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Throughout this week, and even by the low standards of his Administration, Donald Trump has seemingly been on a crusade to degrade the presidency. From his wildly inappropriate speech to the Boy Scouts to his impulsive and disturbing decision regarding transgender troops in the military, Trump’s cruelty and dark view of the world has been front and center.
Notably, Trump delivered a disturbingly apocalyptic anti-immigrant speech in Youngstown, OH this week, dehumanizing immigrants as “animals” in order to justify the Administration’s sweeping and indiscriminate approach to immigration enforcement, which mostly targets moms and dads. On Friday of this week, Trump is set to head to Long Island, where we again expect him to use the bogeyman of immigrant criminality to promote his Administration’s cruelty.
Thankfully, many observers are recognizing that President Trump’s rhetoric doesn’t match the reality of immigrants in America and who the administration is prioritizing. Today, the local newspaper in Youngstown, The Vindicator, editorializes against the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement, contrasting the disconnect between the recent deportation of Ohio father Jesus Lara Lopez with Trump’s pledge to go after “bad hombres.” While the editorial doesn’t specifically reference Trump’s dark speech in their city, the contrast with the President’s speech is obvious and important.
Read below for excerpts from the Youngstown Vindicator editorial, “Ohio case illustrates what ails US immigration policy”:
About 100 miles due east of Youngstown in the lush fields and farm lands of Huron County, a gripping case study on the dysfunction of this nation’s immigration policy has been playing out for the nation and world to see.
For 16 years now, one Jesus Lara Lopez has called Willard, Ohio, home. It was there the undocumented immigrant from Mexico made an honest and oftentimes back-breaking living picking vegetables and later packing cookies for the Pepperidge Farm plant. It was there that he faithfully attended the Church of God of Prophecy. And it was there that he had married, had four children, paid taxes and never relied on any form of public assistance to provide for himself and his family. Clearly, Lopez hardly fits the definition of “bad hombre,” the derisive term used by President Donald J. Trump to describe the primary targets of his administration’s vigilant crackdown on illegal immigration into this country.
…Lopez is not alone. In the first three months of the Trump administration, ICE has arrested more than 41,000 individuals who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally, a significant 38 percent increase over the same period last year. The Justice Department also has acquired tens of thousands of new jail cells – including some at the North East Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown – for inmates’ pre-deportation detainment.
John F. Kelly, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has made it perfectly clear the agency will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally.
That firm policy and those soaring numbers of detainees, however, tell only part of the story. Another chapter of it can be found in photos of the anguish, heartbreak and fear on the faces of Lopez and his children as he prepared to depart for Mexico last week.
His case also raises questions on the overall value of the crackdown. John Sandweg, former acting director of ICE, sees little such value. “Cases like this are an incredible waste of ICE resources that only make it harder for the agency to identify and remove dangerous criminals,” Sandweg said.
The Lopez saga also has rightfully reenergized the debate over the need for a comprehensive and consistent immigration policy that balances national security with natural compassion. In recent years, immigration policy largely has been dictated by executive fiat by Trump and his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama.
That means Congress must end its lethargy and craft legislation that balances harsh punishment and deportation for those illegals who break the law with penalties and a path to citizenship for those immigrants who have not like Lopez.
In an interview last week with 21 WFMJ- TV, The Vindicator’s broadcast partner, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, perhaps summarized the Ohio case most poignantly:
“I was heartbroken when I heard of Mr. Lopez’s situation. In a time when we have a finite amount of resources, we should be using our money to go after criminals who have broken our laws, not those who serve no security risk at all. This is a perfect example of why we need comprehensive immigration reform in this country. … We are the strongest country on the face of the Earth and can ensure our national security while maintaining humanity throughout the process.”