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Judges Check Trump?s Immigration Cruelty

US Immigration Reform Forum - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 6:04pm
Judges Check Trump?s Immigration Cruelty

The courts make clear that the president?s policies go beyond the law.
Source: Judges Check Trump?s Immigration Cruel...
Categories: Local Blogs

Seeing El Paso for the first time through the windows of the El Paso Streetcar

Borderzine - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 3:59pm

I’ve lived in El Paso all 21 years of my life.

The El Paso Streetcar rides along North Stanton Street on Sunday, Dec. 3. Photo credit: Brianna Chavez

I’ve been to almost every part of town that I can think of. As I’ve gotten older, I grown to love El Paso and appreciate the city’s history and where it’s going. But after riding the El Paso Streetcar for the very first time, I felt like I was seeing the city for the very first time.

After what seemed like a never-ending construction headache followed by traffic nightmares, the $97 million El Paso Streetcar Project was officially launched in early November.

When I first saw the new and improved El Paso Streetcar drive by the first thought that came into my mind was how cute it was.

When I began to learn the history of the streetcar, I began to learn how valuable the streetcar was to El Paso.

Related: Downtown El Paso set to ride streetcar revival

The El Paso Streetcars that are currently running are Presidential Conference Car streetcars (PPC), the same model approved by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the mid-1930s.

The streetcars that once ran between the 1950s through 1970s were left in the desert near the El Paso International Airport and decayed over time. Six streetcars were sent to the Brookville Equipment Corp. in Pennsylvania to be refurbished in 2015. The refurbished street cars made their way back to El Paso in March of 2018.

Streetcar 1506 rides through North Stanton Street passing through Cathedral High School. Photo credit: Brianna Chavez

The El Paso Streetcar runs a 4.8 mile route and has two loops, the uptown and downtown loop. The Uptown loop has 27 stops that takes passengers from Downtown to the Kern area, UTEP and back. The Downtown loop has 10 stops that starts downtown and works its way to Segundo Barrio.

I decided to take the Uptown route on a Sunday afternoon. I parked by Cathedral High School, across from the Ronald McDonald House on Stanton and waited for about 15 minutes for the streetcar to arrive.

As it approached the stop, you can hear the dings of the vintage 1960’s streetcar. It’s bright light teal color with bright red stripe along the side is just as captivating.

 

When I stepped on, it was like stepping into a time machine. You could just feel like the history of the car oozing out. It was the past and present combined. Even the smell of the car was new.

The car’s technology was most certainly new, including digital cameras that displayed the inside and outside of the vehicle. According to the City of El Paso, all six of the streetcars have several amenities including free Wi-Fi, bike racks, and air conditioning. They are also all ADA accessible.

Scuff marks can be seen on the pull cord of streetcar 1506, nearly one month after the cars official opened to the public. Photo credit: Brianna Chavez

I noticed that while everything was new and improved, the car was already starting to see some scuffing. The pull cord along the window where I sat was scuffed along, showing signs of use since it first began running.

As I looked around, the car was completely full. Through the entire ride, there was only standing room available. There were people young and old riding along with me, from young families to older couples.

City Representative Claudia Ordaz-Perez and County Commissioner Vince Perez joined the ride. There was even an older gentlemen telling the driver what he remembered when the streetcar was like when he was younger.

At one point during the ride, a family was buying tickets at one of the Brio bus stops and, while the driver could have kept driving along the route, he stopped and told the family the streetcar was free to ride for the day.

Located across the Bert Williams Downtown
Santa Fe Transfer Center on Oregon Street, the Sun Metro streetcar facility houses all six streetcars. Photo credit: Brianna Chavez

Along the route, each historic neighborhood, Kern, Downtown and Segundo Barrio felt so new and so different.

I’d been through Segundo Barrio many times before, but something about riding in the streetcar made me wonder what kind of stories where hidden in the walls of the small brick houses. I felt as if I was reliving someone’s past. I imaged someone walking out of their home and walking towards the stop to catch the streetcar.

