Things That Matter

People Across Twitter Are Left Saying WTF After Trump Says He Admires Former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Because He’s Hispanic

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On Friday it was reported that Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta, the only Latino member of his cabinet, would be resigning. The news came as the secretary was under intense scrutiny for having let an alleged sexual predator off easy.

Trump’s press conference was already off to a strange start, even by Trump standards, but it was his comments about Alex Acosta’s heritage that really sent Twitter abuzz.

Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is resigning amid criticism of his brokering of a plea deal for alleged sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein in a child sex case.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

President Trump’s embattled labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, announced his resignation on Friday amid continuing questions about his handling of a sex crimes case involving the financier Jeffrey Epstein when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

But it was Trump’s handling of the resignation and press conference that really sent Twitter into overdrive.

President Trump delivered lengthy and rambling remarks to reporters with soon-to-be former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta by his side. Trump announced Acosta is resigning in the wake of nationwide outrage over his gift of a sweetheart deal to accused child rapist and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

When Trump announced that Alex Acosta was leaving his administration he added in that the Labor Secretary was Hispanic not once, but twice.

First, he said, “He’s a Hispanic man. He went to Harvard.” And he later added, “He’s Hispanic, which I so admire because maybe it was a little tougher for him and maybe not.”

Now with Acosta out, Trump has zero Hispanics in his cabinet.

Credit: @PhilipRucker / Twitter

Acosta was the first Latino appointee to Trump’s mostly straight, cisgender, white, and male cabinet. The president has since nominated Jovita Carranza to be Small Business Administator, a cabinet level position, but she has not yet been confirmed. Trump has notably appointed very few women and minorities to the federal judiciary or top positions in his administration.

This is not the first time Trump has tokenized people from minority groups. During his 2016 presidential campaign, he singled out a a supporter of color, saying “Look at my African American over here.” He also reportedly suggested that he only wanted short Jewish guys — not black people — to be “counting” his money.

But it was really the Twitter reactions that made this story. Here are some of the best:

One Twitter user pointed out the president had just committed the cardinal sin that so many non-POC committ: the “I’m not a racist because I have a POC friend” excuse but this time on national television.

There are so many good memes, like this one that basically shows our collective reaction to Trump’s words.

Credit: @thegandiman / Twitter

Let’s quickly recap.

Trump went to unusually great lengths to defend and praise Acosta, at one point praising him for his heritage.

“He was a great student at Harvard,” Trump said of his outgoing Labor Secretary. “He’s Hispanic, which I so admire, because maybe it was a little tougher for him – and maybe not. But he did an unbelievable job as the secretary of Labor.”

Many questioned how he could say he admires Hispanics given his treatment of largely Hispanic and Latino migrants seeking asylum in the US.

Credit: @atrupar / Twitter

Seriously, Trump’s rhetoric against people of color, and Latinos in particular, has been nothing short of cruel, mean, and inciting hate.

Then there’s those who offered up a little #tbt.

Because few of us can forget this moment. Trump was still running for president back in 2016 and at a restaurant in New York’s Trump Tower. on Cindo de Mayo. he was interviewed while eating a taco bowl salad and basically used that as proof that he’s not a racist.

At the time he said ” The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”

Yes, that’s a direct quote.

Aside from the ridiculous mention of Acosta being Hispanic, many were upset Trump was defending a man who let an alleged sexual predator off easy.

Acosta, a former federal prosecutor, agreed to a sweetheart plea deal in 2008 with billionaire financier and former Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein. Last week, Epstein — who Trump previously called a “terrific guy” — was charged with sex trafficking involving girls as young as 14. In a lengthy press conference this week, Acosta took no responsibility at all for the non-prosecution agreement.

And this meme basically sums up the collective reaction of Latino Twitter.

When will it all finally come to an end…?

