Immigrant-Youth

8

DACA youth in DC ask Democrats to protect all undocumented immigrants.

This is notable she asks the current authorities for help and protection because they are still responsible for all the things that happen in this country. And this is really the main reason they’ve lost this year.

This is so simple to protect the people that need to be protected!

#Undocumented #Immigrants

youtube

CHILDREN CONFINED: Immigrant Detention at Hutto

This is a March 2007 Freedom Files video short that provided a shocking glimpse into conditions at a Texas facility that was used to detain immigrants and was run by the Department of Homeland Security.  Of the approximately 400 detained persons at the Hutto Detention Facility, many were children who belonged to refugee families seeking political asylum in the U.S. after escaping persecution in their country of origin.

The immigrant family detention center at Hutto was closed in 2009, and its detainees were relocated to a facility in Pennsylvania.  While the changing situation at Hutto may make this video seem dated, the detention center still houses female detainees and established a precedent that other facilities may be continuing, but under less public scrutiny by the ACLU and other organizations.

Head’s up: text “HereToStay” to 877877 to sign up for the Here To Stay Network (they’ll ask for your zip code and email right after as well). It’s a network run by United We Dream, a youth immigrant organization, and they’ll text you whenever there’s either something going on in the area or they decide to do a mass call-in campaign. 

For example, they texted me a few minutes ago about two young immigrants protected under DACA who might be deported anyway today and ended it with “Reply YES to make a call to DHS to demand their release.” I responded with “YES” and they sent me the number (I looked it up, it’s the office of the Deputy Secretary of the DHS) and a script for the call. I called multiple times and kept getting hung up on on different rings, which I’m guessing means there’s people in the office right now receiving a flood of calls so large they have to just keep manually hanging up all the phones. Making life hell for the person who runs the daily operations of the DHS is something I can get behind.

10

2015 - The BBC went with a group of British Muslims from the Peterborough Active Youth organisation who are bringing water, food and clothing to the thousands of refugees living in primitive conditions in “the Jungle” refugee camp in Calais, France.

There they meet up with French volunteers who are also doing their best to help the refugees out. They also talk with refugees there, who have some important things to say about the situation, although for some reason one of them seems to be under the impression that David Cameron has a heart. [video]

A Tale of Two Americas

        Let’s play a little game I like to call “Two Americas.” I’ll start by describing two states in this great country of ours.

        State X is a leader in clean energy. In 2006, it passed landmark legislation requiring the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Residents of this state are automatically given the option to register to vote when they obtain a driver’s license or state-issued ID. There is no Voter ID law in State X, so residents face no barriers to voting. Transgender public school students are legally protected from discrimination and allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. The governor just signed a law raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, the first state in the nation to do so. As part of the Affordable Care Act, State X expanded Medicaid in 2013, allowing millions of people to finally obtain health insurance and treatment for their chronic medical conditions.

        Now let’s take a look at State Y. This state’s governor summed up his position on climate change as follows: “I don’t get caught up in the ‘quote’ global warming debate because I frankly think there are some things that are out of our control.” State Y recently passed HB 2, which forces transgender citizens to use public bathrooms matching their birth gender and bars cities and counties enacting non-discrimination policies protecting gay or transgender citizens. That same law prevents cities and counties from enacting a higher minimum wage than the state level of $7.25/hour. State Y requires women seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours, have an invasive and totally unnecessary ultrasound, and then have that private medical record sent to the state Department of Health and Human Services. The state has a strict photo ID law, meaning a resident who lacks the required ID will be denied their Constitutional right to vote. State Y chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, denying nearly 600,000 of its poorest residents a chance at health insurance.

        Now for the fun part. Can you guess which political party controls the legislature and governorship in State X, and which in State Y?

        Hopefully this isn’t too taxing. State X is California, led by Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) and featuring solid Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate. State Y is North Carolina, where Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) and the Republican-controlled legislature have a similar grip on power.

