Final Essay

Hi Denise,

Well-done!  Nicely written and thoroughly researched. Good work on what must have been a disheartening topic, but one that needs to be addressed. Best of luck to you in all you may do. Prof Christos


Denise Gonzalez-Abreu
Team 12

Thesis: Social Media and live news platforms make it easier for whistleblowers to create awareness about immigration detention centers across the country and their failure to provide proper care for detainees.


In July 2016, “the ICE average daily population exceeded 37,000 people for the first time, with 37,350 people detained.” (Chan 2017) However, with the country’s introduction to the Trump administration, the numbers only increased. “In November 2017, ICE reported that its total average daily population for FY 2018 was 39,322 people.” (Cullen 2018)

On May 7, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced The Department of Justice’s “zero tolerance” policy for illegal entry on the Southwest border. Sessions stated that immigrants who illegally cross the border with their children will be prosecuted, and the child will be separated from the parent as required by law. (Sessions 2018) According to the Department of Homeland Security, “between May 5 and June 9, there had been 2,342 children separated from their parents.” (Fichera 2018)

The uproar began. Reporters, investigators, and citizens took to news sites and social media platforms to report on the immigration detention centers. Within days, articles flooded the internet reporting the neglect on detainees and their health. Medical Doctor, Altaf Saadi, who attended two tours of immigration detention centers, took to YouTube and blog sites to report her findings. Saadi met a detainee who suffered from Chronic Hypertension. “Although the detainee had notified the corrections staff that she suffered from chronic hypertension, it took four days for her to be given her blood pressure medication.” (Saadi 2018) Saadi’s findings weren’t the first news of malpractice coming from detention centers. For years detention centers have been held under the scrutiny of neglect and have failed to adhere by human right laws. In 2017 the American Medical Association “voted in favor of adopting new policies aimed at improving and protecting the health of immigrants and refugees who have come to the United States.” (American Medical Association 2018) Exactly one year before The Department of Justice’s decision to separate families at the border, president of the American Medical Association, M.D. Andrew W. Gurman spoke out on the health risks involved with the separation. “The separation of children from their parents who are detained while seeking safe haven causes unnecessary distress, depression, and anxiety,” (American Medical Association 2018)

The public was outraged. After countless research dedicated to exposing the mental health risks of separating families, the government did not waver in their decision. News sites took it upon themselves to report first-hand accounts made by inspectors who inspected the detention centers. Their hope was to expose the truth and create enough awareness for change to occur. The New York Times reported on a California detention center stating that “federal inspectors found that 15 out of 20 cells they inspected had what they described as nooses made of braided bedsheets hanging from vents.” (Jordan 2018)

Shortly following the reporters, the public took to social media platforms to expand on the rising awareness of border family separation. Images of crying children began to flood the internet with the hashtag #keepfamiliestogether. Instagram blogs, such as Now This News, posted videos on the lasting effects of family separation. (NotThisNews 2018)

Tweets from organizations and citizens swarmed the Twitter platform with expressive opinions on the topic. The hashtag #keepfamiliestogether became so widespread that an entire organization was born. Organization, Keep Families Together utilized pathos rhetoric to highlight personal stories of immigrant families on the Twitter platform in hopes of informing the public of the tragic event.

It worked. According to google trends, in comparison to the past five years, the topic of border family separation reached its maximum popularity in June of 2018. (Google Trends) The feedback on social media resulted in an outbreak of rallies and protests across the country.

However, the benefit of creating such awareness on social media comes at a price. In the midst of all the chatter, a single photo managed to obtain viral attention. The photo, posted on Twitter by Jose Antonio Vargas, depicted a toddler crying in a cage. Vargas captioned the photo stating, “this is what happens when a government believes people are illegal. Kids in cages.” Within minutes, the photo became one of the most popular photos in the Keep Families Together movement. However, what the public assumed was “a child confined by immigration authorities to a cage,” was actually a photo “snapped during a protest staged in front of Dallas City Hall.” (Lacapria 2018) The child was placed in a mock cage to “call attention to the Trump administration’s practice of separating families and confining undocumented children.” (Lacapria 2018) Though taken out of context, the photo certainly played its part in the echo chamber of activists.  

