Marcos Bretón

Marcos Breton: Know the law before shouting about immigration

Marcos Breton
Marcos Breton

On my Facebook page, smart people chime in every day on a variety of topics – often writing words more insightful than any written here. The one topic where this is not the case is immigration.

On immigration, people shout the words “illegal” or “lawbreaking,” while often failing to understand how our immigration laws work. This issue isn’t about facts. It’s about labels being repeated as if they came off a script.

There was the gentleman who wrote to me on Sunday about how I hated white people and how I was always playing “the race card.” OK, but when you talk about immigration in California you are largely talking about Latinos and there is no Latino race in the world. Latino is an ethnicity, not a race. So, by definition this cannot be a discussion about “the race card.”

After hearing this type of talk since I was a child, I have absolutely no ill will toward those who type their immigration rants on my Facebook page mere seconds after I raise the topic. Why? Because we’ve been bombarded by negative images of ethnic people for so long it’s like a form of brainwashing.

For example, children escaping violence in their home countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are coming across our southern borders in a humanitarian crisis the likes of which we usually see in the most desperate corners of the world. The New York Times reported that about 52,000 minors without their parents have been caught at the border since October.

Yet people in California, on my Facebook page and beyond see them as invaders and national security threats. They shout about the law while screaming that we should deport them immediately. Politicians take turns trying to appear tough on immigration to appease the screamers who are repeating the lines they’ve heard about the invaders all their lives.

It’s happening in the Riverside County town of Murrieta, where mobs carrying American flags screamed at children who were chased to the United States by desperation and drug gangs. Why were these kids taken to Murrieta? The feds were following the law. The Homeland Security Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act dictate how the U.S. processes unaccompanied children crossing our borders.

Under these laws, Mexican kids are deported. But the Border Patrol is required to screen kids from other countries and transfer them to the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency then tries to find a suitable place with their relatives or foster homes where they can live until their cases are heard by a judge, often a long process.

These laws were written to protect kids from human trafficking. But it’s easier to shout from a distance and blame Obama, though the bipartisan laws were signed by President George W. Bush.

You didn’t know that? Maybe it’s because you were too busy shouting.

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