Things That Matter

This Video Of Children Reading The Testimonies Of Migrant Children Detained By The U.S. Government Will Break Your Heart

It’s been a little over a year since news broke of the Trump administration ordering prosecutors along the border to immediately adopt a “zero-tolerance policy” for crossings across the U.S.-Mexico border. Under this policy, families were separated along the border, leaving migrant children alone in other Customers and Border Protection facilities. And leaving them alone with inhumane border patrol agents who have mistreated and had no empathy for these children. Since then, we’ve also witnessed just how little the Trump administration cares to reunite these children with their families after ripping them away. 

The New York Times published a video Op-Ed featuring children reading testimonies given by young migrants detained in detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border – and it’s harrowing. 

Although the video reveals what we already know and what we’ve already seen day after day on the news, it’s still painful to watch other young children – who could easily be in a similar situation – read the details of children living in cages and going hungry. 

“Border Patrol has been detaining thousands of children, sometimes for weeks, in conditions no child anywhere should suffer. At a June hearing before a federal appeals court, judges were stunned by the administration’s arguments that these children were kept in ‘safe and sanitary’ facilities, as required by the Flores Settlement,” reads the New York Times Op-Ed

“My skin is itchy and red and my nose is stuffed up,” one child reads. “It’s so ugly to be locked up all the time.”

According to reports released in April, it could take up to two years to identify thousands of separated immigrant families. Many immigration rights organizations and advocates have taken to social media and to the streets to fight for the reunification of migrant children with their families and there’s no sign of stopping. Especially after the continuous reports of migrant children dying at the hands of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents. 

The New York Times’ latest video also isn’t the first time we hear firsthand accounts from migrant children detained in these inhumane facilities and cages. 

In a report released by BuzzFeed News in late June, more kids described in their own words the atrocious conditions inside a border detention center. “We are in a metal cage with 20 other teenagers with babies and young children. We have one mat we need to share with each other. It is very cold. We each got a mylar blanket, but it is not enough to warm up,” one 16-year-old said. 

You can watch the full video here: 

Here are more quotes of migrant children detained by the U.S. government:

“There isn’t water or soap to wash our hands after we use the bathroom. We have to ask for toilet paper if we want any. My sister and I hold a blanket up so no one can see us when we go to the bathroom.”

“I’m hungry here all the time. I’m so hungry I wake up in the middle of the night with hunger. I’m too scared to ask the officials for any more food.”

“We spend all day every day inside of that room. There are no activities. Only crying. During the two weeks we have been here they have let us outside 5 times. For twenty minutes. I would like to get some fresh air.”

The New York Times video quickly went viral on social media and many celebrities, public figures, and immigration rights organizations spoke up about the video.      

Canadian singer and songwriter Shawn Mendes tweeted, “Keep families together… Please support organizations like @supportKIND, that are working to #protectfamilies imprisoned at the border.” 

The largest immigration legal services non-profit in Texas, RAICES, also tweeted, “We demand #JusticeForOurChildren.”

RAICES works with under-served immigrant children, families, and refugees.   

The Children’s Defense Fund urged its followers to “listen to heartbreaking testimonies from children detained at the border.”  

They went on to describe the inhumane living conditions of these migrant children –– “living in cages, going hungry and tending to infants without their parents. #CloseTheCamps #KeepFamiliesTogether”       

National Board Member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Tea Leoni tweeted that this video isn’t just a response to a #BorderCrisis – this is a humanitarian crisis.       

Leoni goes on to thank the New York Times for “shining a light on the horrible conditions that children are facing at the border.” 

If you want to help migrant children at the border imprisoned in detention centers, you can buy your #CloseTheCamps tee from Mitú here.  

Mitú is partnering with immigration rights organization RAICES and donating 100% of the proceeds to help the nonprofit continue their fight to free these children from detention centers. 

Aside from supporting and donating to your local or national advocacy organizations, you can also contact your elected officials, educate yourself with accurate information and share that information with family, friends, and followers. Remember, you can make a small impact by simply educating yourself and others. 

No one belongs in a cage. 

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

Things That Matter

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

SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

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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Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

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Biden Says He Will Introduce An Immigration Bill “Immediately” But What Will Be In It?

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

During the 2020 election, Latinos were a massive electoral voting bloc. In fact, for the first time ever, the Latino vote outnumbered the Black vote. According to the Pew Research Center, there are now 32 million eligible Latino voters and that accounts for 13 percent of all eligible voters. 

And, Latinos helped deliver the presidency to Joe Biden. So it can be expected that the community has high expectations for Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises of immigration reform.

During a recent speech about his first 100 days in office, Joe Biden outlined his priorities once he’s sworn in on January 20th, and said he would “immediately” send an immigration bill to congress.

Joe Biden promises swift action on immigration reform as soon as he takes office.

Over the weekend, President-Elect Joe Biden promised he would take swift action when it comes to immigration reform and rolling back many of the cruel and dangerous policies put into place by the Trump administration.

“I will introduce an immigration bill immediately,” he said in a news conference on Friday.

Although he didn’t go into detail regarding the proposed legislation, he’s previously committed to ending Trump’s ban on immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, and that he wants a path to citizenship for Dreamers, and an increase in guest worker permits to help bring undocumented agricultural workers – many of whom are now considered “essential workers” – out of the shadows.

Biden had already promised an immigration overhaul within the first 100 days of his presidency but this commitment definitely increases the pressure on him and congress to get things done.

Biden also said his justice department will investigate the policy of child separation.

During the same press conference, Biden said that his Justice Department will determine responsibility for the family separation program, which led to more than 2,600 children being taken from caregivers after crossing the U.S. southern border, and whether it was criminal.

“There will be a thorough, thorough investigation of who is responsible, and whether or not the responsibility is criminal,” Biden said. That determination will be made by his attorney general-designate, Merrick Garland, he added.

During the campaign, Biden finally took responsibility for many of his administration’s immigration failures.

Nicknamed the “Deporter in Chief,” Obama deported more immigrants than any other president in U.S. history with over 3 million deportations during his time in office. 

But as part of that administration, Joe Biden is also complicit. That’s why during the campaign he seemed to acknowledge at least some of the pain the duo caused.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden Administration, and he believes we must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers,” Biden’s immigration plan reads. 

While Obama’s methods pale in comparison to the cruel tactics like family separation, inhumane conditions, and targeted raids, the impact the deportations have had on families is cannot be quantified.

Biden, like any Vice President, is put in the position of having to defend his president, but also himself as the future president. This isn’t a bad thing, Biden must distinguish himself from his predecessor but if the shadow of Obama’s legacy is buying him goodwill, it might be difficult to undermine that administration’s stances.

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