â€œIâ€™d Die in Guatemala â€“Â See, Iâ€™m Gay.â€
As the marked police cruiser slows and then passes, the young man glances up nervously from his coffee, his body tensing in a reflexive way, as if getting ready to bolt if necessary. His concern? Not that he has any warrants or charges pending, in fact, that is actually far from being the case. No, his greatest fear these days is being asked to provide identification. A government issued I.D. is something he simply cannot obtain as he was brought to the U.S. as a child from Guatemala and his family crossed the Mexican-U.S. border undocumented.
The slightly built 18 year-old has an easy smile, speaks perfect English with just a trace of an accent and a tiny bit of adolescent slang. But because he is obviously Latino he knows from bitter personal experience that here in these suburban outskirts of the Georgia capital cityâ€™s metropolitan area, he has an increased risk of being racially profiled by law enforcement since the Trump administration took office last January.Â
Accompanying him and sitting protectively on either side of him are his nervous, shy, and obviously proud parents who speak little to no English at all. In fact, he answers for them after quick consultations as the interview progresses. â€˜Alejandro,â€™ a pseudonym mutually agreed upon to protect him and his parents and siblings for the purposes of this interview, says that he is scared for his future and for his family.Â
Like most â€˜Dreamers,â€™ he came to the United States at a very young age, in his case he was only nine years old.
The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), first introduced into Congress in 2001, was designed to be a pathway to citizenship to young people who were brought to the United States as children like Alejandro without proper documentation.
Alejandro’sÂ parents had fled their village home along the Guatemalan border with Mexico as the narco-drug cartels and their accompanying violence escalated in 2009. This coming on the heels of an uneasy transition to peace after the end of a bloody civil war thirteen years before in 1996.
Guatemala hasÂ one of the highest murder rates in the world.
A report issued by Human Rights Watch in 2010 documented the Guatemalan violence that Alejandroâ€™s parents were fleeing from:Â
Guatemala has one of the highest homicide rates in the hemisphere, reaching 48 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2008. Numbers for the start of 2009 indicate that the rate may grow even higher.Â
The existence of clandestine security structures and illegal armed groups or organizations is an important factor contributing to this violence. These groups employ violence and intimidation in pursuing both political objectives and illicit economic interests, including drug trafficking. Maintaining links with state officials, they consistently obstruct anti-impunity initiatives.Â
Powerful and well-organized youth gangs, including the “Mara Salvatrucha” and “Barrio 18,” have also contributed to escalating violence in Guatemala. The gangs use lethal violence against those who defy their control, including gang rivals and former members, individuals who collaborate with police, and those who refuse to pay extortion money.Â
The gangs are believed to be responsible for the widespread killings of public transit operators targeted for extortion: in 2008, 165 drivers were murdered, and the killings have continued throughout 2009.
Police have used repressive measures in attempting to curb gang activity, including arbitrary detentions and extrajudicial killings. Investigations by the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office and NGOs have found police involvement in “social cleansing”-killings intended to eliminate alleged gang members and criminals.
Alejandro and his fellow â€˜Dreamersâ€™ have grown up in this country and consider themselves to be American, but lack the documents to fully participate in society, which â€“Â in some cases â€“Â means that they are unable to pursue college or university or enlist into the U.S. Armed Services. In many other cases it means they labor at jobs under the table or on a daily cash basis. After numerous attempts to pass the legislation even with nearly 70% of Americans in support, in 2012 then U.S. President Barack Obama announced a temporary program that allowed Dreamers to come forward, pass a criminal background check, payÂ hundreds of dollars, and apply for work permits. The program is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA for short.Â
Alejandro had applied for the program last year not long after his 17th birthday in the hopes of possibly attending university, but in September of this year, an Executive Action by President Donald Trump effectually squashed those hopes.Â Now, nearly two months after Trump officially rescinded the program and essentially dumped the burden of passing the DACA legislation in the laps of the Republican majority-led Congress, there appears to be little in the way of substantive action regarding the decidedly needed legislation.Â
Proponents of the legislation and advocacy groups warn that for the Dreamers, Congressional failure to pass alternative legislation, since the current policy is due to expire March 5, 2018, upwards of around 800,000 young people across the United States could possibly be deported to countries they don’t remember and like Alejandro, do not consider their homeland.
