Letter to the Editor: Hate and Racism in Action

On a very hot and humid Saturday morning, June 30, my two granddaughters and daughter visiting from Houston, and my husband and I attended the “Families Belong Together” rally to let the community know that there are many people living here who will not tolerate the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy of hate toward immigrants. Separating children from their parents is always unacceptable, especially in these circumstances.

After the march, on the way back to our car, carrying our signs:  “I want my mommy” held by my 5-year-old granddaughter and “What happened to no child left behind,” a woman sitting in a truck yelled, “Ask Obama what happened when he was president.”  

So I did my research and according to the American Immigration Council, Jan. 20, 2017, the practice of family detention was reinstituted by the Obama Administration in an attempt to deter the arrival of additional refugees from Central America along the southern border. Family detention was notably poor with complaints filed against the government on challenging the conditions. Families and children spent extended periods incarcerated even though detention was not intended to be a punishment. Families suffered prolonged and indefinite separations, receiving substandard medical care and individuals suffered psychological distress including depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.

The Obama immigration problem came from Congress’s refusal to pass any sort of immigration reform. They would not even consider it during Obama’s presidency. In their opinion, “The practice of family detention reinstituted by the Obama administration is a dark mark on his legacy.”

President Trump and his Republican House and Senate have had the opportunity to update an outdated immigration system as they have stated they were going to do when campaigning, yet all we have seen is hate and racism in action. There are a few bipartisan bills but Trump refuses to sign any without funding for “the wall.”

Family detention under Obama was bad; under Trump it is much worse.

The bigger issue is that Trump’s overt and hateful rhetoric has sparked a counter-movement. His remaining supporters are now exposing an ugly reality in our country that apparently has always been there – straight-up racism. 

By the way, when we got into our car and drove away past the woman in the truck, she gave us the middle finger.


Patricia Heller

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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