Immigrant families are worried about Election Day, and they're making plans for after.

Somewhere in a folder in a drawer at an Citizenship and Immigration Services in Connecticut is a record of Luzia Manha’s fingerprints.  

It’s been four months since she had them taken. And she’s starting to worry.

Luzia Manha works on a client's hair. Photo by Luzia Manha/Facebook.

Manha, a hairdresser from Norwalk, Connecticut, has been a legal permanent resident of the United States for almost 20 years, after emigrating from Brazil in the mid-1990s. Her husband passed away in 2014, shortly after the couple finalized the adoption of their two young children. She initially applied for citizenship as a means to add a layer of security for her family.

Every time she hears Donald Trump speak, she thinks her application can’t process fast enough.

"You feel the need to become a citizen to make sure you don’t have a problem just in case he gets elected," Manha said.

By Trump's own definition, Manha came to the United States the "right way." She began filing paperwork before leaving Brazil. When she first arrived on a tourist visa, she was legally unable to work — so she didn’t. Since then, she has built a successful career. Still, she fears that her status could be changed, downgraded, or even revoked under a Trump administration — a common worry among members of her Brazilian expatriate community in Connecticut.

Her children are frightened too — which their mother's green card is no shield against. Manha recalled an incident where a classmate told her daughter that if Trump becomes president, "people that were not born here, and people that are her color, are going to be in trouble."

"She just lost her father, and now she’s worried that her mother’s going to be sent home? And then what’s going to happen to her?" Manha said.

The Trump campaign often frames the decision to emigrate to the U.S. — one made by over a million people around the world annually — as a series of black-and-white labels or choices. There are “Americans” or “illegal immigrants.” Immigrants who came the “right way” or the “wrong way.”

A Honduran immigrant holds a fellow immigrant's child in Mexico. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

For many families, it’s both/and, not either/or.

Tony Meneses, a playwright and college professor in New York City, moved to the United States from Guadalajara, Mexico, when he was a baby. His parents were able to secure citizenship for him and themselves when he was 9. His brother and sister, who were already adults at the time the family’s application was processed, remain undocumented.

"She’s very hopeful it won’t happen. She’s very confident she’ll be OK. I mean, she’s a parent, so at the end of the day, she’s always trying to transmit that comfort and safety to me."
— Penelope Durand

Both have worked for many years in white-collar jobs. Both are married to U.S. citizens. Meneses' brother even supported Trump for a time — until his siblings and parents persuaded him to change course.

"They’re so in the culture of this place that if something were to threaten that, that if they were taken out of here, I think it would really kind of destroy their lives," Meneses said.

Penelope Durand, a college student in Baltimore, said she plans to take her mother back to Peru in the event of a Trump victory.

Despite being born and raised in New Jersey, Durand views Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric as a "direct attack on [her] family." Her father is a U.S. citizen, and her mother is undocumented. The couple never married, and her mother’s attempts to secure permanent resident status through official channels have, so far, ended in frustration.

Durand worries that laws like Arizona’s “show your papers,” law, which allows law enforcement officials to check detainees’ immigration status during routine stops, could become the norm under a Trump presidency.

Karl Orozco/Upworthy.

"She’s very hopeful it won’t happen," Durand said. "She’s very confident she’ll be OK. I mean, she’s a parent, so at the end of the day, she’s always trying to transmit that comfort and safety to me."

Regardless of her mother’s assurances and the protection of her own citizenship, leaving her mother alone in New Jersey to contend with potentially hostile authorities is not a risk Durand says she’s eager to take.

Of the millions of immigrants living in the United States, over 13 million are legal permanent residents. More than 11 million are undocumented. Millions more fall in between those categories.

Each individual exists as the nexus of a network of colleagues, family, and friends who love them, house them, cheer for them — and, increasingly, worry for them.

That anxiety is nothing new for Meneses, who has long been troubled by the possibility that his siblings could be deported — even before the current campaign season.

"It’s sort of a weird fear that I don’t think people really know," he said. "It’s like, to constantly be afraid of something that could really just destroy everything that you worked for," he said.

Meanwhile, Manha continues to study American history for her citizenship test. Incidents like the one her daughter experienced at school and Trump's resilient popularity with a subset of voters remind her of the darker episodes from that sometimes-messy story.

Luzia Manha with daughter Clara, husband Ulysses, and son William. Photo by Luzia Manha/Facebook.

"I felt like I was living in the past," Manha said. The kind of future and security her family will have, she worries, is up for grabs in the 2016 election.

On Nov. 8, she, Durand, Meneses, their families, and millions more like them will see what voters want it to be.


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!


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

Most Shared
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.


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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