        The razor-sharp contrast between these two states is illustrative of a larger phenomenon in 2016 America. We are a country at a turbulent crossroads. Some would go as far as to say we risk coming apart at the seams. At a minimum, it seems there are two Americas waging a bitter battle over the future of the country.

One that wants to move into the future, another that is clinging with all its might to the past.

One that embraces a rapidly diversifying population, and one that views these changes as threats to the traditional American power structure.

One that welcomes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and one that yearns for a return to the days when LGBT citizens were forced into silence.

One that believes government can and should make life better for average Americans, and the other that believes government is the root of all evil and must be sabotaged at all costs.

One that welcomes all people to this country, and one that scapegoats undocumented immigrants and exploits xenophobia and Islamophobia for political gain.

One that recognizes the urgent threat of climate change and wants to break free from fossil fuels, and one that denies such a threat and places little if any value on the environment that we will leave behind.

These diametrically opposed visions for America helps explain why our modern politics has such a schizophrenic quality and why Congress is hopelessly deadlocked. For every progressive victory, there is a conservative backlash. When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide last year, one may have hoped Republican leaders would take it as yet another cue that times had changed and they needed to be more inclusive to survive as a national party.

Instead, GOP legislatures across the south have doubled down on bigotry by passing a flurry of “religious freedom” bills allowing restaurants, bakers, and other businesses to refuse service to gay customers on religious grounds. It speaks of a party that is bent on subverting progress and clinging to a romanticized, Leave It To Beaver-era America that never really existed. Clearly, the GOP will have to be dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming.

Nationally, the Republican Party is in deep trouble. Even with a full-scale voter suppression effort, the country’s changing demographics combined with the party’s rigidity and unpopularity among minorities are making it harder for a Republican to win the White House with each successive election.

On the state level, however, the Republican Party is thriving. They control 31 governorships and 31 state legislatures. Democrats control 18 and 7, respectively. So we end up with a Democratic president doing whatever he can to enact a progressive agenda, and many states in the country working furiously to undermine him at every turn.

Part of this imbalance stems from voter suppression. Part of it is caused by the obscene amounts of money the Koch brothers and their ilk pour into local, state, and federal elections. But the most important cause is the one for which Democrats and left-leaning voters themselves are to blame. Their turnout rates in midterm/off-year elections are abysmal, while Republicans are reliable voters in these elections. This led to massive losses for the Democrats in 2010 and 2014 and six years of gridlock, both in Congress and at the state and local level. In essence, liberals gave Obama a Democratic Congress and a mandate to govern in 2008, and then let the GOP take it away because they couldn’t be bothered to vote in 2010 or 2014.

It’s not enough for progressives to wring their hands about regressive right-wing laws after the fact. We can’t rely on outrage and lawsuits to fix this problem. We have to start doing something to prevent it, and that something is very simple: vote in every election. If Democrats continue to spurn midterm and off-year elections, this sad state of two Americas will continue. Whether you get a living wage, breathable air, access to healthcare, and basic human dignity will depend entirely on your state of residence. This is unacceptable in 2016.

The inscription on the Supreme Court says “equal justice under law.” All those who truly believe those words need to start making them a reality by voting in every election.

youtube

Migration Is About Survival, Short Documentary By grass-roots community based organization We are San Juan and Erika Martinez

San Juan Capistrano is famously known for the return of the swallows coming from South America to old mission town. Every year, thousands of people visit to celebrate the migration of the swallows. While the city prides itself in this yearly event, they continue to disregard the voice of the migrant community. San Juan has a large population of undocumented immigrants, and because it is small and isolated, border patrol strategically targets the community, harasses them, deports them, and instills a sense of fear in their daily lives. Just like the swallows, the migration of the undocumented community of San Juan is largely driven by survival. A survival that is continuously violated by destructive and invasive immigration policies.

vimeo

This video captures the lives of three undocumented individuals in Los Angeles, really powerful piece that puts their own stories through their own respective lens. 

youtube

This is Hope Mathe, Andy’s courageous mother. I am sure, by now, most of you have heard of Andy’s dire situation. And I have told you my personal encounter with Andy’s brother Malcom last weekend.

