Wednesday, August 26, 2015


“The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again”

“Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane, 
All they will call you will be “deportees”

 “Deportees” (Woody Guthrie – 1961)

I read the synopsis of Donald Trump’s immigration plan last night. Only a demagogue/crook/billionaire like him could dream it up. It was a xenophobe’s delight.

Some elements of the plan are patently foolish. If Donald Trump thinks he can build a wall at the border and make Mexico pay for it, he’s even dumber than I thought he was. If he believes that Mexicans are solely responsible for our unemployment problems, he’s got a screw loose. If he thinks that restricting or eliminating green card applications is a stroke of genius, he’s delusional. 

 Unfortunately, that’s the type of rhetoric we get when the populace is angry and a filthy rich blowhard runs for President.

Trump’s position would be merely laughable if it weren’t so laden with evil intent, as evidenced by the centerpiece of his plan. If he’s elected, he’ll deport all illegal immigrants, men, women, and children. Included in the children are those who were born in the United States. For those who aren’t well acquainted with our Constitution, those born here are American citizens and, as such, they entitled to “protections and immunities” that cannot be abridged by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment to said Constitution.

Apparently, the Constitution means little to Donald Trump. He’ll just rule like an emperor. As he said the other day, “They gotta’ go.” Then, at the appropriate time, he’ll decide who comes back. Oh, the milk of human kindness!

I think you can see by now that I have strong feelings about all of this. It’s very, very personal to me.

My mother was an immigrant, like the parents of many of you who are reading this essay. She was uneducated. But, she was also a woman imbued with enormous courage and a desire to see that her children worked hard and succeeded in life.

 She fulfilled those duties admirably.

As I was growing up, there were many times that a letter would come from immigration. They terrified her. For some reason, she wasn’t sure whether or not she was in the United States legally. Any time that dreaded letter came, she would panic. “Let’s pack up. We’ve got to leave so Immigration won’t catch up with us.” The fear that registered in her face was palpable. She was panic stricken by the thought of being deported. That fear, in turn, transmitted to me, my brother, and sister. It was very real.

 My mother has gone on to her reward. She no longer has to worry about that dreaded letter from Immigration. My brother, sister, and I have also moved on. We’ve contributed to the welfare of this country. We’ve gotten educated, worked hard, served in our military. We’ve mastered disciplines like chemical engineering, linguistics, theology, and business.

We’ve taught our children well. We count among them a Rhodes Scholar and practicing attorney, an I.T. specialist, an author, a labor negotiator, a sheriff, a Social Security Administration analyst, a nurse, an investment broker.

We’re proud of our contributions to this country and we’re sure that succeeding generations of Dillons will continue to contribute to America’s principles and ideals.

I believe there are millions of Mexicans and others from south of our border who want to nothing more than my mother wanted for her family.

But, you say, we’ve got a problem with illegal immigration. I agree. But, there is an American way to solve the problem. Deporting 11 million is not the way. Blaming Mexicans is not the American way, nor is it the Conservative way.

I’ve got one more bone to pick before I’m done. According to a recent Washington Post poll, 25% of white Christians support Donald Trump. I hope and pray that the poll is wrong, but if it isn’t, I have question for that 25% percent. What in God’s name is wrong with you? Have you never read the story of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 2)? Don’t you know that Jesus, our Lord, spent part of his childhood living as a refugee in Egypt (Matthew 2)? Don’t you know that God has great affinity for the alien and the stranger (Matthew 25)? Haven’t you read that there will be a day when a “multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language” will gather around the throne of heaven (Revelation 7)?

If you’re in that 25%, you need to wake up. There is no place for xenophobia on earth….or in heaven! In fact, if you’re not careful you could become the deportees when that great day of reckoning dawns.

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