I recently saw a CNN report about an immigrant by the name of Francisca Lino. She is 50-year-old mother and wife who has been living in the United State for eighteen years. Her entire family including her children, who were born in this country, her husband and her mother-in-law, are all US citizens. Francisca, however, is not. She was born in Mexico, crossed the boarder, and traveled to Chicago where she met and married her husband, Diego, and later gave birth to their four children. She has been a model resident who has been deeply involved in the activities of her church and community.
Francisca has been living in fear since Trump was elected because she has been on ICE’s radar for a long time. When she first tried to enter the country she hired coyotes that provided her with a VISA which she didn’t know was fake, though she probably should have. She was detained at the border crossing and sent back to Mexico. She tried again and this time was able to successfully sneak across the boarder. After getting married she and her husband filled out an application for a green card. During processing ICE officials arrested Francisca and detained her for 28 days. She was eventually released, but under the condition that she periodically check in with an ICE office.
While Barrack Obama was President, her ICE check ins were uneventful, but the most recent visit was different. A CNN reporter recorded the fear and trepidation of Francisca and her whole family as she prepared for her first meeting ICE officials since Trump moved into the White House and announced his hard line immigration policies. The day of the check in, Francisca and her family were worried sick. The CNN cameras and the reporter were not allowed inside as she, her husband and lawyer entered the immigration authority’s headquarters in Chicago. However, when Francisca emerged a half hour later, she was ecstatic. “They gave me a year until I have to come back,” Francisca told CNN. “So we’re going to try to fight for my visa.”
The happiness was short lived. Evidently a higher level ICE official weighed in and Francisca was called back into the building. This time she was told she needed to report back July 11 with her suitcases backed and with plane ticket back to Mexico. She is to be deported. She and her supporters will of course fight the ICE decision, but Francisca and her husband don’t know what is going to happen to their family if they lose. Her oldest child, Britzy who is 16, is very close to her mother and speaks fluent Spanish. She would undoubtedly accompany her mother if she is forced to leave the country. However, her husband would have to leave his job and he and the three younger children, who don’t speak Spanish well, would have a difficult time acclimating to life in Mexico. The family may be torn apart or at minimum leave the only home they have ever known.
Late in the campaign Donald Trump started backing away from his earlier statements that he would deport every illegal immigrant (because he knew that stance was totally unrealistic) and instead said he would prioritize the deportation of “bad, bad people”. “We’re going to secure the border, and once the border is secured at a later date, we’ll make a determination as to the rest, but we have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out.” Is Francisca Lino the kind of “bad hombre” Trump had in mind? I can also remember Trump stating that he didn’t want to break up families. I guess that was another lie as well.
Taken at his word, Trump’s new stance on immigration appears to be very similar to that of President Obama who ordered ICE to concentrate on serious criminals. However, in actuality Trump has given local ICE officials wide dissection on how to carry out immigration policies. It is inevitable that these officials will adopt the hard line which Trump espoused for so long if no other reason than to try to safeguard their careers. Francisca’s case is far from unique. Other illegal immigrates have gone into hiding or sought sanctuary in churches to stay out of ICE’s clutches and the fear of deportation has spread like a wild fire through the immigrant communities across the country.
Is this the country we want to live in and display to the rest of the world? Are we a people who would destroy families in order to deport a mother and wife who has been a law abiding pillar of her community for the past eighteen years? Apparently, when viewed from afar, that is exactly who we are or we would not have elected a reckless, narcissistic hate monger as President of the United States and leader of the free world. We are the people who can change this! Don’t let the poor excuse for a human being who lives in the White House go unchallenged!