Dark Era and New Era

Cruz Ramirez

Thomas Aquinas said if God had made all things perfect or all good, we may not be able to differentiate the good and bad.  This phrase I describes what I will try to talk about today. 

We lived four terrible years under Trump administration.  That was the darkest era I have seen in this country since moved up here.   

This year began with a new Administration and a new era with new objectives including people who were not welcomed by the past administration.  Dreamers kept their dreams and their hope alive to become permanent residents then citizens and continue their education.  Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries also still have hope to remain in this country and obtain their legal documents to become permanent residents then citizens.

In the last administration, immigrants were labeled criminals, drug traffickers and rapist.  These people today can go to work, take their children to school, go to grocery stores and arrive to courts for their immigration appointments without US Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agents waiting for them in parking lots to be arrested, taken to detention centers and be deported immediately without being allowed to exercise their rights to appear in front of a judge to justify their permanence in this country. 

Families can wake up without fear that ICE would knock at their doors in the middle of the night and be taken to detention centers. When ICE arrived to look for one person, they sometimes arrested every adult who lived in those houses, leaving children without parents.  Some of the inhabitants in those homes were permanent residents and citizens. They were arrested because they were not Caucasians.  The only crime they had committed was their appearance and the color of their skins. Those people without documents have always been working in the fields, planting, cleaning and harvesting vegetables and fruits that everyone consumes every day in this country.  Others were working in cleaning in hotels, cooking, waiting tables in restaurants, cleaning offices, schools, hospitals and many other places.  Some of them were working in constructions, gardening, cutting trees, and others were  doing dangerous jobs that people who were born here wouldn't do. 

They were not stealing jobs that they were accused of.  Accusations of stealing jobs and committing crimes were the government's excuse to stop and arrest them on the streets.  Some were parents and heads of families. They were separated from their families.  Children were detached from their parents and suffered emotionally when their parents didn't come back home. Spouses suffered emotionally and economically.  Lives became complicated in some cases because only one of the parents drove children back and forth to school.  In some cases only one parent was working outside the house to bring money home.  After the economic provider had been taken away, the family suffered from hunger, children missed school and families might lose their places where they lived.  People were afraid to leave home to go to work, go to the grocery stores and take their children to school because they might be arrested and deported.  Then there was more employment availale because people who were holding those jobs were in detention centers, deported or were at home hiding from immigration agents. 

The Trump administration didn't care about all these atrocities that families were going through. Trump followers celebrated those horrible things that were happening to undocumented people.  However, some of these undocumented people were working in golf courts of the President.  He didn't want immigrants in the country; he called them with all most hateful and negative names, but he was using them in his fields for his own monetary gain. They were paid low salaries.  They couldn't complain because they didn't have documents, so they didn't have rights.  When this was discovered, these workers were fired immediately and they were going to be deported as soon as possible, but thanks to some congress members opposed to their deportation, lawyers took their cases to represent them in court, and could serve as witnesses in courts.

On the border, people who came with children were separated from their children.  Children were taken from their parents by immigration officials. They were caged with inappropriate attention.  Although the law only allows children to be detained for 72 hours, most of them were detained for weeks and months.  Thousands of them, the government lost track on their foster families.  Children were traumatized and their trauma was irreversible.  Some of them died in detention centers because of lack of medical attention, and negligence.  Immigrant adults and children were fed with outdated food and received one or two meals a day; some children were abused in detention centers. 

Adults who were detained in immigration detention centers were treated like criminals and others were sent to criminal prisons.  However, those who were detained in immigration centers, were put in ice boxes.  Women were not supplied with feminine hygiene products. When they were released from ice boxes, they were sick from the cold, some with pneumonia because of extreme cold. In some cases, children and adults in detention centers asked for help, but they were ignored.  In some cases, guards "didn't t realize" that some people were dead already until other detainees let the guards know.  Pregnant women couldn't see a gynecologist. Some women complained of some common pains.  They were taken to see a doctor.  The doctor decided to do surgery on them to remove their uterus, after which they were deported.  Thank to a nurse who was worked with the doctor made the denounce.  Thanks to some congress members, immigration officials we called to testify on the case.  

Things got worse when COVID-19 arrived. The government didn't care about the country.  When people started to be infected by Corona virus, the president said that we shouldn't worry about it.  The virus was going to go away by itself. It was that that people take medicines that had not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Trump implied people drink Clorox.   We saw the result of the government irresponsibility and negligence.  More than half a million of lives were lost. When the President was asked about the plan to control the virushe answered, "It is what it is."

In the end of the administration, things got worse.  The president abandoned the needs of the country.  He concentrated his energy on defending his big lie that the election was rigged.  He took his cases to the courts.  His lie was rejected over and over again.   More than 60 courts including the Supreme Court rejected the lie because his lawyers could not provide proof.   

When the administration changed, the new president recommended that everyone to wear a mask and a plan was created to control the pandemic. Today, almost 50% people have been fully vaccinated.  The promise of vaccines for everyone was realized before the time that had been projected.  Businesses started to open safely earlier than expected.  Children started to attend school; workers returned to their previous employment.  There were more jobs than people seeking for employment because some workers had found another job and some might have died from the coronavirus so there more job opportunities open.  Big businesses were looking for ways to incentivize people to take jobs such as increasing salaries and offering benefits.  

Thanks to executive orders that the President signed, there will be more tax cut for big corporations; the criminal oil pipe that would have destroyed thousands of miles of ecology in the sacred land of the original people were stopped temporarily.   Hopefully it would become permanent because for native people the land is our mother.  No one would be happy seeing his or mother being hurt and destroyed.

However, still a lot of work needs to be done. The immigration crisis on the boarder hasn't been controlled completely.  People who are coming en masse have to be deported and ice boxes system still active.  Children have been united with their families, receiving a little better attention but the need was not completely satisfied.  Children still being held in detention centers for more than 72 hours.  

Gun shots happened almost every day.  Racism is still active, discrimination against minorities is still being promoted by governors in many states.  The clearest examples are the Georgia and Florida governors who signed laws limiting voting rights that block the votes of minorities and poor people.  Their excuse is that they are trying to save elections.  It's ridiculous because the last election was the safest one ever in the United States. 

The Senate has blocked laws to prevent immigration reform and gun control.  Senators against immigration reform call the immigration law project "amnesty," "open borders", "inviting people to cross the USA border without documents" and other false excuses against the reform.  Anti-control-control senators used extreme language to refuse to pass gun-control laws, claiming gun control legislation would eliminate the Constitution's Second Amendment.  Gun control is not gun elimination.  Current proposed gun-control laws would require background checks of people buying guns.  Texas has passed a law that would allow anyone to carry guns without a permit: Just go ahead and purchase and sell guns.  

Communities have a lot work to do to reach justice and rights for everyone.