Frustrating many has been the stepped up detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants by the current administration, led by a president that on the campaign trail labeled the legislation “illegal executive amnesties” that “defied federal law and the Constitution.”
â€œWe call each other before we knock on our friendâ€™s doors- â€˜La Migraâ€™ yeah ICE [U.S. Department of Homeland Security- Immigration and Customs Enforcement] they come all the time now, they knock loud or sometimes they donâ€™t they just break doors down.â€ Alejandro looks down at the table for a moment. â€œMi Papi, Mama, yeah so they both go to work but I worry that Iâ€™ll come home from school and theyâ€™ll be arrested. Iâ€™ll have to take care of my little brother and sister but if they take me- if I have to be deported?â€ Â
He looks at his parents, his mother sensing his distress gently reaches over and takes his hand, telling him softly in Spanish, â€œEstÃ¡ bien mi hijoâ€ [Itâ€™s ok my son.] â€œSee â€“Â I did the right thing, I registered â€“Â why do they hate us?â€Â
The question lingers for a moment, then he details filling out the forms executing the criminal background paperwork, submitting his fingerprints, his putting down his home address which exposes not only himself should DACA end but also placing his parents at risk. His youngest sibling was born in the United States, but like him, his younger brother was born in Guatemala. He also applied and received a work authorizationÂ which allowed him to get a job at a local mall, unlike his parents who work as a day laborer and a housekeeper respectively, and very much â€œoff the books.â€Â
Recent press coverage of numerous stories have borne this out. â€œThe Trump administration has left their dogs off the leash,â€ immigrant rights advocate Julieta Garibay, co-founder and Texas Director of United We Dream said. In one highly publicizedÂ incident which occurred recently in San Marcos, Texas, Felipe Abonza-Lopez, a 20-year-old Dreamer, was detained without cause for over a month. Making circumstances worse was the fact that Felipe is disabled and uses a prosthetic leg, which in a written letter to his parents and attorney, he relayed that he was afraid to remove because another inmate of the detention facility in Pearsall Texas possibly would have stolen or severely damaged it.Â This led to physical pain which he wrote that the guards would mock. He was finally released after more than one month in detention. Garibay credits national publicity and the ensuing outrage as the factors which forced immigration officials to let him out of jail.
â€œWe celebrate the peopleâ€™s power to ensure Felipe was released. We are not forgetting that the Sheriff and Border Patrol dehumanized, criminalized, detained, and terrorized Felipe and his family. This is a clear example of emboldened racism in an era of Trump in a state where Abbott and Patrick pull the strings,â€ Garibay said in an emailed statement, adding: â€œWe will continue to take the streets and fight against SB4 and demand that a clean Dream Act is passed immediately. Our community cannot and will not wait. Immigrant youth across our beautiful state will not back down. We are here to stay, and we are here to fight for justice!â€
For Alejandro, his adopted state of Georgia has now become a place he deems much less “safe.” A spokesperson for Republican Georgia Governor Nathan Deal says that there have been no real changes in the attitudes overall by Georgia law enforcementÂ agencies regarding the Latino communities in the state, but then again Deal himself has made public statements which reflect his opposition to DACA and Dreamers. Â Â
During an appearance speaking to the University of Georgia chapter of the College RepublicansÂ in 2014, Deal racially profiled Hispanic students who questioned him after the speech. Four students from the Undocumented Student Alliance stood up to question Deal about a Board of Regents policy that bans undocumented immigrants from attending the university.
â€œGov. Deal, you spoke about protecting the HOPE Scholarship and youâ€™re a supporter of education, but why do you deprive undocumented immigrants whoâ€™ve lived here their entire lives from the right to come here and attend school with all of us?â€ asked student Carver Goodhue.
