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Actresses America Ferrera, Diane Guerrero Opened Up About Their Traumatic Immigration Stories And Not A Lot Has Changed

Traditionally, when industries like Hollywood portray well-distinguished and impressively successful characters on the big screen or in media, women— particularly Latinas— are often left out of the loop. Instead, they’re cast to the wayside and put into boxes where they portray small roles as women of less than humble means and education backgrounds.

Fortunately, in recent years, women of color have pushed their way to the forefront of the entertainment and fashion industries where they not only rule music and box office charts but also use their platforms to advocate for political and social changes. This is, despite the many obstacles that were set in their paths and despite the fact that they were often faced with systems that could have prevented them from reaching success.

In a recent piece by Marie Claire, the magazine spoke to actresses, advocates, and activists who came from immigrant backgrounds and are currently fighting for the rights of newcomers.

Camila Cabello

@camila_cabejlo / Instagram

The Cuban-American singer rose to fame as one member of the girl group Fifth Harmony a few years ago, but last year claimed the spotlight for her own with the release of her hit song “Havana.” In the months following her big solo debut, singer and songwriter spoke up about immigration issues including her own story which involved crossing the border with her mother into the U.S. at the age of five. At the 2018 Grammy Awards, she delivered a powerful message about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects qualifying undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and is currently at risk.

Speaking to the audience at the time she said, “Just like the Dreamers, my parents brought me to this country with nothing in their pockets but hope. They showed me what it means to work twice as hard and never give up. And honestly, no part of my journey is any different from theirs,” she said. “I’m a proud Cuban-Mexican immigrant, born in eastern Havana, standing in front of you on the Grammy stage in New York City, and all I know is, just like dreams, these kids can’t be forgotten and are worth fighting for.”

America Ferrera

@americaferrera / Instagram

Known most for her roles in the ABC hit show “Ugly Betty” and films like “Real Women Have Curves” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” Ferrera has now become a fierce advocate for immigration and women’s rights. In recent years she has been extremely active in informing Latinos in the United States on the importance of getting involved with the vote and in 2017 she was the opening speaker for the Women’s March on Washington. This past year, at the height of the #Metoo campaign, she revealed that she had been sexually harassed at the age of nine.

During her recent interview, Ferrera explained why she believes it’s important to change representation of immigrants and their stories in film saying “I have been supremely lucky to get the opportunities to play some wonderful, authentic, and deep characters, but if I look around at the vast image being painted about the American experience, I see that there are so many of us missing from the picture. Our experiences, our humor, our dramas, our hopes, our dreams, and our families are almost nonexistent in the stories that surround us. I hear from all kinds of people that they gain confidence and self-esteem when they see themselves in the culture—portrayals that say, in resounding ways, ‘You are here, you are seen, your experience matters.’ I believe that culture shapes identity and defines possibility, that it teaches who we are, what to believe, and how to dream. We should all be able to look at the world around us and see a reflection of our true lived experiences. Until then, the American story will never be complete.”

Maria Cornejo

@zeromcornejo / Instagram

The designer behind Zero + Maria Cornejo has dressed female powerhouses the likes of Michelle Obama, Cindy Sherman, and Christy Turlington. It’s a far cry from her early days in which she found herself fleeing the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile as a twelve-year-old with her family. Speaking about her move from Chile in September of 1973, Cornejo described in the interview the moment she saw bombs fall on Santiago as part of a military coup to bring down socialist president Salvador Allende. “I remember going to school and hearing the bombs everywhere,” Cornejo explained. Soon after her father fled to Peru, she and her mother followed.

Diane Guerrero

@dianexguerrero / Instagram

While the “Orange is the Black” actress and author of In the Country We Love, was born in the United States, her parents were from Colombia and entered the U.S. without documentation. Throughout her career, she has used her platform to speak up about immigration issues and share her story of being left behind in the U.S. when her parents and brother were deported while she was in school.

Speaking about the Trump administration’s rush of strict and inflexible immigration policies she said that “anyone who experiences a traumatic separation from a loved one knows that it takes time to adjust to the emptiness in your life. I can’t help but think it’s even worse for children who realize that anonymous federal agents have taken their mother or father, or both, like what happened when I was a teenager. When I heard the audio recordings of young children crying out for a parent or aunt, to the point of not being able to catch their breath, I was overcome with a rush of painful memories. Then when I saw the videos of children wrapped in those foil-like blankets behind fencing that looked like cages, my heart broke. I thought to myself, How can our nation be so cruel? It made me want to try even harder to get people to vote in November so that the true compassionate voice of America is heard.”


Read: Mollie Tibbets Family Wants Donald Trump To Stop Politicizing Her Murder

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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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America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters

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America Ferrera Brings Actors Across The Border To Visit Migrant Shelters

America Ferrera has never been a celebrity to stay quiet in the face of injustice, so it’s no surprise that the actress-activist has boldly responded to the Trump administration’s policy requiring migrants seeking asylum in the United States to wait in Mexico.

Last week, the Superstore star led a group of actors, including Gina Rodriguez, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, Wilmer Valderrama, Roselyn Sanchez and Kendrick Sampson, across the southern border to a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico.

There, the group learned how the policy was impacting migrants while speaking directly with immigration lawyers and shelter managers as well as families and children. They hope through this real-life education that they will become better equipped to challenge the Trump administration in the US.

“It is easy for me to look at these human beings and see myself. … This could very easily have been my reality in this lifetime,” the Honduran-American actress told the Associated Press about the trip.

The “Remain in Mexico” policy limits the amount of asylum requests border patrol can attend to per day. The process, which has also forced refugees, including thousands of Central American families who have filed for sanctuary from violence and poverty in their home countries, to stay in Mexico, has slowed down the process and created case backlogs in the immigration system and overcrowding in shelters in Mexican border towns.

“We were able to bear witness to how the current administration is treating refugee families. We MUST demand better,” Washington said in an Instagram post. “Let me be clear: it is legal to seek asylum. When people cross our borders, their human rights come with them. We must protect those human rights.”

@kerrywashington / Instagram

According to NBC News, the visit was organized by nonprofits Families Belong Together and Harness, an organization started by Ferrera, Valderrama and Ryans Piers.

Jessica Morales Rocketto, who heads Families Belong Together, told the news outlet that one of the women she met at the shelter had been waiting with her toddler since November to apply for asylum.

“People get to the border and think that’s the end of the journey, but it’s only the beginning,” Morales Rocketto said.

Read: 20 Major Immigration Facts the American Public Refuses to Hear

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