Things That Matter

A Group Of White Supremacist Unwittingly Raised More Than $36,000 To Help Undocumented People

White supremacists might be getting louder and mobilizing in larger numbers, but they’re not getting any smarter. On August 17, the alt-right group called the Proud Boys organized another rally, misleadingly called “End Domestic Terrorism” in the streets of downtown Portland, Oregon. Before “End Domestic Terrorism,” the last time the Proud Boys organized a “rally,” it turned into an outright brawl with Antifa (a left-wing Anti-Fascist group). So when the Proud Boys announced their follow-up August 17 rally as an attempt to bait and classify Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, Portland police prepared by spending $2 million on preventative security measures. 

Meanwhile, Popular Mobilization (PopMob), a Portland-based coalition of anti-fascist groups, decided they would prepare by soliciting donations to help fight deportation based on the number of white supremacists who show up to the rally.

By showing up to their own rally, white supremacists raised $36,017.69 for undocumented immigrants thanks to the quick thinking of Popular Mobilization.

Credit: @letsgomathias / Twitter

PopMob said that donations “flooded in from all over the country, and even as far away as the UK, ranging from two cents to five dollars a fascist.” At 300 fascists, that means people donated between $6 to $1,500 each. PopMob said its fundraiser was “in direct opposition to the anti-immigration rhetoric of the far-right and the current administration that emboldens them, showcasing the resilience and strength of a community coming together against hate.” 

All the donations went to Causa, a Portland-based Latino Rights organization that helps defend undocumented people in deportation proceedings.

Credit: Causa Oregon / Facebook

Causa works to improve the lives of Latino immigrants and their families in Oregon through advocacy, coalition building, leadership development, and civic engagement. They call themselves “Oregon’s Latino immigrant rights organization,” and they’ve earned the name for all the work they do to coordinate legal representation for undocumented people. Their mission is “to create a world where all people have the opportunities and resources needed to thrive.”

That means that every fascist who showed up personally raised $120 to help fight the deportation of the very people they protest.

Credit: @QuotesGavin / Twitter

The founder of Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes, was legally advised to step down from his post after his involvement in the Charlottesville, Virginia “Unite the Right” rally that left one counter-protester dead. McInnes spends his podcast air time dehumanizing immigrants.

“It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do,” Gavin McInnes said on Get Off My Lawn. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.”

Some Latinos were scared to even go to work on the day of the rally.

Credit; @ThisisHans / Twitter

Thankfully, Portland police tricked the Proud Boys into crossing a bridge and then barricading it to put an entire body of water between the two sides. Officers confiscated several weapons on the day of the event, and wouldn’t allow flag poles in the crowd for fear of it being weaponized.

PopMob’s counter-protest fundraiser was inspired by the residents of Wunsiedel, Germany.

Credit: @ER_Bayern / Twitter

Neo-Nazis had been marching through their town every November for years. Usually, the town ignores the haters. Last November, the town flooded the streets to mockingly cheer the Neo-Nazis on. That’s because the town had pledged to donate ten euros for ever meter the Neo-Nazis marched to EXIT Deutschland, an anti-Nazi organization that helps folks escape white supremacist organizations. By the time the Neo-Nazis crossed the finish line, they were dazed and confused by the cheering, and the cheerful banner that notified them that, by marching, they had donated 10,000 euros to EXIT Deutschland.

You can participate in the cause and make a donation for every white supremacist who attended the alt-right rally.

Credit: @exitdeutschland / Twitter

This is the kind of counter-protest that might actually prevent future white supremacist rallies. If the Proud Boys know that, next time they show up in Portland, their presence might help even one undocumented person stay in the US of A, they might reconsider. Might as well put their presence to some good.

In the words of PopMob’s fundraiser itself, “Let’s take their hate and use it to fundraise for Causa so they can protect more immigrant families. Together we can build an Oregon that welcomes ALL Oregonians!”

