The children on the playground ridiculed her. Her father whipped her. Police officers tortured and molested her. But it wasn’t until after military officials gang raped her, Carolina said, that she took action on her dream: to leave her native Honduras for a safer life in America.
The 50-year-old said she’d always heard of a land where society was more accepting of people like her — a transgender individual.
Carolina, who was born Manuel Zelaya-Ortega, thumbed for rides and hop-scotched on trains, making her way through Central America and Mexico before crossing illegally into Calexico in 1988. That same year she attempted to apply for asylum but a notary scammed her out of hundreds of dollars and she ultimately missed the one-year window to make the petition, she said.
While she managed to find work in Long Beach as a seamstress, gardener and even an AVON cosmetics lady, she said she continued to be depressed by the scam and found it increasingly difficult to negotiate the trauma of life-long abuse. She found solace in drugs and ultimately got in trouble with the law, putting herself at risk for deportation.
In March she became an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee at the Santa Ana Jail after police found her to be in possession of a meth pipe.
“I don’t want to return to my country,” she said behind bars in a 2010 interview. “I’ll be persecuted by my family, police… the military. It’s horrible. I came escaping all of that. I’ll be tortured.”
During her time in detention, jail officials separated Carolina into an area with other transgender detainees. While there she met an attorney who conducted legal workshops at the jail. Soon after, the attorney paired Carolina with attorney Drew Patterson and Alicia Macklin, who worked on her case pro bono.
Trump’s dreams of immigration restrictions are nightmares for migrants
Washington, DC.- Although the Donald J. Trump government says its immigration policies simply seek to curb undocumented immigration and protect our borders, the reality is that this administration, since its inception, has sustained a relentless attack on minorities and motivated migrants. rather because of the desire to “bleach” our society.
Just remember that one of Trump’s first actions was to promote the so-called Muslim veto to stop the entry of people from Muslim countries to the United States. Canceled DACA for Dreamers; eliminated the TPS for Central Americans, Haitians, and individuals from other countries. Nor should we forget that he referred to these nations as “mierdero” countries when he lamented that the United States did not receive migrants from other nations such as Norway, for example.
And although at the beginning of his administration the number of arrests at the border reached its lowest level, it was Trump’s own policies that have generated humanitarian chaos on the fringe. For example, one of its first actions was to eliminate the Refugee Processing Program / Humanitarian Permits for Minors in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala (CAM) that allowed these minors to apply for refuge in the United States from their native countries. That, of course, drove the arrival of more unaccompanied minors to the border fleeing violence. Similarly, entire families began to arrive and the Trump administration used family separation as a deterrent. I wonder if they would have done the same if they were families with Saxon features.
With the arrival of the caravans of migrants that Trump exploited for partisan purposes in the midterm elections of 2018, he redoubled efforts to undermine asylum laws precisely because they are Central American migrants. He has imposed more and more obstacles in order to dissuade them from staying in Mexico or returning to the countries from which they fled fearing for their lives. His encounter was such that he proposed to eliminate the foreign aid received by non-governmental organizations from these countries, precisely to create conditions that prevent their nations from leaving for the United States.
Nor can it be overlooked that Trump caused the closure of the federal government for 35 days to press for funds for his wall on the border with Mexico arguing that in the caravans came infiltrated terrorists. But the reality is that Canada is more vulnerable to the United States because according to the State Department itself, the northern neighbor has been home to violent extremists with ties to ISIS and Al Qaeda.
With this background as background, last week Trump announced as bombs and saucers a “plan” of immigration reform whose central component is that legal immigration to the United States is based on a system of “merits” and not family ties. He seeks to eliminate what he calls “chain immigration,” which is nothing more than the ability of citizens and permanent residents to request their relatives, just as his wife Melania Trump did with her parents.
The excuse that they seek a documented immigration of people with special skills disguises a discriminatory and exclusive proposal that rejects the reality that the jobs that migrants perform require skills that not everyone has. If not, go to an agricultural field to pinch to see how long it lasts. And the work of this migrant is as important as that of any professional. Or that Trump himself says whose companies, according to press reports, have hired undocumented labor.
But this country has already been in the direction Trump wants to return to. Already, previous immigration laws, such as that of 1924, set quotas by national origin to reduce entry into the United States of migrants from Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Asia, for example. This was reversed by the 1965 immigration law that gave preference to immigration through family ties, although it set a ceiling on immigration from the Western Hemisphere.
The so-called Trump immigration plan is so inadequate that it does not even include relief for Dreamers or TPS beneficiaries and totally ignores the 11 million undocumented people who live here and contribute in various ways to the economy of this country.
