The Face of Deportation in Oakland

Hundreds gathered to protest the deportation of one of our families this week.  A raucous crowd chanted as I approached, Highland hospital, where the mom works as a cardiac and oncology nurse.  “No Hate, No Fear, Immigrants are welcome Here” rang through the crowd.  A family huddled together, supporters around, cameras and microphones pressing in on them.  I wanted to interview them too or move closer and record their answers.

But I saw their daughter on the side.  A tear welling, that look of being torn between desperation and sadness.

You can read the story in a variety of places.  Hard working, contributing, good family, that has been trying to make their immigration status right for over a decade, being deported.  Children ripped from parents.  Troublingly, they were prioritized for deportation because they actually had tried to go legal—thereby alerting authorities.

I know, I know—they broke the law.

But lots of people break the law, I am sure everyone reading this has broken the law.  The question for me is does the punishment fit the crime—and listening to this story and seeing this family– no, it doesn’t.

I can argue back and forth with folks, and there are lots of good arguments.  But standing at the rally, I only saw one.  A family struggling to stay together likely to be ripped apart, and a young girl struggling not to cry, something I think will repeat itself far too many times and doesn’t have to.

And while I am usually the first to instigate chants and join in, something just kept hurting me at the rally, looking at the girl and her family and hearing the chants.

“No Hate, No Fear, immigrants are welcome here.”

I couldn’t bear to join them, chanting, the lies couldn’t cross my tongue.

What do you think?

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