The internet became a platform for the loud, the outspoken, and the unstoppable. So much so that it only took 44 days for President Donal Trump to take action. “Facing the national outcry, Trump signed an executive order designed to keep migrant families together at the U.S.-Mexico border. The order, drafted by Nielsen, directed Homeland Security to keep families together after they are detained crossing the border illegally.” (Hegarty 2018)

Platforms like social media provoke the need for exposure, and it’s quite clear how well the public responds to such provocation. However, online activism comes with its consequences. As consumers, we can often get caught in the echo chamber and blind ourselves to the possibility of false proclamations. While utilizing the internet as a tool to promote truth and change, we must remember to filter the feed regardless of how convincing it may sound. The digital age may come at a cost, but the powerful voice it gives to the public is certainly worth it.



“AMA Adopts New Policies to Improve Health of Immigrants and Refugees.” Selecting & Using a Health Information Exchange | AMA, 12 June 2017.

“Border Family Separation .” Google Trends, Google, 5-y&geo=US&q=border family separation,immigration children separation.

Chan, Jennifer. “Immigration Detention Bed Quota Timeline.” National Immigrant Justice Center, 13 Jan. 2017.

Cullen, Tara T. “ICE Released Its Most Comprehensive Immigration Detention Data Yet. It’s Alarming.” National Immigrant Justice Center, 13 Mar. 2018.

Fichera, Angelo. “Q&A On Border Detention of Children.”, The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, 10 Aug. 2018.

Hegarty, Aaron. “Timeline: Immigrant Children Separated from Families at the Border.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 25 July 2018.

Jordan, Miriam. “Inspectors Find Nooses in Cells at Immigration Detention Facility.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Oct. 2018.

LaCapria, Kim. “FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show a Toddler in a Cage Detained by ICE in 2018?”, 12 June 2018.

News, Guardian. “US Immigration Protests as Hundreds of Children Held in Texas Facility.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 June 2018.

“NowThis on Instagram: ‘A Video Released by the ACLU Shows the Lasting Effects of Family Separation.”.” Instagram, 28 Aug. 2018.

Saadi, Altaf. “Detention Facilities Display Dangerous Trend of Delayed and Inadequate Care.” Physicians for Human Rights, 20 June 2018.

Sessions, Jeff. “Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks Discussing the Immigration Enforcement Actions of the Trump Administration.” The United States Department of Justice, 7 May 2018.


Annotated Bibliography

Denise Gonzalez-Abreu
Group 12

Thesis Statement:
The “Zero Tolerance” policy authorized by the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice in June of 2018 has forced more than 2,300 children to be separated from their families and placed in detention centers. On June 20, President Trump signed an executive order that will put an end to the separation of families at the border. Due to the psychological trauma, malnutrition, and lack of proper healthcare provided by the ICE detention facilities, more action needs to be taken to ensure that the 2,300 children are reunited with their parents and deported back to their countries together.


Annotated Bibliography

1. Stana, Richard M. Problems with Immigration Detainee Medical Care: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Tenth Congress, Second Session, June 4, 2008. U.S. Govt. Accountability Office, 2008.FIU Library Catalog,

The book investigates whether the medical care standard employed by ICE creates an environment that supports the safe and humane treatment of individuals in ICE custody. The reports found the medical care standards employed by ICE to be poor, compromising the health of the individuals in custody.


2. Dreby, Joanna. “U.S. Immigration Policy and Family Separation: The Consequences for Children’s Well-Being.” Social Science & Medicine, vol. 132, 2014, pp. 245–251., doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.041.

The scholarly article examines the well-being of children of immigrants who have experience involuntary separation from their families. Joanna Dreby discloses the specific negative consequences that result from such separations. She discusses the result of economic hardship, emotional trauma, and academic struggles endured by the children who have been separated from their families.