READ: An Alleged White Supremacist Took The Life Of 6-Year-Old Steven Romero At California’s Garlic Festival And Our Hearts Ache

She’s An Undocumented Migrant Herself But Is Fighting For People Like Her In The Court System

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She’s An Undocumented Migrant Herself But Is Fighting For People Like Her In The Court System

Emily Berl / Getty

Lizbeth Mateo always had a strong sense of justice since she was a small child. It was this determination that would lead her to become an immigration lawyer and a controversial appointment to a post on a state advisory committee, despite being undocumented. 

The Los Angeles lawyer is a DREAMER. She came to the U.S. from Oaxaca with her parents at 14 years old. Now, 20 years later, Mateo protects immigrants in court every day and each time she does she faces possible arrest and deportation. The Los Angeles Times profiled Mateo as she fights for herself by fighting for others. 

“I’m a walking contradiction,” Mateo told the newspaper.

Officials received death threats when Mateo was appointed to a state advisory board.

When the Senate Rules Committee appointed Mateo to the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee, her legal status made headlines. 

“While Donald Trump fixates on walls, California will continue to concentrate on opportunities,” Kevin de León, state Senate president pro tem, said in 2018. “Ms. Mateo is a courageous, determined and intelligent young woman who at great personal risk has dedicated herself to fight for those seeking their rightful place in this country.”

De Leon took a lot of flack, including death threats, for appointing an undocumented immigrant. But who better to help underserved students than one herself. 

“There were some really angry people who said really nasty things,” said Mateo. “They said ICE is coming, they’re going to report me and they hope Trump sends the Army.”

Mateo is a local hero to immigrants who credit her courage for making real change. 

“Any of us with DACA owe Lizbeth and the movement,” said Mateo’s attorney Luis Angel Reyes Savalza who is also undocumented.

Mateo is still on her journey to citizenship. She believes that for people like her, people who have come here without papers but contribute so deeply to society will have a chance at naturalization — at least someday. 

“I wouldn’t say I worry about her. I’d say I’m very much inspired by her, and she’s inspired many others in her outspokenness and her activism,” Reyes Savalza said. “I do think she’s taking a very calculated risk, and I think it speaks to the kind of person she is that she puts community first.”

Even if Mateo is unsurprised by the Trump’s administration anti-immigration policies and disappointed in Democrats who have done little to stop him, she still believes her chances in the United States were better than in Oaxaca. 

“It provides opportunities. So much so that someone like me, who came from a tiny town in Oaxaca — with parents who only finished sixth grade, nothing more — could make it and become an attorney,” she said. 

Mateo’s journey from a struggling ESL student to a revered lawyer was not easy. 

Mateo attended Venice High but it was no walk in the park, the once superstar student wasn’t able to shine her brightest as she struggled to learn English.  

“I couldn’t stand being in school, didn’t understand things and felt isolated and very stupid. In Mexico, I was outgoing and always raising my hand and answering questions,” Mateo said. “I remember one day I came home crying and told my mom I wanted to go back to Oaxaca and live with my grandmother. She said OK, we’ll send you back if that’s what you want. But you have to wait because we don’t have any money.”

Mateo didn’t give up. She graduated from Venice High then attended Santa Monica College and Cal State Northridge. Although her options for grad school and job prospects would be limited due to her immigration status, she continued to fight for her place in the United States. 

In 2014, she and nine other DREAMERs were arrested after traveling south of the border then returning to protest deportations under the Obama administration and lobby for the DREAM act. The move, going back to Mexico, disqualified her from receiving DACA protections. Mateo was still able to attend Santa Clara University for law school soon after. 

“There was a level of determination that is very rare and inspirational and … what was amazing was that she led others,” said one of her professors, Michelle Oberman. “She’s a hero of mine and in this day of big egos she’s quite centered. … It’s all in the service of others and it’s not about her. That’s what’s most singularly impressive.”

Mateo received her law degree, passed the bar, and made defending immigrants her life’s mission. And the rest is history in the making. 

