Things That Matter

Fear And Anxiety Grip Undocumented Community Nationwide As Walmart Arrests Escalate

icegov / Instagram

As our country protests what is happening on the southern border–children in cages without enough food, water or even a bed to sleep on, separated from their family–fear of ICE reaches nationwide. In a Vermont town, undocumented immigrants and allies rallied outside Burlington Church on July 2nd, demanding an end to those very child internment camps. While showing solidarity for migrants at the border, they took the opportunity to speak up for the undocumented members of their community recently arrested while shopping at Walmart.

Three Vermont dairy workers were arrested within a single month. All arrests were made while grocery shopping at Walmart.

Undocumented organizer, Zully Palacios carried a sign with all three of their faces.

Credit: @farmworkerjustice / Twitter

Palacios herself is risking her status by speaking out, and still, she is a spokesperson for Migrant Justice. She told Vermont’s Seven Days, “As we read about what’s happening on the southern border, we must not forget what’s happening here, on the northern border.”

Federal data proves that ICE arrests have escalated under Trump’s administration.

Credit: icegov / Instagram

“These three members of our community were going about their lives, fulfilling their daily needs, shopping for food, sending money to their families in Mexico,” she told the outlet. “For that, they were detained and now find themselves behind bars.”

Ismael Mendez-Lopez, Mario Diaz-Aguilar, and Ubertoni Aguilar-Montero were stopped in the parking lot.

Credit: @TheBaxterBean / Twitter

The three went to Walmart both to buy groceries and to wire money to their families back in Mexico. Before they did that, a U.S. Border Patrol agent in an unmarked car stopped them in the parking lot. They spoke briefly and went on their way. The agent followed them. After they finished shopping at Walmart, they were arrested for not having paperwork on them. 

They’re currently being held in a New Hampshire county jail pending ICE deportation proceedings.

Credit: @Articleableinfo / Twitter

A spokesperson for Border Patrol confirmed that they were arrested “based on the information from a concerned citizen.” This was the same reason for seven undocumented farmworker arrests outside that same Walmart Supercenter since February 2018. Matt Cameron, an immigration attorney, believes that these “concerned citizens” are actually informants.

Migrant workers in Vermont are struggling to feed themselves for fear of arrest.

Credit: walmart / Instagram

A newly published research study shows that each ICE raid or arrest creates an environment of fear that tangibly affects the rest of the roughly 1,500 migrant farmworkers in Vermont. They’re afraid that every trip to go get groceries might be one they never come home from.

All it takes is one racist shopper calling ICE because they saw a brown person.

Credit: icegov / Instagram

Just like how all it took was one customer complaint to report to Dunkin’ Donuts that they suspect undocumented workers. Now, Dunkin’ is suing its own franchise owners in a massive company crackdown on hiring undocumented workers.

Trump has confirmed that ICE raids will result in thousands of arrests Sunday.

Credit: realdonaldtrump / Instagram

Roberto Suro, a public policy professor at the University of Southern California suspects that, while Sunday will deport .2 percent of those with deportation orders, the true attack is “purely psychological.” He told the Los Angeles Times, “This is yet one more example of how the Trump administration is trying to use fear as an instrument of immigration control. It generates a lot of fear and anxiety but not a lot of control. This has nothing to do with actual enforcement.”

The ICE raids are designed to cause fear for immigrants and to appease Trump’s right-wing base.

Credit: realdonaldtrump / Instagram

After news surfaced that a raid was on its way, Trump revealed to reporters on Friday that it would be a “major operation.” “One audience is supposed to feel like something is happening,” Suro said, “and the other is supposed to be scared to death.”

Since then, immigrants across the country have called out of work, further destabilizing the community.

Credit: @CosechaMovement / Twitter

Activist tip hotlines have received an influx of calls, and an advocacy group in New York has already submitted a preemptive lawsuit. The more fear he creates, the more satisfied his base will be after his failure to deliver “The Wall.”

