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

With Immigration Fees Set To Increase, Advocacy Groups Are Hosting “Citizenship Weeks” To Help People Get Their Documents In On Time

Things That Matter

With Immigration Fees Set To Increase, Advocacy Groups Are Hosting “Citizenship Weeks” To Help People Get Their Documents In On Time

Damen Wood / Getty Images

Becoming a U.S. resident or citizen has never been an easy process. The country’s immigration system is a convoluted mess that sharply leans in favor of high-wealth individuals and under the Trump administration that is becoming more apparent than ever.

But 2020 has been an especially challenging year for immigrants seeking to complete their citizenship process.

Although it’s common for interest in naturalization to spike in the months leading up to presidential elections, the Coronavirus pandemic forced the citizenship process to a grinding halt in March. The outbreak shut offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) all across the country. And although many of these offices reopened in July, there is a widening backlog of applications.

Meanwhile, on October 2, looming fee increases could leave applications and citizenship out of reach for tens of thousands of immigrants, as the process becomes significantly more costly.

Many migrant advocacy groups are hosting events meant to help immigrants complete their applications before prices are set to rise.

In South Florida, the Office of New Americans (ONA) — a public-private partnership between Miami-Dade County and non-profit legal service providers — launched its second Miami Citizenship Week on Sept. 11. This 10-day event is designed to help immigrants with free legal support so participants can beat the October 2 deadline.

In addition, the event will host a mix of celebrations meant to highlight the social and economic contributions of South Florida’s large immigrant communities.

“I think in Miami we talk about how we are diverse and how we are adjacent to Latin America, but we never take a moment to celebrate immigrants and the amazing work that they do whether it’s the nurses in our hospitals, the drivers that drive our buses, small business owners,” said Krystina François, ONA’s executive director. “We need to reclaim the narrative around immigrants and around our communities because it’s what makes us great.”

However, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions, the events will all be hosted online.

Much like any other event, Covid-19 has greatly impacted this year’s “Citizenship Week.” Therefore, the event will be hosted virtually. That includes the Mega Citizenship Clinic, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 16-20. At the event, pro-bono lawyers from the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Americans for Immigrant Justice and other groups will connect with attendees one-on-one on Zoom and walk them through the process of filling out the 20-page citizenship application form. 

The clinic is open to immigrants eligible to become naturalized citizens, meaning permanent residents who have had a green card for at least five years.

Cities like Dallas are also getting in on similar events, meant to welcome new residents and citizens into the city.

Dallas’ Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs is hosting a series of virtual events from Sept. 12 to Sept. 20 in honor of Welcoming Week. The virtual events aim to promote Dallas’ diverse communities and to unite all residents, including immigrants and refugees.

According to the City of Dallas, this year’s theme is Creating Home Together, and it emphasizes the importance of coming together as a community to build a more inclusive city for everyone.

Participants will be able to learn about the voting process and what will be on the next ballot during the “Vontando Por Mi Familia: Enterate para que vas a votar” event. The event, hosted in partnership with Mi Familia, will be presented in Spanish.

A Council Member, Jaime Resendez, will host a virtual program on Tuesday at 11 a.m. that celebrates Latinx art and culture. The event will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Mayor Eric Johnson will read the Welcoming Week Proclamation, and the event will feature art exhibitions and performances showcasing the talents of performers and artists across Dallas.

Attendees will also have a chance to learn more about the availability of DACA and a citizenship workshop will take place where articipants will learn how to complete their N-400 application for citizenship. Volunteer immigration attorneys and accredited representatives from the Department of Justice will be there for assistance.

The events come as fees for several immigration proceedings are set to rise by dramatic amounts come October 1.

Starting on October 2, the financial barrier will grow even taller for many immigrants as fees are set to increase. The fee to apply for U.S. citizenship will increase from $640 to $1,160 if filed online, or $ 1,170 in paper filing, a more than 80% increase in cost. 

“In the middle of an economic downturn, an increase of $520 is a really big amount,” François told the Miami-Herald.

Aside from the fee increase, many non-citizen immigrants never truly felt the need to become citizens. That was until the Coronavirus pandemic hit and had many questioning their status in the country.

“There are people who up until this COVID crisis, their status as a permanent resident didn’t impact their day-to-day life … but then the pandemic has given them another reason of why it’s important to take that extra step and become a citizen, because of the additional rights and protections that are afforded to you, but also to just have a sense of security and stability in a crisis.”

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

Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

Things That Matter

Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

On Friday, previously undisclosed court documents revealed that almost 9,000 unaccompanied migrant children seeking refuge were denied access to the U.S. and subsequently expelled from U.S. soil. None of these children were given a chance in court.

According to reporting done by CBS News, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have “suspended humanitarian protections” for most migrants crossing the border, on the grounds that “public health law overrides asylum, immigration and anti-trafficking safeguards” in the era of COVID-19.

CBS news made the shocking discovery when investigating the problematic and increased practice of holding and detaining minors in unregulated, privately contracted hotel rooms.

The government is arguing that the practice is keeping the American public safe from possibly COVID-19 exposure from unauthorized migrants.

“What we’re trying to do…is remove all individuals, regardless of whether they’re children — minors — or they’re adults,” Customs and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan said in an August media briefing.

He continued: “We’re trying to remove [the migrants] as fast as we can, to not put them in our congregate settings, to not put them into our system, to not have them remain in the United States for a long period of time, therefore increasing the exposure risk of everybody they come in contact with.”

via Getty Images

But critics are claiming that the Trump Administration is using COVID-19 as an excuse to unlawfully expel as many migrants as possible–regardless of their age.

On Friday, federal Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered the administration to put an end to the practice of detaining children in hotel rooms, saying that hotels do not “adequately account for the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors in detention”. She asked the government to put an end to the practice by September 15th.

It is in the court documents regarding the above case that 8,800 expelled migrant children number was revealed.

“The numbers are stunning,” said executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Lindsay Toczylowski, to CBS News. “…To find out that our government has literally taken children who are seeking protection and sent them back to the very places they fled in such high numbers really took my breath away.”

via Getty Images

US Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz has defended the unsafe hotel detainment and speedy expulsion of migrant children, saying that stopping the practice would increase risk of exposure to health and customs officials alike.

But even if the practice comes to an end, the staggering number of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children left to their own devices is sitting heavy on the soul of advocates and activists.

“It’s just completely contrary, not only to all child protection norms and standards, but also just completely contrary to our values as a nation around protecting the most vulnerable,” said vice president for international programs at Kids in Need of Defense Lisa Frydman to CNN. “Because we are just wholesale shipping them out without making sure that it’s safe for them to go.”

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