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition

New Report Confirms That Trump’s Border Wall Is Jeopardizing Native American History And Sensitive Environments

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New Report Confirms That Trump’s Border Wall Is Jeopardizing Native American History And Sensitive Environments

Agh! Every time we read or hear the words “Border Wall” our stomach ties up in a knot and we whisper “Y ahora qué se trae este pinche gringo?”. But well, being aware of the repercussions that the Border Wall could have is part of being socially and civically responsible. Being informed is what makes us make better choices when it comes to politics, and next year is a preeeeetty big year when it comes to deciding what the future holds not only for the United States, but for the world at large.  

The Trump Border Wall is just the “gift” that keeps on giving, isn’t it?

Credit: Giphy. @luisprado-0557

We have all discussed the impact that the proposed Border Wall (which seems very close to becoming a reality, particularly if Trump wants to secure a second term by appealing to his core voters) could have on social, cultural and political terms. We know that it will make an already tense border situation even worse, and that the US vs THEM mentality that some hold could get even uglier. This, of course, can lead to further instances if vitriolic racism and violence (vigilante groups will feel vindicated). But as the months go by and the Border Wall seems to become a reality, new findings are discovering its impact in other spheres… 

22 archeological sites in Arizona could be decimated by the Border Wall

Credit: Instagram. @aztassociation

The Border Wall will be constructed right through the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. The National Park Service commissioned a report to assess the impact that the construction could have on 22 archeological sites in the Park. And the results are alarming. 

The Roosevelt Reservation would be particularly impacted.

Credit: Instagram. @
And the threat is imminent. Contractors have basically set shop and started to build fences around the place. The exact extent of the building plans have not been disclosed, not even to National Park authorities. As Andrew Veech, a member of the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region Archaeology Program, wrote in the report: “Precise design plans for this expanded border infrastructure have been left to the discretion of the contractors, and no details about the building project(s) have been furnished to the National Park Service”. This is just plain wrong, as any efforts to preempt potential problems are impossible. This area is tricky, as it is made up from federal, state, tribal, and private lands. 

The past is being erased.

Credit: Instagram. @pnolbert

The National Park holds invaluable archeological assets left behind by the original indigenous owners of the land. As the Tucson Sentinel reports: “One site located near the Sonoyta River includes artifacts scattered throughout, including dozens of stone artifacts, stone fragments, a “hammerstone,” pieces of broken pots known as sherds, as well as shells presumably from the Gulf of California that were probably used during the Hohokam Period, between 1150 to 1400″. Researchers are still putting the pieces together to unearth the particularities of the human groups that first inhabited what is now the United States-Mexico border, which is key for the identity of a cultural formation. Archeologists argue that these 22 sites yield important information about Native-American populations before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores. 

And the Border Wall will also have an environmental impact.

Credit: Instagram. @arizonasfamily

Geopolitical borders are a human construct, so flora and fauna don’t really care where a country starts and another ends. This is why the environmental impact of a monstrous Border Wall would be nothing short of apocalyptic for Arizonian environment and indigenous communities. As reported by The New York Times: “The unearthing of the area surrounding the barriers and the installation of lights on the wall will devastate wildlife and contaminate cultural lands”. The scenario is dire for animal and plant species in the area, as a former worker of the National Park told NYT: “‘The lights that will be installed on top of the wall, blasted into the wilderness, the ground water being sucked up — it’s more than just a border wall. All of these activities will just increase the desertification of the region”. Just look at the beauty of this landscape, the millenary cacti, the shrubs sucking up water to survive: are we really willing for it all to just become a wasteland?

Trump’s wall would also decimate indigenous populations in Arizona.

Credit: Instagram. @oodhampodcaster

Let us not forget that this area, as happens with long stretches of the border, has been home to Native-Americans for centuries. But their future is at stake. As The New York Times states: “The Organ Pipe Cactus Monument is sandwiched between the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Tohono O’odham Reservation. Leaders of the Tohono O’odham say the border wall would virtually split the indigenous community in half”. And really, is there anyone more American than the very first, original Americans?