READ: If ICE Raids Dairy Farms, It Could Make Your Gallon Of Milk $8

Louisiana Police Detained A US Citizen After A Judge Cleared His Release Because He’s A Latino

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Louisiana Police Detained A US Citizen After A Judge Cleared His Release Because He’s A Latino

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On Aug. 31 2018, Ramon Torres was pulled over based on the suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Torres refused to take a breathalyzer test. As a consequence, he was arrested and jailed. The next day, a judge ordered his release, however, he was not immediately let go. Instead, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office placed Torres on an “immigration hold.” 

Torres is originally from Honduras, but arrived to the United States with his family when he was a child. In 2009, he became a naturalized citizen.  

Those who know Torres, attempted to intervene and supplied the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office with documents, such as his birth certificate, social security card, and U.S. passport, proving that he was a citizen. These documents should have been enough to confirm Torres’ citizenship. Yet, their efforts were ignored and he was kept for a total of four days. 

Torres was released only after his friend hired a lawyer. 

“The increasing national rhetoric of fear and racism around immigration is tearing apart our local communities,” said Katie Schwartzman, the legal director of the ACLU of Louisiana. 

This week,  the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed a suit on behalf of Torres. According to the suit, Torres was held for immigration review due to the color of his skin and his Latinx sounding name. It is an example of racial profiling, an act that is both illegal and unconstitutional. 

Torres’ Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights were violated. As a result, the ACLU is seeking to award him compensation for his unlawful detention. 

The ACLU is blaming the harmful rhetoric that is currently being spread throughout the country. The line has to be drawn between local law enforcement and federal immigration. Local authorities are there to protect, but time after time, their actions stem from the damaging comments said by government official and their own racial biases. 

As a reminder, it is not the duty of local law authorities to enforce immigration policies, especially when they are unconstitutional and unjust. Law enforcement should be able to recognize when protocols are wrong to conduct and hold each other accountable in order to do their duty to protect their community instead of harming it. 

Immigrant communities are being unfairly targeted, harassed, and terrorized by the very law enforcement agencies that should be protecting them.

According to the suit filed by the ACLU, Torres asked why he was still being held by law enforcement and received a response by an individual who said it was a policy of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office to automatically hold every Latinx person to conduct a thorough investigation of their immigration status. 

This policy is more than questionable. The intention the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office claims to have is to prove that the people they are holding are U.S. citizens. However, when presented with the right and lawful documents they turn a blind eye. It is not a matter of serving their community. In this case, the deputies are looking to terrorize Latinx folks. It is a tactic that has been used in this country before. For example, sheriff Joe Arpaio who conducted traffic patrols that targeted immigrants in Arizona. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt because of his tough scare-tactics against immigrants, but was pardoned by Donald Trump when he took office. 

What kind of message does that send to local law authorities? For starters, without accountability, people like Arpaio and those at the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office know that they can get away with harassing Latinx people because they are backed by an administration that shares their same beliefs. Furthermore, it makes it seem okay for the people in power to bully immigrants into hiding. They are demonstrating that Latinx folks are the ‘other’ and it does not matter if they are citizens or not. We aren’t welcome. 

Policies like the one the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has in place do more harm than good, thus feeding into laws that are rooted in xenophobia.

If it happened to Torres, who is a citizen of the United States, imagine the many people that have to face the same thing every day – some of which may be citizens or are undocumented. People shouldn’t have to worry about carrying multiple forms of identification with them 24/7 or that these documents won’t be enough to support them, but it’s a reality for many due to the unjust profiling that occurs. 

Immigrants are thought of as easy targets, but organizations like the ACLU are attempting to change that by fiercely defending their rights. In their press release, the ACLU states that their goal is to “continue the fight against all forms of anti-immigrant bias and discrimination. The safety and wellbeing of our communities depend on it.” 

