Steve Lopez: The Illegal Immigration Debate Will Be Changed By Anecdotes — As Long As We Give Only One Side of the Story
Steve Lopez of the L.A. Times says you can get people to embrace illegal immigrants by telling stories.
But the stories he tells are one-sided. I have another side to tell you about.
“Immigration is always a divisive issue,” [former Occidental College president Ted] Mitchell said, “and [illegal immigrant Angelica Salas has] been at her best in building bridges.”
Her job is to tell stories, Salas told me. It’s not as easy for people to stand back and scream after they’ve heard a story and made a connection.
Well, I guess that depends on the story you choose to tell. Lopez, the L.A. Times columnist, is interested in the stories that portray illegals as heroes:
Salas believes the tone of the debate has been and will continue to be changed by humanizing it.
I know she’s right. I know because of the gardener who was shot in the chest on a job in Inglewood and returned the next day because he’d promised the homeowner he’d be done by Christmas.
I know because of the Mid-City school volunteer who lives in a cramped one-bedroom apartment with her children. If I went and saw the impoverished Mexican village she came from, she told me, I’d understand why she was so happy. So I did, and I do.
I have no doubt that he’s right that these are good people. I fully agree with Lopez when he says: “I know that if my family were starving in a country with an incompetent and corrupt government, and my children might have a better future across the border, I’d do what I had to do.” Indeed. I have said similar things many times.
These stories are part of the overall picture. But there is another group of stories that forms part of that picture as well. And I don’t think Steve Lopez will be telling you about them.
But I will.
From the Indy Star (h/t SM):
A 27-year-old day laborer admitted in court Thursday to abducting and sexually assaulting his 7-year-old neighbor at a Southside apartment complex.
“I know what I did,” said Jonathan Castillo, speaking through a Spanish translator in Marion Superior Court. “I was drunk, and I can’t just fix things just because I’m drunk.”
The victim underwent surgery after the attack early Tuesday and remained in Riley Hospital for Children on Thursday, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Sgt. Matthew Mount said.
. . . .
Prosecutors asked that Castillo’s bond be increased to $250,000, citing the risk to the community and a flight risk because Castillo is an illegal immigrant. Castillo had told Rubick he is a dual citizen of Mexico and Honduras and works as a day laborer.
Castillo also has prior convictions for two felonies — theft and residential entry — as well as driving while intoxicated and domestic battery, records show.
Regular readers are getting sick of reading my repeated entreaties that we address the illegal immigrant problem by concentrating on deporting illegals who commit crimes. But I will not stop talking about it until this common-sense policy is the law of the land. It appears that immigration authorities in Indiana had several chances to put my policy into practice and deport Jonathan Castillo. Because they didn’t, a seven-year-old girl was sexually assaulted — her life changed forever, thanks to the utter negligence of our federal government.
You think this is the only such story out there? Think again. I am going to make it my mission to bring you more stories like this. Because they form part of the overall picture — and it’s a part of the picture you aren’t seeing elsewhere.
Like Lopez, I believe the tone of the debate can be changed by humanizing it. But unlike Lopez, I think we should tell both sides of the story. This is one side that deserves to be told. Steve Lopez will never tell you about it — but now you know anyway.