In response Deal argued there was not an effective way, at least not at the state level, to help the would-be students who want to attend classes at UGA and other state universities but are barred from doing so by a four-year-old Board of Regents policy. Then he noted that a majority of the stateâ€™s residents wouldnâ€™t support revoking the measure. But, as he responded he stated, â€œI presume that you areâ€ undocumented.
Retorting sharply, another of the students, Lizbeth Miranda asked, â€œI donâ€™t know why you thought I was undocumented. Is it because I look Hispanic?â€ Her response prompting boos from the audience. â€œI apologize if I offended you,â€ Deal quickly replied.
But the real problem, Alejandro says, is that every encounter with any member of a law enforcement agency now is fraught with the danger of being arrested simply because he or his peers donâ€™t have proper IDâ€™s. Then too he doesnâ€™t hold out much hope as it seems that Congress doesnâ€™t really want to help him or the other Dreamers. Another fact is that, since Trumpâ€™s action, over one hundred undocumented immigrantsÂ every day are losing their DACA status.
In an email, Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Senior Policy Analyst of Immigration Policy for the Washington, D.C. based Center for American Progress, said:
â€œOften times when the press reports on this story they repeat the administrationâ€™s line that President Trump gave Congress six months to act before DACA recipients begin losing protection in March. Although the numbers will, in fact, skyrocket beginning on March 6, that description loses sight of the 22,000 people who will already have lost protection by that point.Â
At this point nearly 8,900 DACA recipients may have lost their protection from detention and deportation. By Thanksgiving, that number will be 9,600. And when Congress heads home to celebrate the holidays with their families next month, nearly 13,000 individuals already will have seen their DACA expire.
The futures of hundreds of thousands of young people hang in the balance, and it is absolutely urgent that Congress provide them relief by passing the Dream Act. But we canâ€™t wait until February or March â€“ we need it now to prevent any more DACA recipients from losing their protections. The crisis has already begun, and will only get worse each day come March 6th.â€
The Center for American Progress reported that 122 Dreamers are losing DACA protection each day between October 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. â€œThe reality is that with every passing day, DACA recipients lose their protections and become vulnerable to a regime of enforcement overdrive.â€
â€œMi familia, weâ€™re good people, weâ€™re hard workers, we contribute we donâ€™t take â€“Â but they donâ€™t care.â€ He looks defeated. â€œI want to be an engineer â€“Â you know, build things that help people, I want to be a part of this country and yeah, be a citizen help out,â€ Alejandro says.Â
He then related that he determined what path he wanted his education and professional career to go after watching the 2015 George Lopez film, “Spare Parts,” with his family. â€œThose guys were like me, no papers but they won the whole USA contest in Underwater Robotics engineering and then they became regular Americans too.â€ He says he always loved designing and building things and working on fixing things with his father. For him this is his dream, which he says just simply would be impossible if he is deported back to Guatemala.Â Â
As the debate rages on in Washington and across the nation, proponents point out that the sudden turn in policy, especially in enforcement has created fear and uncertainty. Daily Kos writer Gabe Ortiz reported that Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo writes that passing legislation to protect undocumented immigrant youthâ€”for example, the bipartisan DREAM Actâ€”is essential to rebuilding both trust and neighborhoods around Texas.
Ortiz writes that the chief revealed that due to deportation fears, the number of Latinos reporting when theyâ€™ve been victims of sexual assault is down nearly 43 percent from last year, and itâ€™s a disturbing trend seen nationwide. â€œImmigrants are also essential for keeping Houston safe,â€ Chief Acevedo continues.Â
â€œHaving served in law enforcement for more than 30 years, I believe trust between police and residents is key to everyone’s safetyâ€
When immigrants hear of a U.S.-Mexico wall or a nationwide deportation “crackdown,” they fear going to police to report criminal activity. I currently lead a department of 5,200 law enforcements officers and 1,200 support personnel. They will tell you that the ugly national anti-immigrant rhetoric has had a chilling effect on their work with residents. They are now less willing to work with our police to report suspicious activity.
