Things That Matter

Undocumented Residents Struggle To Recover After Hurricanes Without Assistance

While millions of people in Mexico, the United States and Puerto Rico rebuild after a month filled with catastrophic natural disasters, there is one group struggling silently. Undocumented residents in the U.S. are the least assisted and most vulnerable population when it comes to natural disaster and recovery efforts. Why? Because they do not qualify for any government assistance. When their homes and belongings are lost to disaster, they do not receive the same aid as their neighbors.

A recent story by NPR’s Marketplace exposes this reality for the undocumented community trying to rebuild in Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey. They followed Ingrid, an undocumented Honduran immigrant who came to Houston 12 years ago, as she tried to start the recovery process. A mother of four, her husband was deported to Mexico just one week before the hurricane hit.

FEMA offers up to $33,000 in cash assistance for every household impacted by natural disasters. For Ingrid, she is only allowed to apply on behalf of her US-born children, who are ages 12, 10, 6 and 3 months. However, having children that are citizens did not guarantee her any assistance. In fact, she never even received any.

“I filled out an application with FEMA but they still haven’t responded,” Ingrid told Marketplace. “They haven’t sent me anything. They’ve told me nothing. I don’t have any idea what happened with that application. I’ve been to various organizations but none of them helped me.”

If you would like to learn more about how Ingrid is managing through the recovery, click here.

(H/T: Marketplace)


READ: ICE Took Undocumented Women And Children To A Bus Station That Had Canceled Service Because Of Hurricane Harvey

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Police Identify, Arrest Man Accused Of Destroying Beloved Jesus Statue In El Paso Church

Things That Matter

Police Identify, Arrest Man Accused Of Destroying Beloved Jesus Statue In El Paso Church

El Paso Police Department / elpasodiocese / Instagram

An important Jesus statue in an El Paso church has been destroyed and police have arrested the suspect. The statue in St. Patrick’s Cathedral was taken down and decapitated and the person police suspect to be responsible has been arrested.

Earlier this week, a 90-year-old Jesus statue was decapitated by a vandal who destroyed the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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We are saddened to announce the vandalism at St. Patrick Cathedral earlier today. The Cathedral was vandalized this morning at around 10:00am. A suspect came into the sanctuary at St. Patrick Cathedral and destroyed the almost 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was located in the center behind the main altar of the church. The church was open and available for prayer. A suspect has been detained by the El Paso Police department. The police are currently continuing their investigation into the vandalism. The Rector of St. Patrick Cathedral, Fr. Trini Fuentes, said, “I am in shock and we at the Cathedral are heartbroken over such an unexpected situation.” Bishop Seitz also expressed his sadness about the damage caused to the historic Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue. “This statue is one of my favorite representations of Jesus—his arms open wide in welcome, his heart aflame with love for us. I would often take inspiration from this image as I prepared for Mass.” “As sad as I am to see a statue attacked and destroyed, I am grateful that it was not a living person,” Bishop Seitz added. “But a statue, particularly this statue, concretizes and connects us to persons and ideals that are not visible to our eyes. They reveal to us realities that are close to us, but unseen,” he said. “At this point we do not know anything about the person who carried out this assault, but he certainly must be a person who is greatly disturbed to have attacked this peaceful place in our city and this image of the King of Peace. I hope this might be the impetus for him to receive the help he needs. He will be in my prayers,” Bishop Seitz added. “I am devastated at this irreplaceable loss as I know members of this parish community and the whole Church of El Paso will be. In this moment we will reach out in confidence to the One this statue represented and I know he will console us,” Bishop Seitz concluded. St. Patrick, Patron of Ireland and our Diocese, Pray for us.

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The community was rocked when the damage was reported. The statue has been behind the church’s main altar for decades. The vandal attacked the statue at around 10:00 a.m. when the church was opened for prayer when the vandal attacked.

El Paso police have arrested a man in connection to the vandalism.

According to a press release from the police department, 30-year-old Isaiah Cantrell has been arrested for the vandalism. The damage to the statue is estimated to be about $25,000 and Cantrell’s bail has been set at $20,500. El Pasoans are angered at the man for destroying the irreplaceable statue.

