon the Guatemalan system, which has about a dozen staff. Asylum in the US is now practically available only for people wealthy and privileged enough to get visas, shutting out many of the most vulnerable groups asking for help at our borders.”

Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said Monday night it disagreed with the policy.

Mexico is voicing opposition to the Trump administration’s controversial plan to send Mexicans seeking asylum in the United States to Guatemala instead.

“It’s a decision that worries us and a decision that we cannot agree with,” the Mexican ambassador to the United States, Martha Barcena, said Tuesday. “This decision was not consulted with us. It is a decision they made with Guatemala.”

The new U.S. policy could soon affect about 900 Mexican asylum seekers, the Mexican Foreign Secretariat said in a statement late Monday signaling its “disagreement.”

Mexican authorities “will work to offer better options to the Mexicans who could be affected,” the statement said, without providing details.

There also appeared to be confusion over the policy in Guatemala. Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman with the government’s immigration institute, said that while there have been “conversations on the issue” of Mexican asylum seekers, the “agreement involves the transfer of Hondurans and Salvadorans only.”