Critics of the immigration reform bill being pushed by the so called “Gang of Eight” universally oppose any efforts that create a pathway to citizenship, suggesting instead that we simply enforce the laws that are on the books.
While the suggestion sounds reasonable enough, the truth is we Americans are a compassionate people and will not stand idly by as those here illegally are forcibly deported. Particularly when considering they may be your next door neighbor who’s children grew up with yours.
Even in more clear cut cases, the reaction will be much the same.
Case in point is Fabiana Palomo-Muñiz, a Mexican citizen recently arrested in North Carolina after she attempted to leave the scene of accident — she was charged with driving without a license and resisting arrest, as reported by the Examiner.
While being processed, deputies discovered that Palomo-Muñiz was in the country illegally and had actually been deported in 2003.
Surprisingly, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has decided to deport her.
ICE spokesman Vincent Picard confirmed that she “does not quality for procedural discretion due to a previous deportation in 2003 and (her) illegal reentry into the country, which constitutes a federal crime,” according to Latino Fox News.
Palomo Muñiz has lived in the city of Durham for eight years and is described as a “community activist” at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
Her supporters claim that the entire incident was a “misunderstanding,” the Examiner adds, saying Palomo-Muñiz speaks only Spanish and could not understand the officer’s instructions.
A vigil in support of Palomo Muñiz was held Monday at the Immaculate Conception Church, where dozens of friends and acquaintances — see American citizens — called for her release.
In addition, NC Dream Team, an “immigrant rights” advocacy group, has organized a campaign to place telephone calls to the ICE offices and to the Wake County jail to prevent the deportation.
This incident should serve as a reminder that when looking at individual cases involving people who are established in the community, the notion of “enforcing our laws,” which equates to sending them all home, is not as realistic as some may think.
The biggest surprise thus far regarding Palomo-Muñiz is that the national media has not rallied to her cause.
In the end, the issue of immigration reform in this country is a very complex problem complicated by a lackadaisical attitude by most Americans the past 20-30 years. If the answer is to “get tough,” then it will need to start with the disposition of the American people.