Things That Matter

Trump Moves To End Automatic Citizenship For Some Military Families Based Overseas, Here’s Why This Matters

There is no denying that the thorniest issues in Donald J. Trump’s presidency has been migration and citizenship. Whether it involves the Dream Act, detention centers in the border or issues of citizenship, the Trump administration seems to act like a severe judge who decides who “deserves” to be an American or call the United States home. 

The president has recently been vocal about the possibility of ending birthright citizenship, meaning that a baby will need more than just being born in the United States to be an American if their parents don’t have their paper in order. So when a recent change in citizenship policies came into effect, people saw it as a sign of worse things to come. From now on, citizenship is not guaranteed to the offspring of military personnel who are stationed overseas. Critics worry that this could be a slippery slope leading to the much feared end to birthright citizenship, a move that would redefine the social and ethical construct of the United States. 

Let’s get some background info first. The US Army has a long tradition of overseas deployments.

Credit: Instagram. @USARMYEUROPE

The United States Army has participated in two world wars and been involved in other international conflicts. It also has a strong presence in the five continents. Many of the servicemen and servicewomen deployed overseas have families with them, or form families with partners from the host country (perhaps what makes Trump officials queasy). 

You could populate a small city with the amount of US military personnel living overseas in 177 countries.

Credit: us-personnel-chart-military (1). Digital image. Visualcapitalist.com

The United States has a strong military presence in the world, particularly in Europe and Asia. Japan and South Korea in particular host over 50,000 United States troops. This means that there are cultural and personal exchanges happening every single day, which is common in this day and age of globalization. 

So what does the policy change actually mean? The number of affected individuals is low, but the consequences could be dire. 

Credit: Instagram. @USARMYEUROPE

The policy change only affects a handful of individuals, but could set a precedent for harsher and more defining moves. The New York Times explains the mechanics of the policy: “[it] would make some parents serving abroad who adopted children or who had spent limited time in the United States apply for citizenship for children not born on American soil. Immigration lawyers and military groups predicted that for those families, citizenship would have to come through an onerous, expensive application process — if it comes at all”. According to experts, the policy could affect 100 families. Each year there are about 25 applications. 

Democrats blasted the move, claiming that it is a disservice to the military.

Credit: Twitter. @RepGilCisneros

Gil Cisneros, Representative of California’s 39th Congressional District serves on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC), so his opinion has a fair amount of weight in Washington. He is totally opposed to the new policy and has been very combative on social media. He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Will this backfire on the Trump administration come election time?

Veteran policymakers are also appalled.

Credit: Twitter. @RepBarbarLee

African-American Barbara Lee, U.S. Representative for California’s 13th congressional district since 1998, has gone even farther and claimed that the decision is triggered by a racist worldview. Nancy Pelosi also expressed her discontent, tweeting: “America’s servicemembers & diplomats abroad are among our nation’s best, yet @realDonaldTrump is launching an attack on their families, putting in doubt the citizenship of their children born overseas. This shameful policy must be reversed immediately”. The drums of political war are beating. 

The hashtag #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies became a trending topic.

Credit: Twitter. @grantstern

The move is rather symbolic and exacerbates tensions that already existed between the military and the Trump administration. Jeremy Buttler, the chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told The New York Times: “By targeting the citizenship of children, the administration has made service abroad — an already intense, stressful environment — even more difficult for military families to navigate. It’s unclear what issue this policy is trying to solve, and why it’s going into effect imminently without a plan for education, outreach and support for those it affects”.

So close to election time, #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies punctures one of the GOP’s most favorable demographics.

Credit: Twitter. @thosemuckrakers

It is no secret that the GOP is generally favored by members of the military when it comes to elections. Veterans in particular tend to vote Republican. In 2016, Donald Trump received 61% of  the veteran vote. Could moves like this change that tendency?

Others have called out the presidency for a pattern of singling out particular communities.

Credit: Twitter. @in_pubs

Some Twitter users are connecting this policy change to other shifts in immigration policies, particularly the so-called “Muslim ban”. This veteran will simply not have it. Officials have played down the criticism, arguing that the change just requires different paperwork and that it does not affect birthright citizenship.

But opposing voices are adding up. Trend News Agency reports Andy Blevins, executive director of the Modern Military Association of America, which advocates for gay and lesbian service members, as saying: “Military members already have enough to deal with, and the last thing that they should have to do when stationed overseas is go through hoops to ensure their children are U.S. citizens”. 