Joe Biden Says That Undocumented Immigrants ‘Have To Learn How To Speak English’ To Become Citizens

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Joe Biden Says That Undocumented Immigrants ‘Have To Learn How To Speak English’ To Become Citizens

joebiden / Instagram

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is coming under fire once again after he casually suggested that a requirement for U.S. citizenship should be fluency in the English language. The United States does not have an official language, prompting critics to question Biden as to why English fluency should ever be considered a requirement. Biden had the floor when he was addressing supporters at a campaign stop in Iowa when he touched on his immigration plan. Biden’s primary talking point to address immigration issues is to emphasize a “pathway to citizenship.” President Trump’s 2020 Campaign Deputy Director of Communications, Zach Parkinson, shared a video of Biden’s campaign stop in Iowa, where Biden’s “pathway to citizenship” details the language requirement not listed anywhere else in Biden’s campaign.

While Biden’s formal immigration campaign doesn’t include a language requirement, this isn’t the first time he’s let a remark like that slip. 

During a campaign speech in Iowa, Joe Biden said he would enact the policy change “within a matter of months of being elected President.”

CREDIT: @AZACHPARKINSON / TWITTER

When Biden talks about the “pathway to citizenship” he envisions, he remarks that “like every other person who’s come here, they have to pass, they have to learn how to speak English, they have to demonstrate they pay their taxes…But it’s a pathway.” Passing the citizenship test is a feat in of itself because the verbal portion of the test is administered in English. If Biden is talking about how undocumented immigrants “have to pass” that test, it’s indisputable. If he’s, in fact, saying that undocumented immigrants “have to pass” culturally speaking, he is flat out wrong.

The United States does not have an official language. There are plenty of citizens born or naturalized into America who live in communities that don’t necessitate English fluency to thrive. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go visit Hialeah or Little Havana in Miami and get yourself lost because even the street signs are in Spanish. 

In November, Biden cited that undocumented immigrants should “learn the language” as a requirement to becoming a U.S. citizen.

CREDIT: @AZACHPARKINSON / TWITTER

“The deal is, that, if you want to be an American citizen, you gotta come out of the shadows,” Biden told a crowd before his formal immigration plan was laid out. He goes on to call his version of a “pathway to citizenship,” “earned citizenship.” He also insidiously chooses to characterize undocumented immigrants by telling his supporters, “By the way, they didn’t come across the Rio Grande. They came on a visa and they overstayed their visa… You get in the process of doing what everyone else has had to do who has come. Learn the language, etc, you go through the same process.”

Biden’s official “roadmap to citizenship” only includes three requirements, none of which is English fluency.

SCREENSHOT. DIGITAL IMAGE. JOEBIDEN.COM. 7 JANUARY 2019.

There are 12 million people living and working in the United States without documentation. On his campaign page, Biden calls them, “our mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. They are our neighbors, co-workers, and members of our congregations and Little League teams. They contribute in countless ways to our communities, workforce, and economy.” Biden’s 2020 online message is clear: he “will aggressively advocate for legislation that creates a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who register, are up-to-date on their taxes, and have passed a background check.” 

When Biden speaks at campaign events, however, it seems less clear. These aren’t brothers and mothers who work to become the fabric of society. They are immigrants who take advantage of the visa system and overstay their welcome. They are choosing to stay “in the shadows” when they really need to do what “everyone else” has allegedly had to do and “learn how to speak English” and “earn” their citizenship. 

Children of these same immigrants are speaking out against Biden.

CREDIT: @JUANSAAA / TWITTER

My parents have worked over the past 19 years, paid their taxes, and given back to their community. They’re in their late 50’s and are integral to the fabric of Florida. You’re going to deny them citizenship over a language requirement should they come out of the shadows?” asked Twitter DACA advocate Juan Escalante. 

The Biden campaign has responded to Politico journalist Alex Thompson to say that “the verbal portion of the naturalization exam is administered in English (except for in very select cases) and our plan offers English language education support.”

READ: AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party