“This statue is one of my favorite representations of Jesus—his arms open wide in welcome, his heart aflame with love for us,” Bishop Seitz said about the destruction of the historic Sacred Heart of Jesus statue. “I would often take inspiration from this image as I prepared for Mass.”

Statues like the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue are important to communities that are used to seeing them. The destruction has left clergymen and parishioners angered and saddened by the loss of the statue. It is a historic part of the El Paso religious community having overseen masses since before World War II.

The Diocese of El Paso is raising money to help St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The funds raised by the Diocese of El Paso and the Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso will be used on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The money raised will be used to fix the shattered statue as well as add security and do renovations to the famed church.

“I am devastated at this irreplaceable loss as I know members of this parish community and the whole Church of El Paso will be,” Bishop Seitz said. “In this moment we will reach out in confidence to the One this statue represented and I know he will console us.”

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A Texas Man’s Taco Truck Was Saved By A Tweet And This Is The Story We Need Right Now

Things That Matter

A Texas Man’s Taco Truck Was Saved By A Tweet And This Is The Story We Need Right Now

TaqueriaElToritoOficial / Instagram

In a story that’s becoming all too familiar amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, one man’s taco truck was on the brink of going out of business.

Many small business owners throughout the country continue to struggle through the pandemic. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, more than 100,000 small businesses have not survived – and that number is on the rise.

However, one woman came up with an idea to help her father’s Houston-based taco truck and thankfully for them – and us (we all could use some good news right now!) the idea has seemed to work. Proving that the phrase “Hey Twitter!!” might just save the economy — one taco truck at a time.

It all started with a Tweet that ended up saving one man’s business.

One daughter, who was trying to help us her father’s struggling taco truck, turned to Twitter for help. And it delivered better-than-hoped-for results for Elias Aviles after his daughter, 21-year-old Giselle Aviles, posted a simple plea after learning that her hardworking father had made just $6 in a day, his business slammed by the pandemic.

“Hey Twitter!!” she tweeted of her dad’s Houston-area business, Taqueria El Torito. “I wouldn’t normally do this, but my dad’s taco truck business is struggling. He only sold $6 today. If you could retweet, I would appreciate you so much!!”

Thanks to Twitter, they could — and so could thousands of others. In fact so many people streamed in — he found people waiting when he arrived to open up at 8 a.m. the next day, on a line that had started forming at 6 a.m. — that he had to close down twice, once to restock and again when he simply ran out of product, CNN reported.

Gisele knew she had to do something to help out her father – who had put six years of his life into the taco truck.

Thanks to the Coronavirus, things have been tough for Elias Aviles and his truck, Taqueria El Torito. Some days earnings have been as low as $60, sometimes even just $20.

But one day he earned just $6 for a full 12-hour shift, and his daughter was shocked into action. She told CNN, “I just said well we have nothing to lose and I decided to make the tweet that day.”

Her plea to the world worked. Her Tweet has since been retweeted more than 10,000 times and has 9,800 likes.

But neither of them were prepared for just how much of an effect the Tweet would have.

Credit: TaqueriaElToritoOficial / Instagram

Although Gisele admits she did warn her father to get ready for some new customers, nothing could of prepared her for the magnitude of support from the community.

By 8 a.m. the next day, Elias had a line of customers waiting for his fresh tortas Cubanas—and some had been waiting there since six in the morning. It was such a busy period that Elias even had to close the truck for a short while in order to restock. Luckily, Giselle was able to help out with orders that day.

During her Monday shift, Giselle estimated that more than a hundred customers came through for Mexican specialties.

“I’m so moved because finally people know that his food is good,” Giselle told KHOU. “There were so many people, and [my dad] was kind of shocked because he didn’t think there would be a turn around that quickly.”

Since then, Giselle has helped her dad set up an Instagram account for his business.

Gisele has since helped modernize her father’s business by helping him setup an Instagram account.

She told KHOU, “I’m so moved because finally people know that his food is good. There were so many people, and [my dad] was kind of shocked because he didn’t think there would be a turn around that quickly.”

The string under her original tweet lists a photo array of offerings so mouthwatering that people from around the U.S. are offering to contribute. One commenter even offered to buy out his entire truck to feed a hospital staff.

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