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Guatemalan Mom Who Was Abused By A Border Patrol Agent Refuses To Give Up Her Fight Against Deportation

During a Holy Week service at The Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan, New York, religious and political leaders washed a Guatemalan woman’s feet, re-enacting a moment during the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of the apostles.

It was a symbolic representation of the church’s dedication to Aura Hernandez, a 37-year-old undocumented mother who is taking sanctuary at the historic church to avoid deportation.

“I don’t intend to stand here with my arms crossed, and do nothing,” the woman told the New York Times in Spanish. “I have to stand up and raise my voice because an injustice is being committed to me and to us. I think I’m here for a reason.”

Following the church service, the congregation, which has volunteered to feed Hernandez, take care of her family’s laundry and help care for her children, embarked on a silent Jericho walk around the Trump International Hotel.

The walk was a way for them to “denounce Trump’s racially charged, anti-immigrant speech, which has given license to the violent implementation of policies that terrorize our immigrant communities and violate basic human rights,” Rev. Juan Carlos Ruiz, a co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition, an immigrant rights group that helps organize sanctuaries like that of Hernandez’s, said in a statement.

Hernandez, who moved in two weeks ago and could stay for several months, is one of about 40 immigrants at risk of removal taking refuge at houses of worship.

Churches, considered sensitive sites, are largely avoided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, thus several congregations have offered their places of worship as shields for those under threat of deportation.

During her time at The Fourth Universalist Society, Hernandez will try to reopen her case for a special visa while the public puts pressure on ICE to grant her a reprieve. The strategy has worked in the past. According to the New York Times, of the 39 immigrants who sought public sanctuary nationally in 2017, nine were granted reprieves from deportation. This year, six of 12 have shared the same fate.

The mother, who has two children who are U.S. citizens, a 15-month-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, journeyed across the Mexico-Texas border in 2005. She was 25 years old and fleeing an abusive partner who threatened to kill her. She along with her 9-year-old nephew were quickly picked up by Border Patrol. She alleges that the officer sexual abused her. Three days later, another agent handed her papers that read “Welcome to the United States” and took them to a bus stop. Traumatized, Hernandez never read that document, which was in English.

Eight years later, while driving in Mamaroneck, New York, Hernandez was pulled over by a police officer for driving the wrong way down a street that is one-way on Sundays. The officer reported the woman to immigration officials and that is when she learned she had an active deportation order for failing to appear at a 2005 court date in Texas.

The New Sanctuary Coalition aims to reopen her case because of the alleged assault and possible violence she would encounter in Guatemala.

Read: Latina Activist Alejandra Robles Is The Latest Immigrant Rights Organizer To Be Detained By ICE

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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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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls The Lack Of Black And Latinx Diversity At NYC’s Specialized Schools An “Injustice”

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls The Lack Of Black And Latinx Diversity At NYC’s Specialized Schools An “Injustice”

In New York, Black and Latinx youth make up 70 percent of public school students, yet just 10 percent are admitted to the city’s eight specialized high schools, the New York Times reports. The shamefully low, and decreasing, number of students of color in these prestigious institutions has picked up criticism, including from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who called it an “injustice.”

Just 4 percent ― or 190 students ― of the 4,800 youth invited to attend New York’s eight specialized schools this year are Black. This number is down from 207 last year, following an annual trend of decline. In fact, at Stuyvesant High School, the city’s most selective school, the number of Black students offered admission has dropped for three consecutive years. In the fall, just seven of the 895 spots will go to a Black student, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before. According to the Times, Stuyvesant, which has four Nobel Prize laureates among its alumni, now has the lowest percentage of Black and Latinx students than any other New York school, though it must be noted that the school accepted 33 Latinx students this year, up from 27 in 2018.

“To only have 7 Black students accepted into Stuyvesant (a *public* high school) tells us that this is a system failure,” the congressional freshman, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, wrote in a tweet.

Eight of the elite specialized high schools use the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test as part of their admission process, a measure of success that has received increased disapproval. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has advocated for abolishing the test, which he has referred to as a “roadblock to justice.”

“Can anyone look the parent of a [Latinx] or black child in the eye and tell them their precious daughter or son has an equal chance to get into one of their city’s best high schools,” the Democratic mayor wrote in an op-ed for Chalkbeat in 2018. “You can’t write a single test that captures the full reality of a person.” However, the Times reported that any push to get rid of the test have stalled out.

For Ocasio-Cortez, the system has the potential of deepening inequality for years to come.

“Education inequity is a major factor in the racial wealth gap,” she said. “This is what injustice looks like.”

While the number of Black and Latinx students accepted in New York’s elite public schools dwindle — Latinx invitees dropped from 320 to 316 overall — among all eight schools, the acceptance rate for white students has increased.

Read: Her Mom Cleaned Houses To Pay For Her Education After Her School Learned She Was Undocumented And Took Her Scholarship

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