Hope is going through her second fight against our broken immigration system. She, herself, has already been through detention center with Andy when they first fled here to the United States, the land of the Free, seeking asylum from death treats back in South Africa.

So why is that this beautiful mother of three has to go through this travesty not only once but twice?

She is my hero. I admire her so much for her strength.

I cannot even dare to convey the pain she is going through right now.

Please, keep-signing-the-petition. Reunite Andy with his family, where he rightfully deserves to be. No family should be going through such obstacles and pain to seek safety and freedom for their lives, for their children’s lives, for their future.

If our government and our politicians are turning a blind eye to this precious family, it is up to US to set things straight. Make the government see what they are doing right now. What are they doing?!?


The Undocumented, Unafraid, Unashamed, and Unapologetic

GUYAvas coming out: Gustavo

  My name is Gustavo M. I am undocumented and unafraid. I came to the US at the age of 9, along with my mother, sister, and one of my uncles from Mexico. We walked across the dessert for almost 3 days. We saw things I wouldn’t wish upon anyone while getting to our home in GA. We all had blisters on our feet. We were extremely thirsty most of the time and when we ran out of water, my sister and I would try to suck the little sweat my mom would have on her arms. She told us to do this until we could find water again. At one point we were kidnapped by a gang in the dessert. They made everyone strip all the way down and took whatever little things of value we had. My sister and I weren’t stripped down, but, both, my mother and uncle were. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I actually believed that we would die that night. They took all of the money we had and any jewelry they found, then they let us go; the biggest relief of my life. We didn’t deserve to die and I thank God for allowing us to keep living.

 

        When I got to my home in GA, I remember seeing my dad for the first time in a very long time and running up to him to give him a hug. It was weird, very weird. I had forgotten what he looked like and I felt like I was running up to a stranger. But, I could feel it. I could feel he was my dad, and I could not have been any happier. I was welcomed with a much-needed shower and new clothes. My blue t-shirt had a picture of an eagle and the American flag. I remember walking out of the bathroom and my mom saying I was already getting in the spirit for our “new life”. Our new life… of course, I didn’t know what she meant at the time, but I trusted her and I felt safe. Food was abundant, which was a change from what it was back in Mexico. When we lived in Mexico, my happiest days were Saturdays. On those evenings, my father would come home with a half-gallon of milk and 4 bananas: one for my sister, me, my mom, and for himself. Here we had bananas and milk in the fridge everyday! It was heaven. We were definitely fed better here, mainly because we could afford it. Immigration status didn’t even exist in my head. I was 9 and I was going to the 5Th grade in a couple of months. 

        My first semester in 5Th grade, I made the A&B Honor Roll. I won the Golden Rule award and my teacher gave me a certificate for “Mastering a New Language” She meant English, of course. My middle school experience was great. I was one of the biggest band geeks in the school and I didn’t know it. I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. I remember on Awards Day, I dressed up because I was receiving awards. I received more than I expected and I was completely embarrassed afterward. My tie was a clip-on and I didn’t know it, but I wasn’t wearing it the correct way. My Technology teacher fixed it as he was handing me an award, in front of everyone, and I wanted the ground to swallow me.  After an 8Th grade of awkwardness, I was going to High School and would later find out about my situation.