ICE Is Taking Advantage Of Migrants Who Can’t Read Or Write In Their Court Proceedings

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ICE Is Taking Advantage Of Migrants Who Can’t Read Or Write In Their Court Proceedings

Sandy Huffaker / Sandy Huffaker

Last summer, images of undocumented immigrant children went viral. These images didn’t show them crying, or being taken away from their parents. These children were pictured alone in court. The nameless children had no one by their side, no one to represent them, and had no clue what was going on, despite the fact that they were there trying to seek asylum. In some cases, these children wore headphones as a means to translate what the judge was saying. However, given that they were just children, the translation was almost useless. Reports are now servicing that immigration officials are using the language barrier as a means to keep them out of the U.S. 

An op-ed, written by a volunteer at the border, states that asylum-seeking immigrants cannot read or write in English or in their native tongue and immigration officials are taking advantage of that.

Emily Reed, a recent grad student from Barnard University, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post that stated she witnessed this manipulation from immigration officials against illiterate undocumented people. Reed was at the border in Texas volunteering with classmates at the South Texas Family Residential Center volunteering with the Dilley Pro Bono Project when she witnessed this manipulation. 

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection often conveniently exploit asylum seekers who cannot read. Along with an unfamiliarity with our deliberately complex immigration system, the illiteracy of Central American migrants, especially women, facilitates the deportation of parents and separation of families,” Reed wrote. She added, “By manipulating illiterate refugees who often unwittingly sign away their rights, the U.S. government is violating the basic tenets of the internationally recognized and protected right to seek asylum.” 

Reed added that her volunteer program with the legal center provided Spanish documents to the migrant families, but they couldn’t under that either.

“Simple translation is not enough,” she wrote. “The Dilley Pro Bono Project provides documents in Spanish, but even this paperwork was difficult for many migrant women to understand. Many women I helped to fill out paperwork struggled simply to write their children’s birth dates.”

The migrant families are being rushed within the court and legal process, which in turn, is causing deportation to happen a lot faster.

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported that the haste paperwork at the border made it possible for immigration officials to rush and deport undocumented immigrants. The ACLU stated this process should not be rushed because people need to take their time and understand what is going on and what it is that they’re signing. 

“This waiting period is crucial to ensure that parents have an opportunity to make an informed decision about whether to fight their own removal cases, leave their children (who may have their own asylum claims) behind in the United States, or make some other decision,” the ACLU stated lasted year. “In short, families will be making life-altering decisions after months of traumatic separation — and the fact that the government is trying to shortchange them a matter of days to do so is galling.”

A New York Times report showed that 58,000 asylum seekers are currently stuck in Mexico under Trump’s policy because they’re awaiting asylum hearings.

The backlog for these asylum hearings is up to six to eight months, and when they’re ready for their hearing the majority of them won’t understand what needs to be done. This is why they need proper representation, and a patient legal system so they comprehend what is being asked of them and what the next steps are. 

What makes this matter even worse is that there’s not enough legal representation for each family unit, or individual, at the border. 

Last year, it was very apparent that there were not enough lawyers or legal help for undocumented immigrants at the border, and this year there’s even more undocumented people awaiting help and attempting to seek asylum. There people like Reed who want to help asylum seekers, but it’s not as easy as they might think. 

“People see the crisis happening, and they want to do something right now, which is great. But when we explain that this is a long-term fight, and we need your long-term commitment. That’s when people sort of back off.” Zenén Jaimes Pérez, the communications director at the Texas Civil Rights Project, told Huffington Post last year. 

If, however, you are willing to put in the time, or you’re interested in learning more about how you can provide legal help, or assist legal teams at the border, please reach out to: the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (“ProBAR”); the Immigration Justice Project (“IJP”); the ACLU of Texas; and RAICES.

READ: Selena Gomez Announces New Netflix Series ‘Living Undocumented’