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An Arizona Border Patrol Agent Spent 6 Years Arresting Immigrants While Being Undocumented Himself

A former U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona was sentenced this past month to one year of probation and fined $1,000 for lying about being a U.S. citizen. Marco A. De La Garza, 38, spent almost six years as a Border Patrol agent on America’s southern border in Arizona. Officials found out De La Garza is a Mexican citizen during a background check in 2016 and when he applied for a U.S. passport in 2017.

As well as being a Border Patrol agent, De La Garza served five years in the U.S. Navy.

De La Garza was born in Mexico and lived with his mother in Mexico until 1999, when he was 19 years old. In 2003, De la Garza enlisted in the Navy and maintained an “exemplary service record” until he was honorably discharged in 2008

Despite not being a legal U.S. citizen, he had worked for CBP since 2012. This was all made possible by a Texas birth certificate from 1980 that was based off fraudulent information, according to The New York Times. De La Garza claimed he was born in Brownsville, Texas instead of his real birthplace of Matamoros, the Mexican city across the international border from Brownsville.

It was until he was 17 years old that De La Garza discovered that he wasn’t an American citizen. When he got the news he refused to believe it because he thought his parents were just trying to discourage him. Despite the birth certificate not being legitimate, De La Garza used it to claim American citizenship.

“Growing up, my parents told me that I was a U.S. citizen, and my whole childhood I was led to believe this was true,” in a letter he wrote to Judge Raner C. Collins. “Because of that, I grew up thinking I would do my duty one day and join the U.S. military.”

De La Garza agreed to plead guilty on one count of passport fraud, and the other two counts were dropped. In pleading guilty, De La Garza admitted that he lied in 2017 on his passport application. Due to his lack of any criminal history, he was sentenced to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine.

While De La Garza’s story is unusual it’s not the first time it has happened.

According to the NY Times, there have been three other instances of undocumented people working as Customs officers or Border Patrol agents who were prosecuted in federal court in recent years. The issue usually occurs when the government considers adding a large number of officers at the border.

The Trump administration has made it an initiative to have employers stop hiring illegal workers by utilizing more electronic verification tools and document checks. There has also been an uptick in the number of workplace raids being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since President Trump has taken office.

De La Garza’s story is indicative of the sometimes unknown work status of many industries in the U.S. where the labor of immigrants is considered crucial.

In a letter to Judge Collins, De La Garza said he was sorry for the incident and accepted responsibility for his actions.

“I should have pushed my parents more for information instead of dismissing it,” De La Garza wrote. “I realize how bad it could have been and how lucky I was to never have been blackmailed or taken advantage of, and for this, I am truly very sorry.”

At this time it’s still unclear if De La Garza will be allowed to remain in the U.S as he faces the possibility of being deported. His lawyer, Matthew H. Green, told the NY Times that he had been told that ICE officials have decided against removal proceeding at this time.

De La Garza plans to eventually legalize his immigration status and apply for citizenship one year after the date of his criminal conviction is finished. In his letter to the Judge, De La Garza asked for one final thing from the United States, a second chance.

READ: Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers’ Constitutional Rights

Trump Wants To Spend $500 Million To Paint His Border Wall Black While The Pandemic Leaves Millions Unemployed

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Trump Wants To Spend $500 Million To Paint His Border Wall Black While The Pandemic Leaves Millions Unemployed

Gilbert Smith / Getty

Despite unprecedented economic losses that have left more than 30 million Americans without work and millions more working in unsafe conditions, Trump has his own priorities.

Since launching his presidential campaign in 2016 on the promise of building a glorious border wall along the U.S. – Mexico border, Trump has been obsessed with realizing this massive waste of tax payer dollars. Now he is renewing calls for the wall to be painted black and in what can simply be described as a cruel and wasteful move.

Donald Trump orders his border wall to be painted black to deter more migrants during the summer when it would be too hot to touch.

President Donald Trump has requested the border wall, one of his signature campaign promises, be painted black, a proposal that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a new report. 

The Washington Post reported that Trump had ordered the border wall to be painted black in order to make it look more imposing and to make it too hot to touch during the summer. Quoting anonymous administration officials, the Post reported Trump told his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner to assess cost estimates for the wall painting plan. 

According to estimates, the cost of painting the wall black would range from $500 million for acrylic paint to over $3 billion for a “powder coating” on the wall.

The Democratic National Committee slammed the report, saying Trump “would rather let states go bankrupt than provide them more money to pay their teachers, police officers and firefighters, and fund services for the poor and elderly.”

He is reiterating the call for a black border wall despite a global health pandemic that has left millions infected and millions more without jobs.

As the U.S. death toll from Covid-19 rises to nearly 80,000 and the economy is in shambles, Trump has decided the border wall’s paint job is far more important. The president is insisting that the barrier’s steel slats be painted black, despite officials’ efforts to talk him out of it and $500 million in additional costs that the cosmetic feature is expected to add to the project’s already expensive price tag.

