Things That Matter

Trump Administration Targeting Immigrants Who Use Obamacare And Food Stamps To Deny Green Cards

The Trump administration is drafting a plan to make it harder for legal immigrants who’ve used certain welfare programs — including Obamacare, children’s health insurance, and food stamps — to obtain citizenship or green cards. The new rule is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. ever year. According to NBC News, the proposal wouldn’t need Congressional approval and would be the biggest overhaul to the legal immigration system in decades. The administration’s reasoning seems to be that these legal immigrants are taking advantage of programs paid for by “American” taxpayers.

More than 20 million immigrants could be affected by the proposed plan.

Low-income immigrants would be hit the hardest if the Trump administration goes through with its plan. Under current immigration law, green card applicants who receive cash welfare payments are considered a “public charge” and are generally ineligible to adjust to permanent resident status. This also applies to immigrant visa applicants overseas — any potential immigrant who is likely to need cash assistance from the government is inadmissible. These rule changes may cause families to preemptively drop out of crucial services like healthcare or children’s nutrition programs.

Immigrants could be rejected from citizenship even if they are making 250 percent above the poverty line.

“The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S are self-sufficient,” a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security told NBC News. “Any proposed changes would ensure that the government takes the responsibility of being good stewards of taxpayer funds seriously and adjudicates immigration benefit requests in accordance with the law.”

 The new policy would exacerbate what has already been a steep decline in the number of green cards issued since President Trump took office.

According to NBC News, in the 2016 fiscal year, the last year under the Obama administration, 1.2 million immigrants became lawful permanent residents, or green-card holders, and 753,060 became naturalized U.S. citizens. Data from the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year indicates that the administration is on track for a 20 percent drop in immigrants granted green cards.

Many fear that families will have to opt out of programs like food stamps as a result of the new policy.

An estimated 36 percent of immigrant households receive food assistance and 39 percent are on Medicaid. That compared to about 22 percent of native households receiving food assistance and 23 percent enrolled in Medicaid.

“One of our biggest concerns is that people who are eligible for programs such as health and nutrition will be frightened from participating in those programs that we know have immediate and long-term positive effects,” reads a statement from the National Immigration Law Center. “As a result, we will see people who have medical needs forgo services, and families will go hungry.”

The proposal is set to be finalized and released in the coming weeks. A version of the plan has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the final step before publishing a rule in the federal register.


READ: As Immigration Officers Trick People To Sign Deportation Orders, These Detainees Are Peacefully Fighting Back

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This T-Shirt Has Caused Controversy For Its Anti-Immigrant Imagery And Now The Store Has Been Forced To Apologize

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This T-Shirt Has Caused Controversy For Its Anti-Immigrant Imagery And Now The Store Has Been Forced To Apologize

Ebony Mart

A shirt with the slogan “got papers?” featuring the silhouette of a family fleeing caused outrage in Port Arthur, Texas. The T-shirt leaves nothing to the imagination and would only be worn by someone who delights in interrogating the immigration status of others. 

The Ebony Mart on Gulfway Drive, where the t-shirt is sold, is a hot spot for Latinx families in Port Arthur. 

“A lot of friends, family, everybody know this store. I knew this store since I was a baby,” Kathy Delarosa told KFDM News she visits the store two or three times a week. 

The 21-year-old was a loyal customer so when she visited Ebony Mart and saw the t-shirt in person, she was naturally upset. 

“I don’t think it’s really nice to have for the store because a lot of Hispanics will get offended. I don’t think they should sell it at all,” she said.

The Port Arthur Latinx community is not happy with Ebony Mart. 

Needless to say, seeing the t-shirt in their community did not make Latinx residents feel at home or welcome. The Port Arthur members felt like it was a slap in the face to immigrants. 

The owner, whose identity has not been revealed, claimed that she did not know the t-shirt was a part of a store order, according to KFDM. When KFDM spoke with the owner over the phone she said she no longer sold the shirts, instructed her manager to remove all of them from the racks, and extended an apology to the immigrant community. 

A candidate for Port Arthur City Council, Armando Ruiz, was not happy with the t-shirt either. 

“That’s outrageous,” said Ruiz. “That’s crazy. How a store would put out that type of product out there to sell. This is where I used to buy my uniforms, back when I went to school seven years ago. So this store is frequented a lot. It’s in a predominantly Hispanic area. A lot of Hispanics do come to this store.”

Political and offensive t-shirts appear to be a trend in the Trump era. 

T-shirts seemingly geared toward Trump supporters have been making the rounds, many of them have been singled out as offensive. Extrapolate what you will with regards to what that says about fans of the president. Just this week Bloomingdales was forced to remove a t-shirt that said one of Trump’s favorite phrases “Fake News.” 

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and we apologize for any offense we may have caused. We take this feedback very seriously and are working quickly to remove this t-shirt. Again, thank you for taking the time to alert us,” the brand said in a statement. 

