The Charlotte Observer Headline for Saint Valentine’s Day, 2017 screams it. Federal officials have arrested more than 100 undocumented immigrants in the Carolinas. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts immediately responded:

I’m concerned by the recent actions by agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) that have brought fear and chaos to our families and our Charlotte community. These ICE activities impact not only immigrants and refugees, but also native born citizens who live, study, work, and worship with them.

The Queen City has benefitted from our immigrant community, and they contribute greatly to the commercial, cultural, spiritual and social fabric of our community.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) does not enforce federal immigration laws or profile community members based on their immigration status. Our CMPD officers will work with federal authorities and with our immigrant and refugee community to solve crimes and keep violent criminals out of our communities. … I believe that no one should be deported for merely having a broken tail light. I support ending the ban on refugees entering the US. Our country has been a haven for those fleeing violence and religious persecution for centuries, so religion should not be used as a reason to ban entry of individuals to our country.

I urge our city to continue to celebrate, support, protect, and defend our immigrant communities and their families. Immigrants and refugees are an integral part of our economy, our cultural and social life, and our future.

We’ve been here before

Local and state politicians have always known that the fear of immigrants strategy will gin up a lot of votes. What’s different of late is a president whose entire campaign rested on the foundation of fear of others. (That, by the way is the meaning of xenophobia).

President Trump wasted no time in claiming tweet-credit for the effort:

“The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise,” the president wrote. “Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”

So just who exactly are the “others”. Are they the “and I guess some of them are good people” of the original Trump Campaign announcement?

This sleight-of-word always begins with something like We want to remove the dangerous and violent drug dealers and rapists, and somehow ends up with and those guilty of other crimes or misdemeanors.

Then as American children are being deprived of their parents, if not their homeland, we are expected to say Oh, the president just wants to get the drug pushers and dangerous people off the streets.

NOT SO FAST, PLEASE!

Please explain to me, for example, how a middle aged Phoenix, Arizona woman who has been in the United States since she was a child needs to be separated from her USAmerican children.

She broke the law, we are told, and is therefore a criminal.

Which law?  Well, after she grew up in this country, after she had children – US citizens, by the way – she made a seriously wrong decision. She decided to feed her children!

She went to work as a cleaner at a fun park, then was arrested by Sheriff Arpaio for criminal impersonation (an inexact description of providing fake numbers) . After 90 days of incarceration and a series of immigration reviews, deportation orders were stayed, contingent on checking in with ICE every six months. Provided with a work permit, and she returned to her custodial job.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wrote:

What happened last night to Guadalupe García de Rayos is a travesty. She has been peacefully living and working in the Valley for more than two decades, and by all accounts was building a life and contributing to our community,  She has now been torn apart from her family. 

She dealt no drugs, didn’t rape anyone. She clearly was not one of those many dangerous people walking the streets that the president keeps bringing up.

She worked hard, was a dependable employee, and helped raise two children who will continue to live in this, their country.

Donald Trump once belittled former Governor Jeb Bush for saying that people enter the country illegally, motivated by love for their family:

He was talking about people that come into this country illegally. They do it ‘for love’. And I said, say it again. I didn’t get — that’s one I’ve never heard of before. I’ve heard money, I’ve heard this, I’ve heard sex, I’ve heard everything! The one thing I never heard of was love.

Obviously not Mr. Trump. Obviously not.

Ironically, Hispanics often celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day as a Day of Love and Friendship.

Happy Valentines Day Guadalupe García de Rayos!

About Larry Eppley

Larry Eppley's background is diverse. A former pulpit minister, he was a real estate agent before spending about ten years as a computer software trainer and IT support specialist. Now retired, he teaches English as Second Language classes for Spanish speakers, as well as a weekly bilingual Bible class.


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