Anyway, the immigration restriction proposals are cyclical and now it’s up to Trump. In his speech last week to publicize the proposal that is not even an official legislative language, which has both Democratic and Republican opponents although for different reasons, and lacks the possibility of progress, Trump said that if not now will approve after the 2020 election, “when we recover the Lower House, keep the Senate and, of course, the White House.”
One more motivation to prevent Trump’s dreams of immigration restriction, which are nightmares for immigrants and minorities, from coming true in 2020.
Young Mexican police chief seeks US asylum
EL PASO, Texas – A young woman who received death threats after recently becoming police chief of a violence-plagued Mexican town is in the U.S and seeking asylum, Mexican and U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Marisol Valles Garcia, who was 20 when she was hired last October, made international headlines when she accepted the top law enforcement job in Praxedis G. Guerrero, a township near the Texas border overrun by drug violence. Her predecessor was shot to death in July 2009.
Garcia is now in the U.S. and will be allowed to present her case to an immigration judge, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The town is in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where ombudsman Gustavo de la Rosa confirmed that Garcia was in the U.S. and said she has initiated a formal asylum petition.
Neither ICE nor De la Rosa would say where Garcia was staying, citing privacy and security concerns.
Drug violence has transformed the township from a string of quiet farming communities into a lawless no-man’s-land only about a mile from the Texas border. Between 1995 and 2005, it had a steady population of about 8,500 inhabitants. Five years later, slightly more than 4,500 people live there. Two rival gangs — the Juarez and Sinaloa drug cartels — are battling over control of its single highway, a lucrative drug-trafficking route along the Texas border.
Residents have said Garcia received death threats, and the ombudsman said there may have been at least one attempt to kidnap her. Local officials said they had given her a five-day leave of absence starting March 2 to travel to the U.S. to tend to personal matters, and that she never returned.
Garcia was fired on Monday, accused of abandoning her post. Police will answer to the mayor until a new chief is appointed, the city government said in a statement.
Garcia was a criminology student when she accepted the job in October to oversee 12 police officers. At the time, she said she wanted them to go door-to-door looking for criminals and teaching values to the families.
Deportation divides Orange County family
As Martha Morales stood before the altar at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tijuana her thoughts were focused on one thing – her children.
“Make sure that they have everything they need,” she prayed. “Make sure that nothing happens to them because they are going to be all alone.”
That was May 8, 2008.
A day earlier, Martha had been separated from her six children – then ages 1 to 23 – when she was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At 6 a.m., at the family’s Orange County home, she was handcuffed and taken to the ICE facility in Santa Ana.
Her husband, Juan Manuel, a welder, was already at work, but he was also ordered to appear at the facility. By day’s end, the couple – in the United States for 19 years – were deported to Tijuana. They left behind their six children, three undocumented and three U.S. citizens, on their own.
Increasingly, as more undocumented parents are deported, such separations are becoming common, leaving families with a painful decision – leave U.S. citizen children behind, or pull them out of the only country they’ve ever known.
In the past decade, the number of U.S. citizens born to undocumented immigrants more than doubled, to 4.5 million, according to data released last month by the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research organization.
In the same period, immigration officials have cracked down on the undocumented, more than doubling the number of deportations. In 2010, ICE statistics show that 392,862 undocumented immigrants were deported.
Naturally, the trend has become fodder in the immigration debate. Some politicians want to repeal the right to citizenship granted in the 14th Amendment. Meanwhile, immigration activists and others are speaking out against such a move, calling it fundamentally un-American.
But behind closed doors, in the homes of families separated by legal deportations, the people paying the full price in this battle are children.
In January, I traveled with a news team from KCET’s series “SOCAL Connected” to the border town of Tecate, Mexico. That’s where Martha and Juan Manuel live, in a friend’s home, with their youngest daughter, Aileen, now 4, a U.S. citizen. Their sons, Rodrigo, 16, and Rigoberto, 12, with the help of Rigoberto’s godparents, drove down for a visit. The two-hour trip has become a ritual for the brothers, both U.S. citizens, on weekends and holidays.
The two-day visit felt more like two minutes, as the parents crammed in as much love as they could. Martha oohed and aahed over Rigoberto’s artwork. She made the boys’ favorite foods. She knew that, soon, her sons would be out of reach.
Martha crossed illegally into the United States in 1989. Juan Manuel had likewise entered the country illegally six months earlier. For the next 19 years, until the day they were deported, Juan Manuel worked steadily for the same boating company. Martha worked as a seamstress and, later, in a hotel laundry.
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