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End Family Separation!

On Wednesday evening, July 26th, we received an Action Alert email from the "Friends of HOLA" which in part read:

"...A man who the Mentor police reported to ICE  last month after he was in a serious car accident was deported yesterday. He was not at fault for the accident, but as a result, he has a broken neck and is currently in very bad physical condition. ICE deported him yesterday without even responding to the application to stay his deportation. His family has received news that he is currently in grave danger....This does not bode well for Beatriz... whose husband spoke tearfully at our meeting yesterday. Beatriz was reported to ICE after a traffic stop on her way home from work on Sunday. She is almost certainly scheduled to be deported next Tuesday."

Thus a rally to "End Family Separation" was planned for the very next afternoon, July 27th, in Veteran's Park in Public Square in Painesville so we re-arranged our schedule to attend it.

Unfortunately, due to the fact that the "Farmer's Market" was taking place at that time, a rally could not be held in Veteran's Park so the HOLA organizers chose to conduct it in front of Painesville City Hall where perhaps a hundred people gathered. Since a permit could not be obtained from the City of Painesville, no microphones were allowed but as Ms. Veronica Dahlberg, HOLA's Executive Director, exclaimed, "they cannot silence our voices and I have a loud voice!"

The rally begin with Ms. Dahlberg introducing Beatriz' husband and young children who were naturally very upset because Beatriz was now in Seneca Jail in Tiffin and her prospects to remain in the United States where she has been living for the past 17 years undocumented seem bleak. They will probably move to Mexico now to be with her but as her husband tearfully said, "my children have never been in Mexico. This is their country. What will they do there?"

Ms. Dahlberg expressed her fury over the hypocrisy displayed by those who benefit from the labors of people like Beatriz but still contend that it was Beatriz' own fault because she should have been documented or shouldn't have been living in the U.S. to begin with. Ms. Dahlberg put it well when she said that in Beatriz' case she and her family were "hardworking people just trying to carve out a piece of the American dream."

Along these lines, another speaker pointed out that it sometimes takes 25 years for a person to immigrate legally to the U.S. and she should know because it took her 23 years.

More grim details were also provided regarding the case of the man injured in the auto accident who was deported several days ago. Near the conclusion of the rally, Ms. Elizabeth Perez, a former U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, got to address the crowd about how she had been fighting for years on behalf of her husband who was deported for being undocumented. She and her children will be moving to Mexico in early August to join him there.

To be sure there was a lot of dissatisfaction over the inability to obtain a permit for the rally and the fact that microphones were not allowed to be plugged in. Plus, as we know, Painesville's policy concerning its police force's cooperation with ICE has been the subject of considerable controversy as of late. It was thus said here today that more Hispanic representation was needed on the City Council so both Ms. Ana Padilla and Ms. Dora Acosta two candidates who will be running in November, 2017 were introduced and got to say a few words regarding the need for diversity and representation of Painesville's considerable Hispanic population on its city council. 

As we wrote earlier, we had to re-arrange our schedule to attend the rally but we were glad we were able to do so. We had previously planned to spend our noontime at a Plexus LGBT & Allied  Chamber of Commerce luncheon taking place at the "The South Side" on West 11th Street in the Tremont area but we still had enough time to swing over there and say hello to our friends even if we could not stay for the meal.

Fortunately, Mr. Erik Meinhardt, the Administrator at Plexus, was more than understanding and even arranged for us to be the first to speak during sharing time so that we could leave right away.

To be sure, Plexus is a humanitarian organization as well as a business organization so the people who were there literally cheered us on. In fact, one of our friends even shared with us how his own cousin went through tremendous difficulties after she too married an undocumented person.



Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC