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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. EFE
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. EFE

A grim Father’s Day for immigrant kids

In another twisted episode of the reality show that has become real life in the U.S., this Father’s Day will be a sad one for thousands of immigrant families.

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In another twisted episode of the reality show that has become real life in the U.S., this Father’s Day will be a sad one for thousands of immigrant families, courtesy of Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions and the rest of the bigoted gang that has taken over Washington.

The case of Pablo Villavicencio, sad as it is, is just one of thousands around the country. For his two American children, this Father’s Day will not be a joyous one to celebrate with their loving, decent and hard-working dad, but a nightmare.

Villavicencio is an undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant with an American wife and two U.S.-born children who was arrested two weeks ago while delivering a pizza to a Brooklyn military base when an employee called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on him. He had previously delivered food to the base with no problems. Although he has never committed a crime, the government’s intention was to throw him out of the country as soon as possible, but a judge granted him temporary relief from deportation. Nevertheless, he remains in jail and deportation is very much a possibility.

"Is our city, state and nation any safer today because they took a pizza delivery guy off the streets?” New York City Council member Justin Brannan asked during a press conference. Talk about needless cruelty.

Of course, nothing else can be expected from a government that has implemented a so-called “zero-tolerance” policy of ripping children from the arms of parents who arrive at the South border in a desperate attempt to save those children’s lives. Another terrifying Father’s Day for these kids.

As if another proof of this administration’s racism and lack of humanity was needed, on Monday Attorney General Sessions announced – listen to this -- that domestic or gang violence is no longer grounds for asylum. He ruled that victims of domestic abuse and gang violence generally will not qualify for asylum under federal law.

This is one reckless decision that will endanger tens of thousands of people seeking refuge in the U.S. It is also heartless and immoral and shows the lack of compassion, and the outright rejection and hostility, with which immigrant families – particularly from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico --are being treated by this administration, although their horrifying plight is nobody's invention, but the desperate reality of their lives.

Let's not forget that it is this country’s insatiable appetite for illegal drugs that fuels most of the gang brutality in those countries that is making thousands of its people run for their lives. These are persecuted people whose lives are in danger and deserve all the rights and protections afforded to refugees and asylum seekers. 

For those who believe Democrats can be trusted to be more compassionate and fair, a reminder: Cruelty and bigotry toward immigrant children and families has been a sad reality under Democrats as well as Republicans. Not for nothing, Barack Obama was baptized “deporter-in-chief.”

Yet, racism, inhumanity and needless cruelty have become the law of the land since Trump and his people came to power. They can decide the fate – think life or death - of millions in this country and around the world, a perspective so grim that it’s difficult even to think about it.

Which is why registering to vote and actually going to the polls on November 6 more than a right, is a duty. Let’s throw the bums out and make sure that future Father’s Days can be happy ones for Villavicencio’s children and every immigrant kid in the U.S.

 

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