Things That Matter

A Veteran And Former Border Agent Was Fired After He Found Out He Wasn’t Born In The U.S.

If you’re Latino, have a Latin-sounding name, are protesting immigrant rights, or speak against immigration officials, or your employer, look out, there could be a target on your back. We mean that metaphorically, sort of, but all of the examples above have proven to be real. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies are keeping tabs on all those individuals, and, if there’s anything suspicious in your record, you could face deportation. 

A Latino who worked for the border patrol for 18 years was fired after they probed into his background and found out he has a fraudulent U.S. birth certificate. 

Credit: @latimes / Twitter

This summer, Raul Rodriguez, a 51-year-old native of Texas, was told that he could no longer work for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He had been with the agency for 18 years, and also is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, but none of that mattered after government workers looked closely into his U.S. birth certificate, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Last year, we reported that the government would be looking into birth certificates that were issued by midwives in border towns, including in Texas. 

Credit: @Centaur1207 / Twitter

It was last year that Latinos who were renewing their passports were getting denied due to specific details on their birth certificates. This controversy stems back to the Bush Administration based on investigations conducted by the government. The government claims that countless of fraudulent birth certificates were issued between the 1950s through the 1990s by midwives and physicians. These birth certificates in question occurred along the Texas-Mexico border. It is only now, under the Trump Administration that the officials have begun inquiring about this matter once again. 

Rodriguez is one of about 246 people that have had their U.S. citizenship overturned or have been deemed to have a suspicious birth certificate. Rodriguez only found out that he wasn’t actually born in the U.S. last year. 

Credit: @msn / Twitter

Rodriguez has always believed to be a U.S. citizen, but last year he attempted to help his brother apply for a U.S. passport. When Rodriguez provided his birth certificate to authorities, they inquired because the certificate said he was born via a midwife during the dates in question. What authorities suspected of Rodriguez was true. He was actually born in Matamoros, Mexico. 

Rodriguez recalled to KRGV News the moment U.S. officials presented him with his original birth certificate. “‘Have you ever seen it?’ I said, no. I’ve never seen it before. I’m almost 50 years old, and I’ve never seen it,” Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez still couldn’t believe this claim was right, so he approached his dad, who lived in Mexico. His father, Margarito Rodriguez, confirmed that he was, in fact, born in Mexico. Rodriguez told the Los Angeles Times that this information was “his worst fear.” 

Rodriguez immediately applied to be a U.S. citizen, but his application was denied because he “lied” about being a U.S. citizen and because he voted illegally. 

Credit: @sethimaz_law / Twitter

It’s incredible that the U.S. can fault him for an action he never committed. Rodriguez didn’t issue the fraudulent birth certificate, he didn’t know he was born in Mexico, and he certainly didn’t think he was voting illegally because he didn’t realize he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. As KRGV News notes, a 1996 law prohibits a person from getting U.S. citizenship if they have lied about being a U.S. citizen. As of now, his case remains open, and officials are not commenting on the status. 

Now, Rodriguez is without a job, health insurance, and is risking losing his retirement benefits.

Credit: @starandstripes / Twitter

As of now, the Los Angeles Times reports that they are remaining in their Texas home but are too scared to travel anywhere else because they fear being stopped at checkpoints. 

The worse part is that now Rodriguez fears the same people he worked alongside for years. 

“Every time I see a cop or a police officer, I kind of stiffen up or get nervous to see Border Patrol. These are people that I worked with, and now I have to fear these people,” he told KRGV News. 

While less than 300 people have been flagged for having a questionable birth certificate, it’s too early to say how many of them will be deported. 

READ: The U.S. Government Is Questioning The Citizenship Of Some Latinos Along The Texas/Mexico Border

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This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

Things That Matter

This Indigenous Village In Mexico Trains Their Children As Soldiers To Combat Gang Violence

via Getty Images

In the town of Ayahualtempa, Mexico, in the state of Guerrero, reporters see a shocking image whenever they visit. Children armed with guns, trained to defend themselves. The disturbing scene is meant to be shocking. The village of Ayahualtempa is under constant attack. A prominent heroin “corridor”, they are the victims of violence and carnage at the hands of gangsters and the cartel.

In order to gain the Mexican government’s attention, the Ayahualtempa villagers dress their children up as soldiers. Then, they invite the media in.

Ayahualtempa
via Getty Images

When reporters arrive, the children of Ayahualtempa dutifully line up and put on a performance. They march, they show how they would shoot a gun from one knee, or from flat on their bellies. They tell reporters that their mock-violent performance is “so the president sees us and helps us,” as a 12-year-old child named Valentín told the Associated Press.

Because the Mexican government doesn’t protect Ayahualtempa, the display of child soldiers is a form of protest for the small indigenous village. The people of this remote region of Guerrero want protection from the National Guard, and financial help for widows and orphans who have been made so from organized crime.

The villagers don’t trust local authorities, and for good reason. Guerrera is the Mexican state in which 43 teaching students were abducted and killed in an event that is known as the “Iguala mass kidnapping”. Authorities arrested 80 suspects in connection to the event. 44 of them were police officers, working in conjunction with a network of cartels.

Although the demonstrations function largely as a publicity stunt, violence is very much a part of these children’s lives.

via Getty Images

Parents train their children to walk to school with loaded guns, ready to defend themselves against violent gangsters.

The attention-grabbing antics have, to some extent, worked. On one occasion, the government donated some housing material. On another, benefactors gave the community’s orphans and widows scholarships and houses. But as soon as the periodic media storms die down, the federal government continues pretending Ayahualtempa doesn’t exist.

The hypocrisy of the government’s response is frustrating to many. “We’ve normalized that these children don’t eat, are illiterate, are farm workers. We’re used to the Indians dying young, but, ‘How dare they arm them!’” said local human rights activist Abel Barrera to the AP, with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

As for now, until the government moves to protect the community, they say they will continue their demonstrations. “They see that the issue of the children is effective for making people take notice and they think: If that’s what works, we’ll have to keep doing it,” said Barrera.

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Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Entertainment

Spanish Voiceover Actress For Jessie From Pokémon Dies And Fans Mourn

Pokémon fans in Latin America are mourning the death of Diana Pérez, the Spanish-language voice of Jessie of Pokémon’s Team Rocket. The voice actress has been voicing the character since 1997.

Diana Pérez, the voice actress of Team Rocket’s Jessie, died at 51.

Lalo Garza, a famed voice actor in Mexico, confirmed the death of the Pokémon voice actress.

“Rest in peace Diana Pérez, a strong, cultured, intelligent, and very talented woman. You are good now, friend. Nothing hurts anymore. Have a good trip,” reads the tweet.

Pérez has been a staple in the Spanish-language Pokémon fandom for decades.

Pérez was more than just he voice of Jessie. The voice actress was the voice of multiple anime characters including Luffy in One Piece and Kagura in Inuyasha. In recent years, Pérez had started branching out to directing, producing, and other branches in the entertainment industry.

Pérez’s death is being mourned by Pokémon fans outside of the Spanish-language fandom.

Sarah Natochenny is the English voice of Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon series, Jessie’s mortal enemy. The death of Pérez has impacted the larger Pokémon community. Pérez was a pivotal part of the Latin American Pokémon community for decades and her loss has devastated fans.

Descansa en paz, Diana.

There have been no plans announced for a replacement to voice Team Rocket’s Jessie. No official cause of death has been released either. Our hearts and thoughts go out to Pérez’s family and the greater Pokémon community mourning her passing.

READ: I Was Today Years Old When I Found Out This Mexican Pokémon

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