3. Katz, Eric. “Surprise Inspection of ICE Facility Reveals Nooses in Cells, Improper Discipline .” Government Executive, 2 Oct. 2018.

In the article, Eric Katz discloses the chilling details found during an inspection of an ICE detention facility. The accounts were given by an inspector general from the Homeland Security Department. The article expresses the chaos and disorder brought on by the zero-tolerance policy.


4. Castaneda, Ruben. “Keeping Migrant Kids in Detention Centers and Shelters Can Damage Them.” US News, 10 July 2018,|A546207347&v=2.1&it=r&sid=ebsco.

This article uses the credibility of psychologists and medical physicians to prove the psychological damage that the immigration detention is giving the children detainees. Furthermore, the article investigates the long-term mental health risks that the children are predisposed to by these centers. Many of the records of the separated families were initially misplaced, making it hard to unite the children to their families.


5. “Border and Migration Studies Online.” Alexander Street, Alexander Street, L.L.C, 2000,

“Provides historical context and resources border studies and migration studies, as well as history, law, politics, diplomacy, area and global studies, anthropology, medicine, the arts, and more. In collaboration with an international board of scholars, materials were selected and organized around themes such as border identities, border enforcement, and control, human trafficking, undocumented and unauthorized migration, among others.”


6. Jordan, Miriam. “A Migrant Boy Rejoins His Mother, but He’s Not the Same.” New York Times, 31 July 2018,

The New York Times article discloses the account of parents reunited with young children and reporting mental health issues presented in their children. The article targets the specific case of Ana Carolina Fernandes. It also provides research behind family separation.






Fake News: Team Assignment

Hi Team 12,

Good job, well-written, but please add some images and you will get more points.  Read the assignment !

Fake News
Team 12
Text in purple was written by Adriana Cano
Text in blue was written by Denise Gonzalez-Abreu
Text in green was written by Saige Mills
Text in orange was written by Gilberto Mendoza



An End to all Business with Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has been forced by Congress to officially declare the end to all business with Saudi Arabia as a response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

During his visit to Riyadh in May 2017, Trump allegedly signed upwards of $450 billion worth of investments regarding arms deals and other commitments. However, a recent vote from the Senate led to an official seize on all US investments with Saudi Arabia.

In early October, the announcement of Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance caused much speculation from the Saudi Arabian government and the United States government. Later, it had been announced by Saudi officials that Khashoggi had left the consulate unharmed. However, evidence revealed Khashoggi had been killed in a dispute that took place within the consulate. After weeks of denying the evidence, Saudi Arabia finally admitted to the knowledge of Khashoggi’s death.

It had been further disclosed that multiple Saudi Agents were involved in the interrogation, torture, and killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi officials still refuse to align themselves with the facts and evidence already revealed.  

In a briefing that took place on October 25, Congress publicly announced their suspicions of the Saudi Arabian government. Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker announced that previous evidence has led Congress to suspect the Saudi Arabian government of plotting Khashoggi’s death as a warning for American Media. Khashoggi who was a Washington Post columnist and an American citizen, often publicly criticized the Saudi Arabian government.

In the midst of this outcry, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the Saudi Arabian government allow a team of Turkish officials investigate the Saudi Arabian embassy and its surroundings for possible evidence of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

The horrific death of Khashoggi and the lack of transparency from the Saudi Arabian government provoked Congress to decide it was time to end any and all business with the Arab nation. A vote took place within Congress on November 2, 2018. The majority voted to ban all business between the United States government and the Saudi Arabian government. Congress also discussed the threat of the alliance between the two countries.

On October 28, Trump tweeted, “Killing Khashoggi was an insult to me and my loyalty to your country. You will pay the consequences, Saudi Arabia!”

The investment deals originally signed by Trump back in May of 2017 were set to promise security of the U.S. oil stock for decades to come.