Jimmy Kimmel Celebrates Immigrants Of America, Welcomes New US Citizens In Huge Ceremony On TV

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Jimmy Kimmel Celebrates Immigrants Of America, Welcomes New US Citizens In Huge Ceremony On TV

ABC / YouTube

Every single late-night host has gone after President Donald Trump in some way shape or form. Making fun of people in the public eye, especially the president is their job after all. While they did poke fun on former President Barack Obama back in the day, they just have a lot more material to go after Trump. The late-night hosts, however, aren’t just making fun of Trump’s idiotic ways and unstable mentality (because that would be too easy), they’re also telling viewers around the world that the majority of people in the United States do not share his views. It’s important for the hosts to show the distinction between what the president does, says, or tweets, and how everyone else feels by firing back in clever and hilarious ways.  

One of the most vocal dissidents in late-night TV has to be Jimmy Kimmel. The comedian and host has attacked Trump in various ways. He’s gone after him on his inaction on gun reform, his slaughtering of healthcare in the U.S., and even the president’s misspelling of his name. Now Kimmel is taking his anti-Trump material to another inspirational level. 

In response to Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, a group of immigrants celebrated their new citizenship to the United States with a heartwarming ceremony on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Credit: YouTube

“This is a very strange time in America,” Kimmel said on his show on Aug. 8. “Our President is building walls and telling people to go back where they came from. With all that happening it’s important to remember that many people still dream of becoming Americans. Every week immigrants from all around the world take the oath of citizenship.”

Kimmel then had six immigrants from various parts of the world come on stage to celebrate their U.S. citizenship, including Jose Alberto Sahagun Ruiz from Mexicali, Mexico. 

Credit: YouTube

Each person walked onstage, and national TV, by being introduced like rockstars by Los Angeles Kings announcer Dave Joseph, and they all held up their new citizenship document. It was really beautiful and inspiring to hear each person’s name be called and their home countries, which includes places such as the Philippines, Argentina, Poland, and others. They all walked out to Neil Diamond’s “We’re Coming To America” song played by Kimmel’s house band, Cleto and the Cletones. 

Then country singer Brad Paisley joined in on the fun by singing a little ballad about what life as an American means.

Credit: YouTube

Paisley kept it light by telling these new American citizens that they can pretty much get away with anything in the United States. But he did so through song.

 “Congratulations citizens,” he sang. “We’re happy that you’re here/ Come on in and take a load off/ Grab yourself an ice-cold beer. You can exercise your freedom of speech/ eat a sticka’ butter at a county fair/ Wear your Crocs with a pair of socks/ Go to Target in your underwear.”

He then finished the song by singing “My Country Tis of Thee.”

This isn’t the first time Kimmel has celebrated new Americans. Last year on Flag Day, he did the same beautiful thing. 

“Every week immigrants from all over the world take the oath of citizenship in courthouses, libraries, and auditoriums across the country, without much pomp or circumstance,” Kimmel said last year. “I think becoming an American shouldn’t feel like a visit to the DMV. It’s a big deal and we think it deserves a big deal.” 

Kimmel’s sidekick, Guillermo Rodriguez, then came out dressed like the United States bald eagle and had goody bags for all of them. 

Credit: YouTube

Guillermo gave each new American citizen a goody bag filled with American staples including a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer helmet, apple pies, and fireworks. Then someone dressed as Abraham Lincoln arrived to drive them all in a limo to IHOP, because there’s nothing as American as IHOP, right?

Here’s this year’s new batch of American citizens. Grab some tissue first!

We really hope this celebration of welcoming new Americans into this country becomes a regular segment on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” It’s important for people all over the world to know that people here in the United States are welcoming to newcomers, and this celebration also shows that becoming a citizen of America is a big deal. 

Thanks, Jimmy for making these people feel special and that becoming a U.S. citizen matters. Whatever you do, just don’t get fined for making jokes about Trump. Keep doing it, of course, just make sure it’s not costing you. 

READ: Last year, Jimmy Kimmel Brought DACA Opponents To Meet A DACA/Military Family And Here’s What Happened

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