Two must-read stories out of California and Colorado describe the human and practical consequences of Trump’s mass deportation strategy. The question they ask us to answer is this: do we recognize immigrants’ humanity and shared values, or do we treat them as expendable and disposable objects?
This Saturday, the Los Angeles Times posted an article about the impact of deportations on California’s Central Valley. It describes how the simple act of driving to work has become a dangerous endeavor for many in the United States:
Jesus Aceves was driving three of his fellow farmworkers to the tomato fields in the early-morning darkness when he saw lights flash behind him.
ICE agents pulled him over and asked for his license, registration and insurance and, most forebodingly, whether the men were in the United States legally.
Aceves and his passengers were taken to an immigrant detention facility. But none of them had been the target of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Three of the men had no criminal records. The most serious blots on the 44-year-old Aceves’ record were several convictions — the most recent in 2012 — for driving without a license.
The article continues on to describe concerns by workers and farmers alike — the feeling that they are haunted by a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.
While many immigrants have been on edge since President Trump vowed a crackdown on illegal immigration, the recent sweeps have been particularly concerning because they included the arrests of people not specifically targeted by ICE.
The concern extends to farmers, who fear more sweeps will drive away labor at a time when some are struggling to get enough workers to pick the crops.
Meanwhile in Mancos, Colorado, members of the United Methodist Church have put their arms both figuratively and literally around Rosa Sabido, another immigrant facing deportation after years of faithfully attending regular “check-in” meetings at ICE and being allowed to remain.
Despite doing everything she could to try to become a legal citizen, it never happened for Rosa. Under Trump, her life became a choice between living in sanctuary or participating in deportation. She chose sanctuary, a decision she is still figuring out, but, as the article points out, she gained a community that loves her “even if they don’t know [her]” — yet.
“These articles show the shame of our country’s current mass deportation strategy. The U.S. government is deporting people who share American values and contribute to our nation,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.
“While President Trump tells America one story about these men and women — one that portrays them as criminals and rapists — these articles tell a different story: the truth. We’re talking about people who are harvesting tomatoes, planting jalapeño sprouts, and working as church secretaries. People raising children, who will grow up to be oncologists and lawyers. While our government is deporting these hard-working men and women, who have lived here for decades, positive forces like the Mancos United Methodist Church and United Farm Workers are standing up and speaking out,” Sharry concluded.