100 Immigrant Women Are Marching 100 Miles to Greet the Pope in D.C

They want him to help change “policies of cruelty” towards undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Image via We Belong Together's Facebook page.

Two days ago, 100 immigrant women departed a detention center in York County, Pennsylvania and began walking in the direction of the White House. The 100-mile journey will end on Tuesday in D.C., where they will greet Pope Francis on his first-ever visit to Congress, and hold a closing vigil for migrant women. The campaign, called #100Women100Miles and organized by a non-profit organization called We Belong Together, is part of an effort to raise the call for better immigration policies.

The debate on immigration reform has become a vitriolic one as election season ramps up. This week, Republican candidates took the stage and showcased some of the more offensive aspects of their campaign platforms. At one point, professional troll Donald Trump told the audience, “This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.”

In response to the Republican presidential debate, the 100 women wrote and signed an open letter addressing the candidates. “This is precisely the type of rhetoric that seeds and promotes hate violence, and emboldens the most hateful among us,” they said, critisizing the candidates’ discussion. “This is type of hatred that often results in the tragic loss of human life. And, it creates the context for hate-based policies with profound humanitarian implications.”

The women, who are composed of activists and volunteers from all over the country, have travelled ten miles a day for the past couple of days, marching along the East Coast. Many immigration reform activists hope the pope, who will be the first-ever to make a congressional visit in the U.S., will advocate for a U.S. immigration policy that is more symathetic to those coming across the border.

Last summer, for World Day of Refugees and Migrants, the Pope released a statement urging for compassion for refugees and migrants, as more and more people around the world are being forced to leave their home countries as a result of war or economic devestation. “The reality of migration, given its new dimensions in our age of globalization, needs to be approached and managed in a new, equitable and effective manner,” he wrote. “More than anything, this calls for international cooperation and a spirit of profound solidarity and compassion.”

The organizers of #100Women100Miles are optimistic that the Pope will practice the same kind of empathy towards undocumented immigrants here in the U.S. In a speech she delivered in York County at the detention center on Tuesday, We Belong Together co-chair Andrea Christina Mercado said the march was organized with the intent to change “policies of cruelty”.

"With Pope Francis' visit to the United States, our faith and our act of love can create the world that we want for our children," she said, as she launched the march. “We each carry personal reasons for why we are embarking on this journey. I believe in the power of our intentions.”

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

The future generations will have to live on this Earth for years to come, and, not surprisingly, they're very concerned about the fate of our planet. We've seen a rise in youth activists, such as Greta Thunberg, who are raising awareness for climate change. A recent survey indicates that those efforts are working, as more and more Americans (especially young Americans) feel concerned about climate change.

A new CBS News poll found that 70% of Americans between 18 and 29 feel climate change is a crisis or a serious problem, while 58% of Americans over the age of 65 share those beliefs. Additionally, younger generations are more likely to feel like it's their personal responsibility to address climate change, as well as think that transitioning to 100% renewable energy is viable. Overall, 25% of Americans feel that climate change is a "crisis," and 35% feel it is a "serious problem." 10% of Americans said they think climate change is a minor problem, and 16% of Americans feel it is not a problem that worries them.

The poll found that concern for the environment isn't a partisan issue – or at least when it comes to younger generations. Two-thirds of Republicans under the age of 45 feel that addressing climate change is their duty, sentiments shared by only 38% of Republicans over the age of 45.

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The Planet

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

via Found Animals Foundation / Flickr

Service dogs are true blessings that provide a wide array of services for their owners based on their disability.

They can provide preventative alerts for people with epilepsy and dysautonomia. They can do small household tasks like turning lights on and off or providing stability for their owners while standing or walking.

For those with PTSD they can provide emotional support to help them in triggering situations.

However, there are many people out there who fraudulently claim their pets are service or emotional support animals. These trained animals can cause disturbances in businesses or on public transportation.

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