“POTUS has changed his mind and now wants the fence painted,” an official involved in the construction of the wall told the Post. “We are modifying contracts to add.”

It may seem odd to be fixated on the color of his border wall, given the hefty additional costs painting it black would impose on the project and the pandemic currently ravaging the country under his watch—but Trump at least has a good reason. According to the Post, he’s willing to further inflate the wall budget because he believes painting it black would “enhance its forbidding appearance” and “leave the steel too hot to touch during summer months.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has floated painting the border wall black, but officials thought they had talked him out of it last fall.

Reports have emerged in the past over Trump’s obsession with micromanaging the physical appearance of his famed border wall. In May 2019, a Post report revealed Trump had floated painting the ‘slats’ of the border wall a ‘flat black’ so the metal would absorb more heat from the sun and make it harder for people to scale.

Trump also said he wanted the border barrier to include metal spikes at the top that will cut climbers’ hands.

Fisher Sand and Gravel, a South Dakota-based company already being considered for a $400 million contract to build new portions of wall in Arizona, were consulted to provide estimates for painting. They provided the $500 million – $3 billion estimates for painting the structure’s 30-foot steel bollards depending on the option of paint, which the White House has not yet chosen.

Trump has renewed his call for the border wall and blamed migration on the Coronavirus pandemic – even though that’s 100% fake news.

In recent weeks, Trump has increased attention on his border wall project – labeling it a way to protect the country from the Coronavirus pandemic. According to his administration, the structure and the government’s cruel immigration policy have acted as a defense against coronavirus spreading into the U.S. from other countries.  

‘Mexico is sadly experiencing very big CoronaVirus problems, and now California, get this, doesn’t want people coming over the Southern Border. A Classic!’ Trump tweeted Tuesday.

‘They are sooo lucky that I am their President,’ he gloated. ‘Border is very tight and the Wall is rapidly being built!’

However, the president seems to be ignoring the fact that the U.S. in the number one country in the world when it comes to Coronavirus infections and deaths. In fact, at the beginning of the global pandemic, Mexico had considered closing its border with the U.S. to prevent the spread of the disease from the U.S. into Mexico.

Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

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Colorado Organization Raises Money To Offer Relief Checks To Undocumented People In The State

Carlos Ebert / Flickr / Unsplash

Undocumented people are being left out of relief funds provided by the U.S. government. A lack of a Social Security number is why so many people have been denied relief assistance as the country grapples with an evergrowing number of COVID-19 cases. Organizations and states are stepping up to bridge that gap and give undocumented people a chance to make it through this crisis.

The Village Exchange Center in northern Aurora, Colorado is raising money to help undocumented families in Colorado.

The U.S. Congress passed an initial relief package of $2.2 trillion that came with $1,200 checks for all eligible Americans. One community left out is the undocumented community because they do not have Social Security numbers. This leaves millions of peoples without any financial safety net exacerbating the problems imposed by this pandemic.

The Village Exchange Center has sent 250 undocumented residents $1,000 checks.

According to Sentinel, the Village Exchange Center teamed received funds from the Denver Foundation, the Rose Community Foundation in Glendale, a third anonymous donor, and 30 individual donors. The $250,000 was already dispatched to the recipients chosen by the Village Exchange Center through money transfers or checks, depending on whether or not the recipient had a bank account.

This was the Village Exchange Center’s first round of COVID-19 relief payments to Colorado’s undocumented community.

The organization chose those who would receive the payments based on those who were laid off from jobs at restaurants, hotels, and other service industry jobs.

“They have no access to unemployment, they will not be getting a stimulus check or any other form of assistance, even though most of them pay taxes,” Mark Newhouse, a trustee at the Denver Foundation, told Sentinel. which helped build the fund. “And so, we quickly raised a quarter of a million dollars to run a pilot across the state.”

The organization is basing its work on the actions of California.

On April 15, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state fund created to offer undocumented people relief funds. Gov. Newsom allocated $75 million in taxpayer money to give to undocumented people living in California. There are an estimated 2.2 million undocumented immigrants who live in California. Undocumented people contribute more than $10 billion in taxes to the federal government when they file each year. Gov. Newsom’s administration has been sending undocumented people $500 checks to help ease their COVID-19 economic impact.

“We feel a deep sense of gratitude for people that are in fear of deportations that are still addressing essential needs of tens of millions of Californians,” Gov. Newsom said according to The Associated Press. The governor continued by acknowledging that 10 percent of California’s workforce is undocumented. Gov. Newsom also highlighted that undocumented workers in California paid $2.5 billion in local and state taxes last year.

The Village Exchange Center is currently raising more money to offer to more undocumented people living in Colorado.

The first round of money was already distributed but the application for the next round of money will be available when the funds are secured. According to Sentinel, there were 180,000 undocumented people who lived in Colorado. The Village Exchange Center’s goal is to raise enough money to give each undocumented people in Colorado a $1,000 check to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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