Now, considering both the political climate and the original petroleum deal between the Arab nation and America, some advances need to be made towards securing our fuel sources.

Trump is already said to be in talks with Governor Rick Scott about potentially incorporating Florida’s abundant natural gas source to power the U.S. into the future.

Recent claims denying global warming from Governor Scott’s office show that both him and Trump are on the same page with the issue of global warming and will most likely come to the fairest and environmentally friendly agreement.


Reflective Paragraph

Writing a fake news story requires an interesting topic that will hook people into reading the story and believing the content is actually real. We chose Donald Trump as our topic because most news about can be considered fake by readers since his behavior is often unlike that of a President. The hook was the murder of an American reporter Jamal Khashoggi, which is a fact and helps create credibility. By establishing this credibility with the reader we are using ethos, playing on their knowledge of the ethics tied to President Trump’s character. In the fake news, there are many small details that are actually true, which creates factual elements in the story to make it seem fully legitimate.

Although many people look at Donald Trump as a role model for changes he is making for the country right now, at the same time he is doing things that many people doubt. It seems he is trying to lead the country in the same way that he leads one of his companies, that ideology is actually causing unrest around the world. In this current global political climate, it is too easy to produce a piece of fake news content surrounding Trump.



My blackout experience was one of comfort and relaxation. For me, to unplug is to plug-in, how would one hear the world when the voices of the media are so loud?
48 hours with no phone or media exposure sounds like a treacherous thing for many of my generation and younger, however it wasn’t for me. As the Deresiewicz article noted, we have become hugely accustomed to everlasting company, in the form of the internet and social media. I have friends to engage with in-person and though one day of the black out I did, another day I did not and instead chose solitude. I did no faux social activities but I did go to the beach for some Vitamin D and basic meditation. Time I might have spent behind my laptop editing or scrolling the web, I spent washing my car and removing the weeds from my compost garden. I connected with myself in hopes of turning that outward dependence inward to my own truths. Contrary to beliefs, we connect when we disconnect. 

     Considering my dependence on social media and technology, I take any opportunity I have to unplug from the world. If my phone is not off its on do not disturb, out of sight and out of mind. But I will not deny the effects of this technological culture on my values, insecurities and decision making today. Though I talk of solitude and disconnecting with ease, I struggle with elements tied to today’s celebrity culture. Through constant exposure and a culture of transparency we’ve created a need for validation, a reminder or a ‘repost’ so we may feel that what we are doing is right.
I have always been an individual- from reading Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo in high school to starting a transcendentalism club, I’ve always valued this idea of individuality. I did this because I love nature and solitude, the story of Walden pond was an enchanting tale of individual and nature in sync. That dreamy tale is a nightmare for youth today; who wants to disconnect to enjoy nature or alone time to ponder one’s thoughts and life aspirations? During my blackout that is exactly what I did. I’m curious to know Saige better so he is who I spend time with, exploring.

     I am not the only one like me, I welcome companionship as I do hope to find like-minded individuals. The media brainwashes people to take on a certain perspective of each other. In the individual, is formed a good or bad complex, one must be either good or bad. That thought process must be revoked for us to grow societally. We are all humans, it is when we turn to our left and right or in this era, turn to our social media for answers and validation that we lose sight of ubiquitous values; values learned and accepted during alone time. This blackout gave me hope, in myself and in others. To take a break is to recenter and remember what is real. The news does not intrude solitude but exists to inform us, if we chose to expose ourselves excessively it is our will we must strengthen. Balance is the key to any healthy dynamic, with fire in our hearts and faith in our minds the world will evolve to one day balance.       


48 hour news blackout

Adriana Cano

Team 12

48 Hour News Blackout

Hi Adriana, overall well-done! Proof read your essays.