[…] We are concerned that, absent any action by Congress, Dreamers will be driven into the shadows and will not report crimes or cooperate with investigations. When Dreamers and other immigrants feel safe working with local police, all communities are safer.
â€œWith DACA ending,â€ he writes,Â â€œthe absence of a legislative solution would be short-sighted and counterproductive. It would hurt our city in one of its most vulnerable moments.Â I have seen how strong Houston can be in the midst of devastation. Dreamers and other immigrants living in Houston only make us stronger. For the sake of the city, let’s welcome them so that their, and our, future is brighter.â€
Alejandroâ€™s parents say that all they really want is a secure future for their children and a place of safety away from the bloodshed and violence in Guatemala that they fear may never end. He says that all he wants is a chance to make a difference, he is more than willing to serve in the U.S. military to honor his adopted home and as a thank you. But thereâ€™s a larger reason, too, he says, looking over at his parents as he asks me to not react since they donâ€™t know what heâ€™s about to tell me:Â â€œIâ€™d die in Guatemala â€“Â see, Iâ€™m gay.â€
Brody LevesqueÂ is the Chief Political Correspondent forÂ The New Civil Rights Movement.
You may contact Brody atÂ Brody.Levesque@thenewcivilrightsmovement.com
To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.
Images:Â Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
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Top Anti-Abortion Lobbying Org Doubles Down to Support ‘Pro-Life’ Herschel Walker Despite Report and Son’s Allegations
The top anti-abortion lobbying group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, doubling down in their support for Herschel Walker, the GOP’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, despite a damning report in the media and allegations from Walker’s own son.
Overnight The Daily Beast reported Walker, who claims to be against all abortion, paid for an abortion for his girlfriend. Walker has attacked U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, his Democratic opponent, over abortion, drumming up falsehoods like saying Warnock, a Christian pastor who is pro-choice, “relished a woman killing her baby.”
Montage of Herschel Walker’s anti-abortion statements. pic.twitter.com/4JxZ3N0OyK
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) October 4, 2022
Walker’s own son, Christian Walker, who has been a steadfast supporter publicly of his father’s candidacy, revealed overnight and Tuesday morning that his father has committed “atrocities” against their family, caused his mother and him to move six times in six months, and was an absentee father despite attacking Black men in general for that very same behavior.
Now, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, once called the Susan B. Anthony List, is standing by Walker despite his reported abortion actions.
Axios’ Alexi McCammond says they asked SBA Pro-Life America if the anti-abortion lobbying organization still supported Walker.
“Hershel Walker has denied these allegations in the strongest possible terms and we stand firmly alongside him,” SBA spokesperson Mallory Carroll told McCammond.
“She added that their GA field team ‘has visited more than 310,000 homes across the state in support of pro-life candidates like Herschel and against the extremism of Sen. Warnock and Stacy Abrams, and we will continue through Election Day,'” McCammond reports.
Congratulations @TeamHerschel!Between now and November we will work tirelessly to expose extremists like Sen. Warnock and send pro-life champions like Herschel to Washington! #IVoteProLife #gapolitics https://t.co/E1j78IUopd pic.twitter.com/RqPRfleH26
— SBA Pro-Life America | 72% 🇺🇸 support 15 weeks (@sbaprolife) May 25, 2022
In January of 2020 Right Wing Watch reported the “Susan B. Anthony List and its Women Speak Out super PAC are launching a $52 million campaign effort on behalf of [re-electing] Trump and Republican senators.”
‘Everything Has Been a Lie’: Christian Walker Drops Damning New Video Blasting His Father’s ‘Lies’ Over Abortion
Christian Walker, the son of the Republican Party of Georgia’s nominee to be a U.S. Senator is out with a new video Tuesday morning blasting his father, Herschel Walker, and Republicans who he says knew about his philandering father’s past and suggesting they even called him telling him it’s important for the party that he win, despite the latest bombshell news.