However, Pamela Wood s Baltimore journalist was not satisfied with the response saying, “Apologizing ‘for any offense we may have caused’ is not a sincere apology. This is not about journalists’ hurt feelings. This is about damage done to our democracy when your brand joins in perpetuating and celebrating the idea of “fake news.” Please try again.”

Port Arthur Residents feel business owners should be mindful of who they are selling to.

Texas is one of the most diverse states with Houston being the most diverse city in the country. Port Arthur is multicultural as well with Blacks making up 41 percent of the population, Whites 37 percent, and Latinx-identifying folks making up 29.6 percent of the population according to 2010 Census data. 

“When I saw the shirt, it is very offensive,” said Henry Jones III. “You have different ethnic groups in this area. In Southeast Texas, you have to be very careful what type of product you put out because you don’t want to offend people especially with something of that sort.”

Ruiz echoed Jones’ sentiment saying business owners need to be mindful of the communities they are representing. 

“They should look at the product before they put it out there to sell for the community,” said Ruiz. “They do need to look around their surroundings and see what type of people live in their community and check out what type of product they can have and can’t have.”

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A Honduran Immigrant Construction Worker In New Orleans Warned About The Hard Rock Hotel And Is Now In ICE Custody

Things That Matter

A Honduran Immigrant Construction Worker In New Orleans Warned About The Hard Rock Hotel And Is Now In ICE Custody

YouTube

Statistics show the people in the most vulnerable professions are jobs held by the Latino community. Window washers and construction workers put their life on the line every single day when they’re up on those skyscrapers or building them. Maids and hotel workers face assault all the time. The majority of the time, these workers don’t have benefits or insurance, so if they get fired or even worse, die on the job, their family gets nothing. We also know these workers face the risk of being deported when things go wrong on the job site. 

On Oct. 12, a Hard Rock Hotel construction site in New Orleans collapsed, and it was all captured on video.

Credit: @NBC6News / Twitter

The video footage of the building’s downfall went viral on Twitter. It looked incredible scary as it was located in the heart of New Orleans. The construction site was apparently an $85 million development project by King Company and was 18-floors high. When it came crashing down, it was evident that people were hurt, and even worse, dead. 

Three people died, and dozens more were injured as a result of the crash. One of those injured was a 38-year-old construction worker, Delmer Joel Ramirez Palma.

Credit: @criticalreading / Twitter

Palma happened to be on the 13th floor when the building came down. After the crash, his family told the Washington Post that Palma experienced headaches, back pain, trauma from the collapse, which resulted in insomnia. 

Just two days after the crash, Palma was facing deportation. What makes this story so suspicious is that Palma had reported issues with the construction site before its crash.

Palma, who is an undocumented immigrant from Honduras, reported the problems with the construction site to his supervisors and coworkers at least five times, according to the Post, but they never listened to his concerns. 

The Post also reports that Palma’s supervisors became aware that several people knew about his concerns. “After the collapse, some of those workers approached him, telling him that he was right, according to the complaint. The group was within earshot of several supervisors, the complaint says.”

A day before the crash, a video (above) showed a construction worker filming the construction site and discussing the shoddy structure. The man in the video says in Spanish that there were not enough support beams to hold the concrete above it. It’s unclear if the man speaking in the video is Palma. 

Palma’s lawyer said that his client is clearly being targeted because he had expressed concerns about the construction site. 

Credit: @markmobilty / Twitter

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Homero López Jr., Palma’s lawyer, told the Post. “It definitely looks like they’re targeting him.”

His lawyer adds that his detainment, which occurred when Palma was out fishing, happened very abruptly, just two days after the crash. He said his client had been working on his immigration cases for years. 

His legal team is requesting the federal government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to stop Palma from being deported.

Credit: @univisionnews / Instagram

“I hope that they intervene in this case given the stakes, not only for Joel but also for all workers and for the integrity of this investigation,” Mary Yanik, another lawyer on Palma’s case, told New Orleans Public Radio. Yanik said that the OSHA has previously helped another undocumented worker in the past, so she hopes they will do the same with Palma. 

“He could see that this was not right,” Yanik said. “His supervisor’s response to him raising those safety issues was ‘If you don’t want to do the work, we’ll find someone else to do it.'”

ICE claims that there’s nothing suspicious about Palma’s detainment because there had been an order of deportation already on file.

Credit: @prof_hlas / Twitter

“Any claims that this has anything to do with his involvement with the Hard Rock situation is not correct. Just look at the dates,” Bryan Cox, a spokesperson for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told New Orleans Public Radio. He added that Palma was ordered to be deported nine days before the building crashed. 

According to The New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice (Workers’ Center), Palma’s case is getting a good amount of support from numerous organizations and groups from around the country. Click here for more information on how you can help Palma and his family. 

READ: In Texas, Undocumented Construction Workers Are The New Slaves

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