On the route, the car passed by St. Patrick’s Cathedral and its neighboring school. I went to school and church there for many years, yet as we passed by I felt like I had never seen how beautiful it actually was.

After the 50 minute ride, I thought about the growth El Paso has seen in the last several years. The city has changed and is continuing to change for the better. While the streetcar is a step towards the past, it’s also a step towards the future. Soon, my generation will tell stories of how we took the streetcar, just like the generations before me.

The post Seeing El Paso for the first time through the windows of the El Paso Streetcar appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

ICE leaves crowd of migrants stranded in Downtown El Paso for Christmas; community rises to respond with compassion

Borderzine - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:46pm

EL PASO – Here’s a sense of the scene Sunday evening at the Greyhound bus station about two hours after ICE dropped off more than 150 destitute, scared and confused Central American asylum seekers. Mothers traveling alone with small children clinging to them. Fathers traveling with children who are never more than inches away from each other.

Over and over they ask to use my phone. They have phone numbers memorized, or scrawled on worn scraps of paper for family or contacts in the U.S. I dial South Carolina, then New Jersey, Tennessee, California. “Where are we?” they each ask me as they talk to their connection. “El Paso, Tejas,” I tell them. They repeat it, trying to memorize it. Others around me do the same. “El Paso, Tejas.” They are all looking up at me, nodding, and repeating it like a mantra. The women are tiny and I’m taller than most of the men. They are afraid they will be taken back to ICE detention.

Photo by Kate Gannon, Borderzine.com

As word of this crisis spreads, El Pasoans show up at the bus station with bottles of water, pizzas, fruit. The police are amazing, supporting the growing numbers of volunteers, trying to contact relief services. After almost three hours, at the time of these photos, the crowd is being updated on efforts to secure shelter for the night somewhere in the city. City buses are brought in so they have a place to rest and stay warm. The County Judge is onsite, along with the director of Annunciation House. Calls and texts furiously trying to find motel space, volunteers, support.

At 1 a.m. the buses were loaded and still waiting. This is Christmas Eve in America.

UPDATE: 

To help with donations that go directly toward shelter and logistics 
https://annunciationhouse.org/financial-donations/

If you live in El Paso and are a restaurant or church organization that can prep and crew a meal service or, if you speak Spanish and can transport people to the airport and bus stations
email refugees@annunciationhouse.org

FOLLOW UP:

What I learned after wandering into a refugee crisis at the bus station downtown:

When undocumented migrants are processed by ICE and released, there is no formal support system to help them navigate the next steps to safely get to their families and sponsors. Community charities and immigrant advocacy groups have stepped up grassroots efforts to help. Their coordinators and volunteers are doing amazing work, but this latest surge is overwhelming the humble infrastructure of support here. In 2016 during the last big surge of asylum seekers from Central America the federal government set up a temporary processing site. But this time there is no such system in place.

In my few hours at a bus station in Downtown El Paso on the night before Christmas Eve, I learned just how complex it is for refugees to get to their next stop.

COMMUNICATION

• Many don’t have phones, so they have no way of contacting relatives and sponsors to make travel arrangements. Pay phones are a thing of the past on most U.S. streets, so they can’t even make a collect call.

• They don’t understand long distance dialing once in the U.S. The scraps of paper they carry with phone numbers have the international prefix of 00. The numbers are sacred to them exactly the way they’re written down. Without a helpful local doing the dialing, their calls won’t go through.

• Even if they can borrow the phone, making flight or bus arrangements takes time and they may not have access to the phone for return calls. I don’t know the names of anyone who used my phone last night. I don’t know where they are now. This morning I keep getting calls from worried relatives and don’t answer because I can’t connect them and don’t speak Spanish well enough to explain it.

• Many speak primarily indigenous languages and not much Spanish. It is hard for them to communicate directions or instructions. They don’t know where they are.

FOOD

• Many said they were dropped off without having anything to eat all day. Word went out and people showed up with pizzas, fruit, energy bars and water. The effort is helpful and immediate, but it is hard to coordinate random individuals.