Monday evening The Daily Beast reported Herschel Walker, the former NFL star running for Senate as a “pro-life” candidate who supports zero exceptions for abortion, paid for an abortion for his girlfriend.
Walker said he and his mother “could have ended” his father’s Senate campaign, one first pushed by and then endorsed by Donald Trump, “on day one.” And he criticized the “family values” contingent on the right for their hypocrisy in endorsing his father despite his past.
“I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised,” Christian Walker charges in his latest video. “And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”
Walker, a social media influencer who has strongly supported his father’s candidacy until The Daily Beast’s story Monday night, went on to attack “family values” conservatives.
“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Walker said about his father Herschel. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he likes about it. Okay, I’m done.”
Herschel Walker is running to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, a pastor. Warnock has not commented on the Daily Beast’s bombshell.
“Everything has been a lie. And so for the right to say I’m being suspicious. We’re saying hey, I’m done with the lies when you all have been calling me saying, ‘is this true about your dad? Gosh, we’re not going to win Georgia. This candidate and all –’ that’s been you.”
“You have no idea what I’ve been through in my life. You have no idea what me and my mom have survived. We could have ended this on day one. We haven’t. I haven’t told any stories. I’m just saying don’t lie. Don’t lie on my mom. Don’t lie on me. Don’t lie on the lives you’ve destroyed and act like you’re some moral family man. Y’all should care about that, conservatives.”
Walker also claimed “the left” has been blaming him, “as though I’m responsible for all of the things that he has done. I’ve talked about other issues. I’ve talked about these because they’ve been close to me, because they matter to me because I went through it. That’s why I’ve talked about it. So when you say well, ‘talk about your dad,’ I am I’m saying this behavior is atrocious. Don’t come for me. You don’t have to like my policies. You don’t have to like me. You don’t have to. I’m just saying, I’m done with the lies.”
According to Walker, he was promised his father would lead a different life when he decided to run for Senate.
“We were told at the beginning of this he was going to get ahead of his past, hold himself accountable, all of these different things. And that would have been fine. Go ahead. He didn’t do any of that. Everything’s been a lie. Everything’s been downplayed. Everything’s been cutting corners, the whole thing, and who who is whose expense is that? Me, my mom. as were chased down by the media. We were terrorized, all these different things. People are questioning my authenticity. I’m done. Don’t lie. Don’t put this on me. You — This is a candidate issue. Not a me issue. I wouldn’t have spoken out if there weren’t all these lives every day.”
The Daily Beast in recent months also reported Walker has had four children with four different women, at least two of whom were not previously known.
Herschel Walker is denying the Daily Beast’s reporting.
Watch below or at this link.
I’ve stayed silent for nearly two years as my whole life has been lied about publicly. I did ONE campaign event, then said I didn’t want involvement.
Don’t you dare test my authenticity. Here is the full story: pic.twitter.com/ekVEcz8zq3
— Christian Walker (@ChristianWalk1r) October 4, 2022
Trump’s Chief of Staff Implicated in Mar-a-Lago Docs Scheme by New Bombshell Reporting
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows may have been implicated in the Mar-a-Lago documents case by one of Donald Trump’s attorneys, according to a new report.
The New York Times reported that Trump attorney Patrick Philbin falsely told the lawyer for the National Archives last September that the former president had taken only non-classified material such as newspaper clippings home with him from the White House, two sources told the New York Times.
Philbin told National Archives lawyer Gary Stern that he learned that information from Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, and one of the sources said Stern preserved his own description of that exchange in an email.
That claim turned out to be false after FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago in August and found thousands of pages of presidential records, including hundreds that contained classified information, stashed in Trump’s office and other areas at the private club.
Another Trump attorney, Alex Cannon, told the former president in fall 2021 that officials with the archives wanted those materials back and warned him that a criminal referral could result if he refused to comply, according to a person familiar with the discussions, but Trump basically ignored him.
Trump eventually turned over 15 boxes of government materials in January and asked Cannon to tell the archives that those were all the documents he had taken from the White House, but the lawyer declined because he wasn’t sure if that was true.
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