 

        I loved my last 2 years of high school. I had broken out of my quiet shell and I was liked by people. Back then, besides grades, that’s what mattered the most. At least my first 2 years, after I stopped caring it got easier to be liked by people. There I met my best friends. It was 10Th grade when I found out I could not get a Learner’s Permit to drive. My ESOL teacher said she would take me to get it all; I had to do was bring some papers with me. She gave me a list and I took it home to my mom, with the great illusion that soon I would be able to learn how to drive. When I got home and asked my mom for the things on the list, she told me she couldn’t give me those things. I knew she didn’t trust me with important papers, since all my life she had sheltered me, but I told her she could trust me with these. Then, she told me exactly why she couldn’t give me those things. She asked me if I remembered when she told me about going on vacation to see dad, I said I did. Then she told me the truth. She cried and begged me to forgive her for this, at the time, honestly, I still had no idea what all of this meant. I felt extremely sad because most of my friends were learning how to drive and whenever they would ask me to show them my permit so they could laugh at my picture, I would tell them a lie. I would say to them, “I didn’t want to get it because I get extremely dizzy in cars and I could pass out, so my “doctor” advised me not to get it. Of course, this was a lie. I had no doctor and I didn’t get dizzy during car rides, but I felt like telling them that would keep me being “one of them”. 11Th grade was a breeze. I was more involved in extracurriculars, I joined the ROTC program, joined the Marching Rifles, Art Club, German Club, Yearbook Club, Philosophy Club, and I was VP of The Principal’s Round Table for 2 years. It wasn’t until halfway through my Senior year that I learned I wouldn’t be able to attend college. I learned that I couldn’t attend any of the colleges I was interested in, either because they didn’t accept undocumented students or I couldn’t afford it. Undocumented became part of my vocabulary quickly after graduation. I had never understood what it meant, until it affected me directly. Even if I had scholarships, I would not have been able to attend any of the colleges that would accept me. I needed financial help from my parents, but they couldn’t help me. We were barely surviving on $16,000 a year. A family of 6 we were. How we ever managed to make it is beyond me, but we did.

 

        After graduation I fell into a deep depression. I didn’t eat, sleep, or hang out with friends. I would cry whenever I did go out. All my friends would talk about how they would live their college days and that they would come see me over breaks. But, that wasn’t something that made me feel well. I felt like a prisoner in my hometown. I couldn’t get out until I decided I had to work hard for a long time in order to save money and go to school. It wasn’t a hard decision for me to make. I had always been a hard-worker and I didn’t see working to save up for school as anything bad. I actually looked forward to the idea. In the process I became very involved with The GA DREAMers. I realized I was not alone. There were other people in my situation and that made me feel better. We would have meetings and talk about our lives. Tell our stories and it was liberating. I felt like a burden was taken off my back, even though, my undocumented status stayed the same.

 

 Up to this day, I had dedicated myself to reaching out to the community and trying to lead them to political enlightenment and social awareness. I still do, but my situation has finally caught up with me and now I have to deal with the consequences that come with what I did when I was 9. Never having realized exactly what I was doing at that age, now I have to face up to it. But, I am not afraid of what can happen, I will face it and overcome it. I have been part of an organization that has brought me in contact with so many people in my situation, people with no fear. People willing to give it all for their DREAMs and today, I am one of those people. I will fight until I have nothing left to fight with. My family, friends, and future are in this country and I will fight for it until God takes away the strength for me to fight. My name is Gustavo M. and I am undocumented and unafraid.

after the UGA law school panel...

So, today I was invited to talk on a panel in front of UGA law students along with two other Freedom University representatives and Roger Mills, Senior Attorney, U.S. Dept. of Education Office for Civil Rights. (I actually do not know what that exactly means, googled him, didnt find much, and when I met him, nothing said he was actually representing the U.S.Department of Education so.. heh) 

It well, I had the honor to present the issue of immigration to those law students in the perspective of an undocumented student myself, and really understanding the issue beyond the statistics. How the ban by Board of Regents mean to us undocumented students in Georgia, looking beyond the said 502 students enrolled in GA Public Universities back in 2009, and the stupid rebuttal from the Board stating they had actually turned down ONLY 2 applications this year. 

