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

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

They Survived 33 Days On A Deserted Island Thanks To Coconuts And Rats Before Being Rescued By The Coast Guard

Things That Matter

They Survived 33 Days On A Deserted Island Thanks To Coconuts And Rats Before Being Rescued By The Coast Guard

Fleeing your home country and leaving everything you hold dear behind you is one of the biggest sacrifices that many migrants and refugees make in their journey to a better life.

However, for a trio of Cubans fleeing their homes on the island, things took an even darker turn when their boat capsized in the middle of the Caribbean and they were forced to swim to a deserted island. It would be weeks before they would be rescued and they were forced to find a way to survive off of what little the island provided in terms of food and shelter. Their story is one of incredible survival.

U.S. Coast Guard rescued three Cuban migrants from a deserted island.

While doing routine patrols earlier in the week, an aircrew of the U.S. Coast Guard spotted two men and a woman waving makeshift flags on a deserted island between the Lower Florida Keys and Cuba. The Coast Guard dropped down a radio, food, and water to the trio on Monday and rescued them off the island on Tuesday.

“It was incredible. I don’t know how they did it. I was amazed they were in as good as shape as they were,” Lt. Justin Dougherty told CNN affiliate WPLG.

According to the rescued migrants, their boat had capsized in rough waters about five weeks ago and they were forced to swim to the island.

The trio did all they could to survive on the deserted island for 33 days.

According to the Florida Sun Sentinel, the group lived off coconuts, conches and rats while on the island. The group had also built themselves a temporary shelter, a coast guard official said.

“Being out in those harsh elements for a long period of time, they were very happy to see us,” helicopter pilot Mike Allert told ABC’s Good Morning America. “I cannot recall a time that we saved people who were stranded for over a month on an island. That is a new one for me.”

They were taken to the Lower Keys medical center, where none appeared to have serious injuries. And by Wednesday, they were in federal custody after being moved to an immigration facility in Pompano Beach, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said.

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2020 Was The Deadliest Year On Record For Migrants Crossing The Arizona Border

Things That Matter

2020 Was The Deadliest Year On Record For Migrants Crossing The Arizona Border

There is no one reason for the record-breaking number of migrant deaths along the Arizona border with Mexico. Between the cruel border policies of the Trump administration, an increase in hostility by US Border Patrol toward humanitarian aid workers, and record-breaking heat in the state, all combined to create the dangerous and deadly conditions.

However, one thing is clear: more must be done to avoid the needless loss of life for those simply seeking a better opportunity for themselves and their families.

The remains of at least 225 people have been found scattered throughout the Arizona desert, so far.

2020 has been the deadliest year on record for migrants crossing into Arizona, with the remains of at least 225 people being discovered across the desert. This is a significant uptick from last year, when 144 remains were found; from 2018, when there were 128; and from 2017, when there were 124, according to data compiled by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office and Humane Borders, a Tucson-based human rights group. The previous record was in 2010, when 224 remains were found in the Arizona desert.

Since 1998, at least 7,000 migrants are believed to have died along the US-Mexico border, maybe many more, as record-keeping is patchy.

“These people are not just numbers,” said Tony Banegas, executive director of the Colibri Center for Human Rights, an organization in Tucson working to identify migrant remains and helps families find missing loved ones.

“These are human beings with families and aspirations. They went to great lengths to make the journey, [only] to become just a grave in the desert.”

Visualizing the numbers can be overwhelming to comprehend.

Credit: OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants / Humane Borders

Since 2013, migrant rights advocates and health officials have published an online database mapping the deaths of people identified as migrants in Southern Arizona. The public database was set up to help researchers, family members searching for a missing person, and humanitarian aid workers, who could use the information to identify where to leave more water. The map shows a red dot for every body recovered: 3,365 since 2001. 

The red dots, even for a single year, can look overwhelming. It’s important to remember each red dot represents someone’s loved one who died trying to reach the United States. 

Experts point to the record-breaking heatwaves that baked the Arizona deserts in 2020.

Arizona is no stranger to hot weather and most migrants who attempt the border crossing are well aware of the dangers the heat poses, but few come well-prepared.

According to Greg Hess, chief medical examiner in Pima County, “the heat is likely the biggest contributing factor for the uptick of remains that we are finding.” This year, Arizona broke many records with nonstop extreme heat for months, and with the least amount of rain during the summer.

But Trump’s cruel immigration policies also had an outsized effect on migrant safety.

Since March, the Trump administration used the pandemic to seal shut an already virtually closed U.S.-Mexico border to migrants who turn themselves in to border agents and to asylum seekers. These cruel and inhumane policies forced many of them to make the dangerous trek through the Arizona desert.

“They can’t apply for asylum, so their options are considerably cut down and they’re forced into more and more dangerous situations,” says Montana Thames, a humanitarian aid worker with No More Deaths, an advocacy group that seeks to aid migrants crossing in the desert. “Plus, wall construction is happening closer to Nogales and Sasabe, where there are more resources—so because of the wall constitution, they have to go to more dangerous and more remote parts of the desert.” 

Making matters worse, as part of the changes to border policy since the pandemic started, Border Patrol has been immediately sending people they apprehend in the desert, many of whom are already in bad shape—often dehydrated and disoriented—right back to the border to be released into Mexico.

Migrant aid groups also saw their work threatened by U.S. Border Patrol.

For years, the number one cause of death among migrants crossing through the desert has been exposure to the elements, resulting in hypothermia or hyperthermia. As a result, aide groups like No More Death have been leaving food and water and stations throughout the desert.

The organization has long had a functioning relationship with Border Patrol, and there was even mutual respect between the two. But this year, aid workers say previous agreements with Border Patrol seemed to go out the window.

Over the summer, Border Patrol raided a No More Deaths camp 10 miles north of the border that had been running since 2004. Heavily armed agents then conducted a second raid in the middle of the night just days later. The agents confiscated phones and records of the migrants who had passed through the camp.

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