An immigration lawyer's viral post reminds us that every statistic is a human story.

When we only hear immigration numbers, it's easy to forget that each statistic is a human life.

In the debates over people wanting to immigrate to the U.S., the people themselves sometimes get lost. That's partly due the dehumanizing rhetoric of anti-immigration forces, and partly due to the impersonal nature of statistics.

But immigration statistics are people. Some are people looking for better opportunities. Some are people desperately seeking safety. Some are people trying to be reunited with their family. As in any group of people, there are a undoubtedly a few bad apples, but the vast majority are honestly doing the best they can with the hand they've been dealt.


Among those numbers are asylum seekers—people who are literally running for their lives, who have knocked on America's door to ask for protection. These are people facing danger, terror, violence, or persecution in their homeland, and sometimes outside it as well.

Immigration lawyer Eric Pavri shared a harrowing story of an asylum-seeking family to show how asylum works—or doesn't.

Eric Pavri, an immigration lawyer and the Director of Family Immigration Services at Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, took to Facebook to share the story of a single mother from Honduras and her teenage daughter who had been impregnated by rapists.

"The daughter had gotten pregnant at age 13 when five members of the MS-13 took turns raping her," Pavri wrote."They came three nights in a row before the mother finally fled to her sister’s house in another town. There, the mother went to ask police to help. But the police, who are themselves on the payroll of the gang, reported their location to the local gang hierarchy, who cross-checked with the MS-13 cell in their hometown and verified that they had tried to escape. In broad daylight, unmasked men with guns broke down the sister’s doors, dragged them into a car, drove them to an auto repair shop, and raped all three."

I am an immigration lawyer (Colorado bar # 44591) at a nonprofit organization, and I wish to say something.Recently,...

Posted by Eric Pavri on Thursday, April 11, 2019

After four months, the mother managed to borrow enough money from a cousin in the U.S. to pay a smuggler to get her and her daughter through Guatemala to Mexico. Two months later, they presented themselves at a U.S. Port of Entry in Laredo, Texas, and told border agents that they were afraid to return to their home country. The daughter was seven months pregnant.

Pavri went on to describe how mother and daughter were detained and held in separate, freezing cold cells for four days, with no knowledge of where the other was. The pregnant teen shared a cell with 10 other women with only a concrete floor to sleep on, one toilet with no privacy curtain, and their drinking water coming out of a faucet on the back of the toilet.

The mother and daughter were eventually given papers to sign and released to await their asylum hearing. The daughter soon gave birth to a baby boy, who has a hole in one of the chambers of his heart.

The baby is now 4 months old, and despite everything the family has been through, Pavri has had to tell them that they likely won't be granted asylum.

These people are not illegal immigrants. They applied for asylum legally.

There is a lot of confusion out there when it comes to asylum. Some may ask why the family didn't apply for asylum at a U.S. embassy in their home country, but that's not how asylum works. In order to request asylum, you have to be on U.S. soil or at an official Port of Entry. This family went through the proper legal channel.

Some may ask why they didn't seek asylum in Guatemala or Mexico—why come to the U.S.? In a comment on his post, Pavri pointed out that the U.S. has an obligation to respond humanely to asylum requests at our border no matter where the asylum seekers come from. In addition, this mother and daughter has family in the U.S., and many asylum-seeking women have a credible fear of falling prey to sex trafficking cartels in Central America and Mexico.

But Pavri says this family will likely be denied asylum anyway. Their suffering is considered a "private harm," since their rapists weren't motivated by these women's race, religion, national origin, or political opinion.

"In the perverse world of asylum law," wrote Pavri, "what matters is not so much THAT you will be harmed, but WHO will harm you and WHY they will harm you. In a way, we are telling these two women that even here in the United States, the country that they believe will protect them, those men who hurt them are more important. Let me rephrase that. I had to tell them that, to their faces, today. I had to tell them in so many words that because their rapists didn’t rape them for the right reasons, they will likely be sent back to be hurt again."

Pavri explained that being strong and welcoming is what has always made America exceptional.

In a comment on the post, Pavri wrote, "I’ve never thought of the U.S. as being a do-the-minimum country. I was raised by my parents (who immigrated here from Asia and Europe in the 1960s) to believe that we are the greatest nation on earth. A grand experiment. A nation that was strong enough to defeat fascism and totalitarianism during the darkest times of the past century. That’s the great dream that both of my parents wanted to be part of."

"We have a responsibility to be strong, welcoming, and great because that is what makes the United States exceptional," he continued. "I for one am not willing to settle for the minimum when it comes to my country. I don’t want us to just be like any other country around the world. This is the United States. A place that I love, for all its flaws. A place that slowly, painfully, haltingly has kept moving toward living up to the ideals spelled out in our founding documents. The greatest nation on Earth, ever. The leader of the world, by example. I for one am not willing to give that up, to see my country throw in the towel and resign itself to mediocrity."

Pavri asked a pointed question: "Are we now so afraid and little that we don’t want to lead the world anymore? Really, the United States is no longer strong enough to protect this mother and daughter?"

"My dad raised me so that if I saw a kid being picked on on the other side of the playground, I’d go over and help that kid," Pavri concluded. "He didn’t raise me to say, 'Well, there are other people standing closer, so it’s not my responsibility.'"

We may not be able to help everyone, but we do need to remember that these numbers are human beings.

There is no doubt that immigration needs reform. There is no doubt that these issues are complex. But there is also no doubt that fearmongering and prejudice are hampering our humanity.

We don't need to treat people seeking asylum through legal channels like criminals. We don't need to waste resources cranking up the air conditioning and leaving the lights on full blast all night long in detention facilities, just to torture people who are asking for help. We don't need to take people's children away from them to deter others from asking for help. We don't need to make the humanitarian crisis at the border worse with cruel and inhumane policies.

We can treat people humanely while we figure out if and how we can help them. That's the bare minimum a great country should strive for, isn't it?

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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