I mean you would think that most people would try to understand the implication behind the said 2 applications because it has been widely understood within many immigrant communities that we cannot one, be accepted even when we are academically qualified, and two, we cannot pay the out-of-state tuition without taking out $30,000+ private loans every year. 

so the number two.. the two students doesnt mean ANYTHING.. You shouldnt even be proud of that. We have students who are amazing and bright students who have so much potential but they give up… they believe that it doesnt matter if they want to attain higher education, because its such a unrealistic dream for them. So what does that number two mean? It doesn’t mean crapload, guys. 

Anyways, I got out of that panel, and while I was coming home, I just very upset. Retelling the audience, these student’s realities, it just angered me again. Unable really understand why we.. why these innocent young students had to go through such things. I mean we are talking about 15 year old kids telling me that they want to drop out or that they consider themselves naive for dreaming that one day they can go to college. 

And it’s like, how much have I really changed by being on that panel right? like what good did that do? I just felt so powerless and useless and unsuccessful. just plain crappy. 

On my way home after killing few hours in Atlanta parks, walking around just taking few breathers, I got an email from one of the panelist who I have been working with for a while, telling me that he had gotten feedbacks from one of the law students who had participated in that presentation.

And she said that, my story, the student’s story, our story had moved even the folks who she described as “militantly anti-immigrant”.

I was sitting on the train by self, reading that email and I just started to tear up. It was ridiculous like imagine this random girl just starts crying inside this ugly green and tan train. heh. I just felt a lot better because after the panel I was just so down and skeptical about my role in this movement. 

This post is way longer than what I had intended, but yeah, that was day. Im going up to Athens again this Saturday for another panel, and on Sunday, it’s the first day of FREEDOM UNIVERSITY !! I am soo excited.

huffingtonpost.com
New Policy On Deportations Allows Some Non-Criminal Undocumented Immigrants To Stay-blurb

(insert O RLY owl here)

These are the times when I am reminded with the fact that I am indeed very new to this movement. I just wanted to gobble this whole “breaking news” up and believe that something indeed is happening. 

But really President Obama, do you actually care for us Undocumented, or is this one of your political moves to win back the votes?

Should we remind him what had happened to Andy Mathe even after a plea to save the asylum seeking immigrant from danger was personally delivered? 

sigh. 

Doubtful,

The Undocumented, Unafraid, Unashamed and Unapologetic 

today has been a good day so far

The day isn’t over yet so I will say it has only been going good, this far. But spent the day at the DTLA retreat and quite surprisingly learned alot on the movement, learned to keep my mouth shut when needed, and learned to express myself when I’m meeting new people, hopefully they saw the good in me as did I in them. I’m really excited this year for la lucha, im excited to see if all the work pays off but regardless of that, I’m really glad I found this space. and nooowwww! To continue working on the last personal statement to that dream university, the one that’ll keep me close to everything I hold dear.

Help RESCIND Ban on UNDOCUMENTED Students in GA

On October 13th, 2010, the Georgia Board of Regents voted to ban undocumented students from Georgia’s top five competitive universities, including Georgia College & State University, Medical College of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Georgia. The changes went into effect at the start of the 2011 Fall Semester.

On November 8th, 2011, GUYA presented thousands of petitions to the Board of Regents demanding that the ban on undocumented students be overturned.  We are now asking that Mr. Griffin and Mr. Pruitt call for a re-vote on Policy 4.1.6. We are requesting that they listen to the people and no longer bar access to education. 

     Throughout our lives, our teachers, public servants, families, and communities have told us that education is the quintessential vehicle for overcoming life challenges and poverty.  In the classroom, we develop the consciousness and skills to become contributing and productive members of society.  Stripping youth of an education puts students and the state at risk.  This policy destroys dreams, and cripples Georgia’s future.   

If you would like to help end the ban, please sign and share the petition below. Urge Mr. Griffin and Mr. Pruitt to call for a re-vote of Policy 4.1.6