Willard, OH – “What if they were white children?”, the editor of Sandusky Register, Matt Westerhold, asks this morning. If the Lara children – Eric (age 14), Edwin (age 11), Anuar (age 9), and Elsiy (age 6) – were white, would they be expected to live without their father?
That is the reality these four American citizens will face in less than one week. Their father, Jesus Lara Lopez, is set to be deported on Tuesday, July 18.
As Westerhold reviews, the Sandusky Register’s articles on the Lara family have received a wide array of comments from readers, some consistent with the Trump administration’s hate-filled rhetoric, and others more compassionate.
Jesus Lara did all that was asked of him by the government – attended regular check-ins, contributed both economically and socially to the small town of Willard, and raised his four children. Nevertheless, instead of targeting ‘bad hombres,’ this administration is targeting and hurting an American family.
Westerhold’s entire piece is available online here and is excerpted below.
But there’s nothing plain and simple about what Lara Lopez’s American born children face in the months and years ahead if the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency does not back down from its plan to deport Lara Lopez next week.
He’s lived in Willard for the last 16 years. He’s filled out every form and applied for every work permit he’s been asked to fill out since his legal status was revealed after a 2008 traffic stop. He’s been under an order of supervision with a work permit through immigration services since 2011, requiring him to check in annually.
He’s always followed every order immigration officials gave him, and he will get on that plane next Tuesday as ordered, if he doesn’t win a reprieve. But it will be the hardest thing he’s ever had to do, he said, to leave his family.
The commenters who support that position use the same harsh rhetoric Trump did on the campaign trail.
“YesNoMaybeSo,” although outnumbered, got it right: In some respects the 2016 election stripped us of our compassion for others. The angry backlash that’s become so commonplace de-humanizes Lara Lopez, and dehumanizes his young children.
“If he were caught sooner he wouldn’t have been able to have those anchor babies,” another reader, “Mark Bakewell,” declared.
But they’re not things you should call “anchor babies.”
They’re children and they have names.
They’re Americans and they have every same right you do, thanks to the happenstance that they, too, like you, were born here.
Let the haters hate. But that’s how it is, plain and simple.