Things That Matter

CBP Officials Are Blaming The Two Deaths Of Undocumented Migrants In One Week On Health Issues

While the news may have shifted toward President Donald Trump’s impeachment and the wildfires in California, the immigration crisis is still very much a prevalent issue here in the U.S. and in Mexico. As the U.S. continues to enforce its “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires asylum seekers to go back to Mexico after they have filed their asylum application and await their hearing, Mexico insists they are protecting those undocumented people in their country. However, undocumented people who are living around the border as they wait for their asylum hearing say conditions in Mexico are not good and unsafe. The situation in the U.S. isn’t all that better. 

In just one week, two undocumented people have died while in border patrol custody. They were both being detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Tuscon, Arizona.

Credit: @SonjaHHarris / Twitter

The first unfortunate story comes out of Arizona where a 49-year-old Mexican national died on Oct. 21of an alleged pre-existing heart condition, CBP said in a Tuesday statement, according to The Hill. As of this publishing, the man has yet to be named and no press release statement appears on the CBP website. 

Just a couple of days later, on Oct. 26, a 33-year-old Mexican woman died while also being detained by the CBP in Tuscon. According to the Tucson Sentinel, the woman “was found unconscious at an intersection near Tubac, Ariz., two weeks ago.” She succumbed to her condition at a Tucson hospital on Saturday morning. 

Both deaths appear to be unrelated to their treatment within CBP custody but instead alleged health causes as officials stated. 

Credit: dannowicki / Twitter

In the case of the 33-year-old woman, according to the Tucson Sentinel, “the deputy was responding to a 911 call reported that a woman was passed out at an intersection,” Meredith Mingledorff, a spokeswoman for CBP told the newspaper. “She was taken to a Tucson hospital where she was found to have injuries consistent with severe dehydration.”

There’s not much more information regarding the 49-year-old Mexican national who died of a heart condition. CBP officials said in a statement, according to The Hill, “U.S. Customs and Border Protection is saddened to report a 49-year-old man from Mexico was pronounced deceased Monday morning in a Southern Arizona hospital. Our condolences are with his family.”

These two deaths in one week are just the latest in a string of recent deaths of undocumented people in CBP and ICE custody.

Credit: @RepTimRyan / Twitter

On Oct. 16, Roylan Hernandez-Diaz, a 43-year-old man from Cuba died after he allegedly committed suicide at the Richwood Correctional Center in Louisiana.  Then on Oct. 2, Nebane Abienwi, a 37-year-old Cameroon male national died under ICE custody at the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center where “he was undergoing treatment for a brain hemorrhage since Sept. 26,” ICE said in a statement. According to ICE, Abienwi began “experiencing a hypertensive event in the middle of the night” and “began immediate treatment upon arrival.”

It’s unclear how many people have died in CBP or ICE custody because each death is tracked differently in every fiscal year.

Credit: @ACLU / Twitter

Each department handles its own numbers, along with separating by gender and age group (children or adults). It’s also challenging to get an exact number because they track them under their fiscal year which begins in October. Some news outlets report that 24 undocumented people died within the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The Tuscon Sentinial reports that 12 undocumented people died in 2019 alone.  The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is also keeping track of deaths that occur while undocumented people are being detained. 

When someone dies in government custody, they typically give out the same statement, which is: “ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody. While any death in ICE custody is unfortunate, fatalities in ICE custody are exceedingly rare. Statistically, fatalities in ICE custody occur at a small fraction of the national average for detained populations in federal or state custody.”

Immigration advocates stress that undocumented people are being detained inhumanely and are living in dire conditions.

Credit: @ACLUofColorado / Twitter

Medical personnel and legal teams have expressed that they have witnessed terrible conditions that undocumented people live in each day.

Earlier this year, Victoria López, a Senior Staff Attorney, with the American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project said that they are keeping track of their reports about how undocumented people are being treated by these government agencies. “Immigration detention poses life-threatening health and safety risks for the tens of thousands of people who are locked up across the country,” she stated. “These abuses are not only a problem with ICE. The Border Patrol operates a system of jails where migrants are detained, typically in the nation’s border regions. These jails are notoriously known as ‘hieleras,’ or iceboxes, because of the frigid temperatures inside of the cells. The conditions in these cells are so unsafe that a lawsuit was filed in 2015 to force the agency to meet basic constitutional standards.”