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

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Five Migrant Girls Were Found Left Alone And Abandoned In The Texas Heat

This past March, according to El Pais, migrants crossed the Rio Grande at an all-time high not seen in the past 15 years. US government reports underlined that a total of 171,000 people arrived at the southern border of the United States in March. Eleven percent were minors who made the journey by themselves.

Reports say that this vulnerable group will continue to grow in size with recent shifts in the Biden administration child immigration policies. Five migrants girls recently found by the river recently became part of this group.

An onion farmer in Quemado recently reported that he found five migrant girls on his land.

The girls were each under the age of seven, the youngest was too small to even walk. Three of the girls are thought to be from Honduras, the other two are believed to have come from Guatemala.​ Jimmy Hobbs, the farmer who found the girls, said that he called the Border Patrol gave the children aid by giving them water and food and putting them in the shade.

“I don’t think they would have made it if I hadn’t found them,” Hobbs told US Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-Texas) in a New York Post. “Because it got up to 103 yesterday.”

“My thoughts are that it needs to stop right now. There are going to be thousands. This is just five miles of the Rio Grande,” Hobbs’ wife added in their conversation with Gonzalez. “That’s a huge border. This is happening all up and down it. It can’t go on. It’s gonna be too hot. There’ll be a lot of deaths, a lot of suffering.” 

“It is heartbreaking to find such small children fending for themselves in the middle of nowhere,” Chief Border Patrol Agent Austin Skero II explained of the situation in an interview with ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “Unfortunately this happens far too often now. If not for our community and law enforcement partners, these little girls could have faced the more than 100-degree temperatures with no help.”

According to reports, the Customs and Border Protection stated that the five girls​ ​will be processed and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.​

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A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Things That Matter

A Group of Volunteer ‘Fairy Godmothers’ Threw a Lavish Quinceañera For This Homeless Teen Girl

Photo via Getty Images

For most Latinas, having a quinceañera is a right-of-passage. Your quinceañera is the official milestone that proves you’re finally a woman. It’s a party that you look forward to your entire childhood. It’s that one time in your life that you, and only you, get to feel like a princess.

Unfortunately, not every girl has the luxury of having a quinceañera. Some girls’ families don’t have the finances to throw a huge party.

In Miami, a group of “fairy godmothers” organized a quinceañera for a homeless teen girl whose family recently emigrated from Mexico.

The girl, Adriana Palma, had moved with her family from Mexico to Miami in early 2020. But because of the pandemic, her father lost his job. Adriana, her parents, and her three younger brothers spent the next four months living in their SUV.

Relocating to another country is hard enough, but Adriana faced another challenge by being homeless, struggling to learn English, and chasing down random Wi-Fi signals in order to complete her homework assignments. It was a struggle, to say the least.

And to make matters worse, Adriana’s fifteenth birthday was coming up. Adrian’s parents told her that, since they were homeless, they wouldn’t be able to throw her a quinceañera. “We will be together as a family,” her mother, Itzel Palma, told her. “That will be my gift to you.”

Luckily, the Palma family had a group of guardian angels watching out for them. Being homeless wouldn’t prevent Adriana from having a quinceañera.

A charity called Miami Rescue Mission had already hooked up the Palmas with a small apartment for the family to get back on their feet. “Cover Girls”, a subgroup of the Miami Rescue Mission, dedicate their time to help women and children who are in tough circumstances.

When Lian Navarro, leader of the Cover Girls, found out about Adriana’s situation, she knew she had to help. Cuban-Amercian herself, Navarro knew how important quinceañeras are to young Latinas. She called up her group of volunteers and they got to work making Adriana’s dream come true.

The 60 “fairy godmothers” decided to throw Adriana the quinceañera of her dreams in a local Miami church. They settled on a theme: Paris.

The volunteers decorated the bare church in gold Eiffel towers, supplied pink macarons and French pastries, they topped off each table with a floral centerpiece. They gifted Adriana with every item on her wish list. Not to mention, Adriana was able to be dressed up in a frilly pink quinceañera dress. Her hair and makeup were professionally done. A professional photographer captured her special day.

“We want them to have these memories,” said Cover Girl volunteer, Tadia Silva, about children and teens who grow up homeless. “They have to believe they are worth all that because they are.”

After her beautiful quinceañera, Adriana appeared to know her true worth. At the end of the party, she gave her “fairy godmothers” personalized notes of thanks. “I felt like a princess,” she said.

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