Pregnant migrants want their children ‘to be American’

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Salvadoran pregnant woman Delmer Roxana Martinez, who is heading in a caravan to the US, is pictured in Escuitla, Chiapas State, Mexico, on October, 24, 2018. (AFP)
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Honduran migrants taking part in a caravan heading to the US, resume their march from San Pedro Tapanatepec to Santiago Niltepec, Oaxaca State, Mexico, on October 29, 2018. (AFP)
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A Honduran migrant woman taking part in a caravan heading to the US, is having and ultrasound done to check his pregnancy, during a stop in their journey at the Central Park in Huixtla, Chiapas state, Mexico, on October 23, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2018
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Pregnant migrants want their children ‘to be American’

  • “It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” said Trump of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment that grants US citizenship to those born on US soil

TAPANATEPEC, México: Two months ago, Marisol Hernandez’s husband was gunned down by gangsters for refusing to work for them. For the pregnant 23-year-old, that was the last straw.
She left her two children with her grandmother and decided to set off among thousands of other Honduran migrants in a bid to reach the United States. In her case, because she wants her next child to “be American.”
She is far from alone. Dozens of pregnant women are among the migrants, now in Mexico, fleeing poverty and violence in their homeland in search of the American dream.
But the hope that her unborn child will be American and “graduate in something, study, speak English, know about computers and things like that,” is being threatened by President Donald Trump’s apparent determination to abolish birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants and non-citizens.
“It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” said Trump of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment that grants US citizenship to those born on US soil.
For now, Hernandez is hoping that in six months’ time, her newborn baby will become a citizen of the United States.
Her story is a harrowing, but typical of those among the estimated 7,000-strong caravan heading through Mexico toward California.
She used to work in a clothing shop but two months ago “mareros,” gang members, killed her husband with “a bullet between the eyes” on his doorstep as he returned from work.
“He refused to work as an extortionist,” said Hernandez. The next day, she started receiving threats.
She left her two children behind “because I can barely feed them” and set off in search of a better future.

For the last two weeks, she’s been sleeping in the street without a roof over her head and walking for 10 hours a day, when not hitch-hiking on trucks giving rides to migrants.
The road is long and Hernandez is beset by doubts.
“At times I want to go back because I feel like neither I nor the child will manage” the rest of the journey, she said in a moment of rest from lugging her heavy suitcase.
The route became longer last Friday when the majority of undocumented migrants voted in favor of diverting from the Pacific highway running up to California and headed inland to Mexico City to ask for legal documents that would allow them to travel freely around the country.
Hernandez is gradually regaining her strength to continue the slog so that her child can grow up far away from “the parasites” in her home country who use threats to recruit children into their gangs.
She has no intention of taking up Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s offer to stay in the country because it’s on condition of claiming asylum and living in the largely impoverished and indigenous-populated states of Oaxaca and Chiapas.
“It would be the same as living in Honduras,” complained Hernandez.
She says she’s heard medical volunteers accompanying the caravan claim there are 42 pregnant women in the group.

“We’ve seen a lot of pregnant women but they don’t come to us. It seems like they don’t trust us,” said Julio Mendoza, a medic in the town of Huixtla.
Julia Martinez, a nurse who’s been handing out vitamins to women, says she’s seen some that up to “30 weeks pregnant.”
It’s not just Hondurans on the long march to the US.
Salvadoran Delmer Roxana Martinez, 29, is three months pregnant and traveling with her three-year-old son, husband and cousin but she left behind a nine-year-old daughter in San Salvador.
“God knows that it’s not out of ambition (but) it would be beneficial to the family” if her child were born in the US, she says.
Stephanie Guadalupe Sanchez is only 15 but seven months pregnant and walks with difficulty.
“I want a good job and future for my child. It would have a better life if we live there in the United States,” she said, before heading off to her bed for the night, in a small space in the central square in the town of Pijijiapan.


UK Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

Updated 13 November 2018
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UK Cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

LONDON: Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.
After a year and a half of stalled talks, false starts and setbacks, negotiators agreed on proposals to resolve the main outstanding issue: the Irish border.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said the Cabinet would hold a special meeting Wednesday to consider the proposal. Its support isn’t guaranteed: May is under pressure from pro-Brexit ministers not to make further concessions to the EU.
Ambassadors from the 27 other EU countries are also due to hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
May told the Cabinet earlier Tuesday that “a small number” of issues remain to be resolved in divorce negotiations with the European Union, while her deputy, David Lidington, said the two sides are “almost within touching distance” of a Brexit deal.
Britain wants to seal a deal this fall, so that Parliament has time to vote on it before the UK leaves the bloc on March 29. The European Parliament also has to approve any agreement.
Negotiators have been meeting late into the night in Brussels in a bid to close the remaining gaps.
The main obstacle has long been how to ensure there are no customs posts or other checks along the border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland after Brexit.
Irish national broadcaster RTE said the draft agreement involves a common customs arrangement for the UK and the EU, to eliminate the need for border checks.
But May faces pressure from pro-Brexit Cabinet members not to agree to an arrangement that binds Britain to EU trade rules indefinitely.
May also faces growing opposition from pro-EU lawmakers, who say her proposed Brexit deal is worse than the status quo and the British public should get a new vote on whether to leave or to stay.
If there is no agreement soon, UK businesses will have to start implementing contingency plans for a “no-deal” Brexit — steps that could include cutting jobs, stockpiling goods and relocating production and services outside Britain.
Even with such measures in place, the British government says leaving the EU without a deal could cause major economic disruption, with gridlock at ports and disruption to supplies of foods, goods and medicines.
On Tuesday, the European Commission published a sheaf of notices outlining changes in a host of areas in the event of a no-deal Brexit. They point to major disruption for people and businesses: UK truckers’ licenses won’t be valid in the EU, British airlines will no longer enjoy traffic rights, and even British mineral water will cease to be recognized as such by the EU.
The EU said Tuesday it was proposing visa-free travel for UK citizens on short trips, even if there is no deal — but only if Britain reciprocates.
“We need to prepare for all options,” EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said. On a deal, he said: “We are not there yet.”
Meanwhile, official figures suggest Brexit is already having an impact on the British workforce.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of EU citizens working in the country — 2.25 million— was down 132,000 in the three months to September from the year before. That’s the largest annual fall since comparable records began in 1997.
Most of the fall is due to fewer workers from eight eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004.
Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, said the prospect of Brexit “has clearly made the UK a much less attractive place for Europeans to live and work.”