READ: In Another Dangerous Attack On Migrants, ICE Is Denying Women Lifesaving Medical Care At This Texas Facility

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

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Google Is Pledging $250K To Help With DACA Applications And Renewals

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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is not a contentious topic among Americans. The program offers young adults who entered the U.S. as children relief from deportation and a chance to live out of the shadows. Now that it has been reinstated, Google wants to help some people achieve the dream of being a DACA recipient.

Google is pledging a quarter of a million dollars to help people apply for DACA.

The Trump administration did everything in their power to end DACA. The constant uncertainty has left hundreds of thousands of young people in limbo. The war waged against Dreamers by the Trump administration came to a temporary end when a federal judge ruled that Chad Wolf was illegally installed as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It invalidated a member from Wolf stating that no new DACA applications would be approved.

Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs, laid out the case for DACA in an essay.

Walker discusses the uncertainty the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently face after the tumultuous time for the program. He also touches on the economic hardships that has befallen so many because of the pandemic. With so many people out of work, some Dreamers do not have the money to apply or renew their DACA due to a lack of financial resources. For that reason, Google is getting involved.

“We want to do our part, so Google.org is making a $250,000 grant to United We Dream to cover the DACA application fees of over 500 Dreamers,” writes Walker. “This grant builds on over $35 million in support that Google.org and Google employees have contributed over the years to support immigrants and refugees worldwide, including more than $1 million from Googlers and Google.org specifically supporting DACA and domestic immigration efforts through employee giving campaigns led by HOLA (Google’s Latino Employee Resource Group).”

People are celebrating Google for their decision but are calling on Congress to do more.

Congress will ultimately have to decide on what to do for the Dreamers. There has been growing pressure from both sides of the aisle calling on Congress to work towards granting them citizenship. DACA is a risk of being dismantled at any moment. It is up to Congress to come through and deliver a bill to fix the issue once and for all.

“We know this is only a temporary solution. We need legislation that not only protects Dreamers, but also delivers other much-needed reforms,” writes Walker. “We will support efforts by the new Congress and incoming Administration to pass comprehensive immigration reform that improves employment-based visa programs that enhance American competitiveness, gives greater assurance to immigrant workers and employers, and promotes better and more humane immigration processing and border security practices.”

READ: New DACA Applications Were Processed At The End Of 2020 For The First Time In Years

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

Julio César Aguilar / Getty Images

As the number of parents and children crossing the border continues to increase, driven by violence and poverty in Central America, many are growing desperate while being forced to wait in migrant camps in Mexico. While crossings have not reached the levels seen in previous years, facilities that hold migrants are approaching capacity, which has been reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is forcing many to check the status of their claims by crossing into the U.S. to speak to border agents. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more women are being forced to give birth in less than ideal situations – putting at risk both the lives of the mother and child.

A migrant woman gave birth on a bridge between U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Mexican border authorities, a Honduran woman gave birth on the Mexican side of the border bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. The woman was apparently trying to reach the U.S. side, but felt unsteady when she got there and was helped by pedestrians on the Mexican side waiting to cross.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said the birth occurred Saturday afternoon on the Ignacio Zaragoza border bridge, also known as “Los Tomates.” It said authorities received an alert from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials regarding “a woman trying to enter the country improperly.”

It said the woman was taken to a hospital in Matamoros, where she was given free care. Her child will have the right to Mexican citizenship.

Hernández is hardly the first woman to give birth while hoping to cross into the U.S.

Just last month, a woman gave birth along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. She had just crossed the river and her smugglers were yelling at her to keep moving as U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived. But she couldn’t continue, fell to the ground, and began to give birth.

The mother and her her daughter are safe and in good health. “They treated me well, thank God,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she fears retribution if she’s forced to leave the country, in an interview with ABC News.

“There’s so many women in great danger,” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, told ABC News. “They must really think before they do what they do and risk the life of their unborn child.”

Like so many other women, Hernández was waiting in Mexico under Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Hernández was reportedly among about 800 migrants sheltering in an improvised riverside camp while awaiting U.S. hearings on their claims for asylum or visas. Other migrants are waiting in Matamoros, but have rented rooms.

Thousands of other migrants are waiting in other Mexican border cities for a chance to enter the U.S. — some for years. The Trump administration has turned away tens of thousands at legal border crossings, first citing a shortage of space and then telling people to wait for court dates under its “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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