• Crews from groups like churches and other organizations are needed to take on responsibilities for providing meals once migrants are provided shelter

LOGISTICS

• There are few flights and buses out of El Paso, so it can take days to get the next available seat. This means people are stranded here without money or a place to stay. They have no change of clothes. Some don’t have jackets or sweaters.

• The hospitality centers hosted by Annunciation House are full. The charity is now renting out hotel rooms and the money is running out. Every new busload of migrants dropped off means they are scrambling to find new spaces for 100-200 people. A huge amount of money is needed to pay for this.

• People need rides from the shelters to back to the bus station or airport when they get a ticket.

• They may need help with additional paperwork or understanding how to present themselves at checkpoints, such as the TSA at the airport.

My experience at the bus station reinforced my deep respect for the volunteers and advocates who have been working tirelessly since before the crisis ramped up this summer. I hear reports that our local community leaders and grassroots workers continue to work on a better infrastructure to get us through this surge. Meanwhile, I hope this helps give some understanding about why migrants don’t just simply check out of ICE once their paperwork is done and pop on a bus bound for family.

 

The post ICE leaves crowd of migrants stranded in Downtown El Paso for Christmas; community rises to respond with compassion appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

The night before Christmas

ElPasoSpeak - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 5:00am

Many of us will be attending Christmas Eve functions tonight.

Remember that Uber and Lyft are available.

Please be safe.

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

What Would Trump Do

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 11:00pm
As I prepare for Christmas, I can’t help but wonder what would Donald Trump do if the Savior’s […]
Categories: Local Blogs

There’s no home for the holidays for deployed border agent family

Borderzine - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 12:20pm

On Nov. 13, nine buses carrying the first large wave of about 350 asylum seekers from the Central American migrant caravan arrived in Tijuana.

Michelle Arandas’ mother and stepfather are both Customs and Border Protection agents assigned to the El Paso ports of entry. However, on Nov. 15, Aranda had to drop them off at the airport, where they joined other El Paso CBP officers in boarding a plane to Nogales, Ariz. Their deployment came in response to the migrant caravan approaching the Arizona border. Arandas’ parents have since been relocated to the San Diego border after it became clear that was the caravan’s destination.

Aranda, whose surname is different from that of her mother and stepfather, says that her parents were warned of their possible deployment five days in advance and received confirmation of their deployment two days in advance.

“My mom was definitely nervous. She started packing right away as soon as they gave her the five-day warning. You could also tell the he was kind of nervous when we were on our way to the airport,” Aranda says.

The holidays for the Aranda family have always been offbeat, usually celebrated a week in advance or a week after the actual holiday because the parents have to work most holidays.

“We’re kind of used to the holidays not being ideal,” she says.

However this is the first time that they didn’t get to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Aranda, who is pregnant, also says her parents’ deployment meant they missed her first ultrasound and will likely miss the gender reveal party, as they aren’t expected to be able to return home until after January.

With both parents deployed, Aranda has taken on the responsibility of taking care of her 13- and 15-year-old sisters. Despite their family being somewhat used to their parents’ work schedule, Aranda says they have had to make some adjustments to stay connected with their parents in their absence.

Michelle Aranda. Photo by Pablo Morales, Borderzine.com

“Taking care of, I guess, regular things around the house when it comes to mail, getting the bills and sorting them and sending them pictures of the mail because there’s no way for them to basically see what they’re getting here. Making time to FaceTime with them because their work schedules don’t exactly correlate with our school schedules for the girls or work schedules for us, so that’s pretty much the biggest adjustment,” she says.

When they had first been deployed to Nogales, Aranda’s parents reported feeling restless as not much was happening at that port of entry. Now that her parents are at the San Diego port of entry, Aranda says her own concerns for their well-being have increased.

“I’m afraid that being away from the family too long is going to affect them negatively, and I’m afraid that since they’re going to San Diego, which is one of the busier ports right now and it’s one of the main ports that the caravan is passing through that they’re going to be injured or that something’s going to happen.”

Despite their parents’ efforts to stay in contact through text messages, Aranda and her sisters only get to FaceTime and actually see their parents about once a week. She says she can see the long separation is having an impact on her sisters.

