politics

These Salvadoreñas Prove Why Donald Trump’s Remarks About Immigrants And MS-13 Are All Wrong

During President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, the commander-in-chief commenced his spiel on immigration — the central issue of his speech — by likening undocumented immigrants to members of MS-13, a notorious gang formed by Salvadorans in Los Angeles but now has presence throughout the country and world.

Trump introduced the controversial subject by sharing an anecdote about two teenage girls who were killed two years ago in Long Island, New York by members of the gang.

“Two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown,” he said, as the late teens’ parents wailed in the background. “Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors — and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school.”

Using the violence of a gang that was formed in the U.S. and that experts do not believe is predominately made up of immigrants, Trump drove the myth of the dangerous brown foreigner further and employed it to demand Congress to pass harsher immigration laws.

“Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again,” he said.

Those demands: creating a $25 billion trust for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, ending the visa lottery in favor of a merit-based immigration system, limiting family reunification and creating a path to citizenship for Dreamers, the DACA-recipients he removed protections from in September.

Using immigrants as a scapegoat to tackle gang violence is off-target and messed up. Immigrants, Latinos and Salvadorans, who received the bulk of Trump’s attacks last night, are so much more than gang members. They’re community leaders, educators, artists, business owners and, most importantly, humans who are deserving of respect, safety, liberty, opportunity and joy.

To help shatter the stereotype of the threatening Salvadoran gangbanger that Trump perpetuated to millions of Americans watching his State of the Union speech last night, here are the real faces and lives of salvadoreñas.

1. Jennifer Ramos, Business Owner

At 24 years old, Salvadoran-American Jennifer Ramos is the owner of a construction company that is on pace to yielding $1 million in revenue this year. The Alexandria, Virginia-based Latina opened Jen Contracting in 2015 after her father, an immigrant from El Salvador, lost his job. Today, with a team of 20 people, her business provides subcontracting, interior construction work and commercial services to the DMV area.

2. Yesika Salgado, Poet

Fat. Fly. Unbothered. ?: @ruthintruthvisuals

A post shared by Yesika Salgado (@yesikastarr) on

Yesika Salgado is one of the most celebrated poets of her generation. Writing often about love, family, culture, the body and her motherland, the Los Angeles-based salvadoreña published her first book of poetry, “Corazón,” through NOT A CULT in October. Since then, it has sold about 5,000 copies and has made Amazon’s best-seller lists, including Hispanic American poetry titles, where she reached No. 1, and women’s poetry titles.

3. Hala Ayala, Politician

Hala Ayala made history last year when she, alongside Elizabeth Guzman, became the first Latina elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. The Alexandria-born Democrat, who represents much of Prince William County, is the daughter of an immigrant father from El Salvador. Ayala, who helped organize the Women’s March on Washington in 2017, was a cyber security specialist before entering the political arena.

4. Johanna Toruño, Artist

Johanna Toruño is a New York-based artist-activist. In 2016, the Salvadoran-born and Virginia-raised queer Latina started the Unapologetically Brown Series, a street art project that sends love letters to women of color throughout the city. Her art, which places powerful messages of love and resilience over beautiful floral compositions, challenges racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia and inspires young people of color to love themselves and their community.

5. Julieta Chiquillo, Journalist

Julieta Chiquillo is a breaking news reporter for the Dallas Morning News. Born in El Salvador, she received her journalism degree from Texas Christian University. As a reporter, Chiquillo has covered critical local news stories, like the failure of the Section 8 program in Dallas, violence against women and children and her own immigration story.

6. Vanessa Galvez, Engineer

(Photo Credit: Vanessa Galvez/LinkedIn)

Vanessa Galvez is a New York-based civil engineer. In 2016, the Queens native, who is the resident engineer for the New York City Department of Design and Construction, led the institution of 164 biowales in the Maspeth neighborhood as a beautiful way to disperse and clean storm water. Community minded, the New York University graduate first became interested in a career in engineering after learning about the Army Corps. of Engineers’ response to levee failure in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

7. Ana P. Rodriguez, Professor

Dr. Ana Patricia Rodriguez is an associate professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she teaches courses in Latin American, Central American and U.S. Latina/o literatures and cultures. With a master’s degree and a doctorate in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, the San Francisco-raised salvadoreña is an expert in Central American culture and literature, Central American cultural production in the U.S. and transnational migration, among so much more. An author of two books, she is also the president of the Latina/o Studies Association. Outside of academia, Rodriguez serves on the advisory board of the Smithsonian Latino Gallery, Washington History, the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) and la Casa de la cultura de El Salvador in Washington, D.C.

Read: Latinas Came Together With Women Across The Country To Protest Trump’s State Of The Union Address — And It Was Great

Share your thoughts on the president’s remarks about immigrants and MS-13 in the comments below!

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

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A 9-Year-Old Girl Was Detained By Border Patrol On Her Way To School

A 9-year-old U.S. citizen was separated from her mother for 36 hours after agents at the border accused her of lying about her citizenship.

Like thousands of students in our country, Julia Isabel Amparo Medina’s daily commute requires her to cross the U.S. border.

The fourth-grade student attends Nicoloff Elementary School in San Ysidro, California and was in a carpool to school from her home in Tijuana when she ran into traffic. Medina, was commuting to school in a car driven by her mother’s friend Michelle Cardena, Cardena’s two children and her own older 14-year-old brother, Oscar. When the long line to get into the U.S. seemed to be jampacked upon their 4 a.m arrival, Cardenas instructed the kids in her car to walk to the border. She assured them that when they reached it, she would call them an Uber to get them the rest of the way to their school.

But Medina and her never made it across the border or to school that day.

According to the New York Times who talked to a Customs and Border Protection spokesman, two Amparo and her brother arrived at one of the San Ysidro port of entry facilities for pedestrians at 10:15 a.m. last Monday.

Upon their arrival, Amparo and her brother presented their U.S. passports to a CBP officer who soon accused her of being someone else. Note: Amparo’s passport image which was taken years before so she did not look exactly like herself. They also accused her brother of smuggling.

A CBP spokesperson has said that Amparo “provided inconsistent information during her inspection, and CBP officers took the 9-year-old into custody to perform due diligence in confirming her identity and citizenship.”

After CBP officers the confirmed that her brother was a U.S. citizen, he was permitted to enter the U.S while his sister stayed behind. It wasn’t until 6:30 pm on Tuesday, that Amparo was confirmed to be a U.S. citizen as well and was released and admitted to the U.S. to her mother.

Speaking to NBC7, Amparo said she was “scared” of her detention and that she was “sad because I didn’t have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself.”

According to Amparo’s mother Thelma Galaxia, her daughter claims that she was told by an officer that she and her brother would be released if she admitted to being her cousin. Galaxia claims that officers also convinced her son Oscar to sign a document that Amparo was his cousin and not his sister.

When Galaxia was alerted that her children had been detained she contacted the Mexican consulate.

After being notified by the consulate that her daughter would be released at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. While the family felt relieved to be grateful to be reunited with their daughter, Galaxia says the separation should never have happened.

Over the weekend, Twitter was swift to express their outrage over the incident.

Some even expressed their dismay of having a similar situation happen to them.

Many are using the incident as an example of the racial issues plaguing so many U.S. citizens like Amparo.

So many of the comments included outside opinions from those who have yet to experience the direct targetting of ICE.

Over all, nearly everyone was quick to point out the saddest aspect of Amparo’s experience.

Read: Preschool Students Are Doing Active Shooter Drills And I Guess This Is The New Normal Now

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