The absence of news truly affected my daily routine and helped me filter the actual important news versus the millennial version of news. It is impressive the way we get used to getting instant information, let it be news, general questions, the weather, or just the results on a basketball game. Not being able to receive this instant information became frustrating at times, as well as intriguing. But that was when I remembered, my parents did not have the luxury I have as a millennial to have information at the palm of my hand. I would put myself in their position and just think, maybe everything we surround ourselves by is truly not as important to be considered as “news?.” good point! Today, we believe that Kylie Jenner’s new lipstick is considered news, but is a new lipstick really that important that needs our immediate attention? Or the importance we give to the fight between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. These two completely different scenarios were shown as “news” by many different channels. This is one of the things that made me realize that we waste so much time in worrying and paying attention to things that should not be considered as news. When I has was in the middle of the assignment I noticed that my life would not be affected at all if I did not know anything about the Kardashians for the rest of my life. But it actually would be affected if I did not have any news from Venezuela, since my family lives there. One of the mayor major factors that made this assignment hard was the use of my cellphone. We communicate with so many people on the daily and have so many different apps that made it into a challenge.  In general, cellphones spit out information on the daily, and depending on the Apps that are on it, we can receive news alerts, weather alerts, or just store sales. But this is when the blackout became interesting: my cellphone is filled with a variety of apps that let me know all these things and I had to mute them all to be able to complete the assignment. It is true that I felt weird at first, because I was so used to knowing if it was going to rain or if there were any news of Venezuela. And I became to realize that this frustration of not knowing is all due to the facility our cellphones give us to be able to look up anything we want. But truth is, sometimes there are things that are out of reach, and some information has not yet be given. This assignment has made me value the information I used to consider as “news” as something without importance and actual news as vital for my daily routine.

Draft thesis statement

Adriana Cano

Team 12

Final paper Draft thesis statement

On July 10, 2018 Thailand News outlets around the world exploded with news that told the story of a Thai boys’ soccer team and their coach that who had been trapped in a cave for 13 days.  and were found alive. The horrific news spread as the children’s mothers reported their kids missing, but Fortunately, luckily their they were found alive by one of the teams of  divers, who had been exploring searching the flooded caves looking for the boys. The rescue took several days, but the rescuers made it on found them in time, making  and creating a this a  worldwide viral news story.  worldwide.


Group 12 – FIU Database Presentation

Very colorful and well-done! ‘newsgathering’ should be ‘news gathering,’ among is fine, not amongst.

non-commercially, needs a hyphen, see other corrections below.



Question 1: What are the differences between the two databases? Answered by Denise Gonzalez-Abreu & Saige Mills

Denise Gonzalez-Abreu wrote the following
The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering.
The AP archive is a traditional YouTube channel that hosts a variety of informative news videos. The videos include historical content and more modern media ranging from 1895 to today.
Videos are found categorized under the playlist tab on the channel’s YouTube site.
Examples of the playlist categories are listed below:

US Politics
Today in History
Iconic Moments in History
Celebrity Stories
Accident and Natural Disasters

AP Images host content similar to that found on the YouTube channel. The difference is that
while AP archive hosts video content, AP images hosts a wide wider (you are making a comparison) range of digital photo content.

Saige Mills wrote the following
A wandering researcher might find himself adventurous amongst the variety of search options and tabs that suggest media. The basic search can handle the use of very specific topics to narrow down the search. This archive has a wealth of quality photo content from history and today (too vague – specific years would be advised) . Some of which can be purchased or is royalty free and therefore available to be used non commercially.

Question 2: How are they useful in researching the final essay? Answered by Adriana Cano

Adriana Cano wrote the following
Both of these databases can be used effectively when doing an essay writing a paper that requires plentiful in depth research. In the AP Images database, you one can look up historical or contemporary photo content in one the oldest trusted media collections. And in AP Archive, you can look up any historically significant event and retrieve some relevant video content. The Associated Press, being one of the most trusted sources of independent news gathering, (insert comma here) is makes it hugely vital to any good performing any thorough research today.


Presented in class by: Adriana Cano, Saige Mills, Gilberto Mendoza