“They try to text us throughout the day. They’ll sometimes even send us some pictures of where they’re working at, what post they’re at while they’re at work. But now that they’re gone and they haven’t seen them in a really long time like, you can tell they miss them. ”

Aranda plans to drive her sisters out to San Diego for Christmas so the family might have some holiday time together.

The post There’s no home for the holidays for deployed border agent family appeared first on Borderzine.

Categories: Local Blogs

A question about the Brio bus stops

ElPasoSpeak - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 7:48am

Some of the readers have been pointing out the cement work done in front of the Brio bus stops.

The Brio buses stop at every red stop light.

Will they damage the roads at the stop lights?  A Brio bus will stop at more stop lights during its circuit than it will at bus stops.

If they won’t then I wonder why the bus stops need special attention.

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

RumpToons No: 112

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 11:00pm
I hope you enjoy RumpToons No: 112
Categories: Local Blogs

Judges Check Trump?s Immigration Cruelty

US Immigration Reform Forum - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 6:04pm
Judges Check Trump?s Immigration Cruelty

The courts make clear that his policies go beyond the law.
Source: Judges Check Trump?s Immigration Cruelty

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Categories: Local Blogs

Open forum Saturday

ElPasoSpeak - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 5:00am

What would you like to discuss today?

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Judge Sullivan Takes Control of Asylum Law

US Immigration Reform Forum - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 12:08am
Judge Sullivan Takes Control of Asylum Law

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This decision, which was a result that Congress never intended when it explicitly limited the j...

Categories: Local Blogs

The Government Is Definitely Going to Shut Down Tonight. Maybe.

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 6:04pm
The Government Is Definitely Going to Shut Down Tonight. Maybe.

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Categories: Local Blogs

GoFundMe Page Trolls Border Wall With 'Ladders' Campaign, Raises $80,000 for Immigration Nonprofit

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 6:04pm
GoFundMe Page Trolls Border Wall With 'Ladders' Campaign, Raises $80,000 for Immigration Nonprofit

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Categories: Local Blogs

A Law and Order Candidate Is Indicted for Committing a Crime

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:02pm
A Law and Order Candidate Is Indicted for Committing a Crime

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When Michael Williams unveiled his "Deportation Bus" last May, he was trying to show Georgia voters how devoted he is to law and ord...

Categories: Local Blogs

Even Opponents of Trump's Wall Should Root for a Government Shutdown Today

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:02pm
Even Opponents of Trump's Wall Should Root for a Government Shutdown Today

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Categories: Local Blogs

A GoFundMe Has Raised More Than $1 Million for Trump's Border Wall

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:02pm
A GoFundMe Has Raised More Than $1 Million for Trump's Border Wall

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Categories: Local Blogs

The Mexican Border as Refugee Camp

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:02pm
The Mexican Border as Refugee Camp

The Trump administration plans to send asylum seekers back to Mexico. What will happen to them there?
Source: [url=https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/opinion/the-mexican-border-as-refugee-camp.html...
Categories: Local Blogs

None of Us Deserve Citizenship

US Immigration Reform Forum - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 12:02pm
None of Us Deserve Citizenship

On what moral grounds can we deny others rights, privileges and opportunities that we did not earn ourselves?
Source: [url=https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/opinion/sunday/immigration-border-policy-ci...
Categories: Local Blogs

Brio bus stops

ElPasoSpeak - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 6:22am

People have contacted me and asked why the Brio bus stops have to be special.

Actually they don’t.

The one at Mesa and Argonaut is a regular bus stop with a Brio sign.

https://www.google.com/maps/@31.8090047,-106.5106369,3a,73.6y,98.18h,63.54t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sdwjsKbepUEk9tKeljsoQ-w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

We deserve better

Brutus

Categories: Local Blogs

Immigration News Lost in Wall Rhetoric

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 11:00pm
There are some immigration news items that are important to the overall debate about immigration in America but […]
Categories: Local Blogs
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by Dr. Radut