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Mother of Exiles 

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" ...unless you're talking about Central and South American kids. Then send 'em back!

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Is it just me, or do others see an empathy deficit when it comes to brown-skinned kids seeking refuge in the U.S.? Emma Lazarus' famed Petrarchan sonnet, "The New Colossus," found on the Statue of Liberty, presciently foresaw our country's current reluctance toward immigration. These most quoted lines—usually interpreted as an invitation—are in fact the personification of an imagined figure within the poem, responding to what Lazarus knew was coming ... Andy Caldwell and his anti-immigrant ilk.

In an April 1 social media post, Caldwell railed against the news that Camp Roberts may be temporarily used to house the influx of unaccompanied migrant children currently stuck in overcrowded facilities on the U.S.-Mexico border while they await processing. The request for temporary use came from the Department of Health and Human Services, which is dealing with the humanitarian crisis.

"Truly, President Biden has opened a literal flood gate," Caldwell claimed. "An estimated 1 million undocumented immigrants are expected to cross the border this year alone and that is just the beginning. We don't have the ability to process, vet, house, and care for any of them."

Not a single one! Zero! We especially can't house and process them if we don't open facilities such as Camp Roberts to the overflow, right, Andy?

The problem is the kids are here and being housed in inhumane and illegal conditions, and you claim in your post that we're spending "tens of millions of dollars in hotel and motel rooms" and that we've "ceased vetting volunteers who are screening the immigrant children for crimes involving juveniles" and that "the feds are releasing many of these people on their own recognizance without ever as much as a court date to consider who these people are and whether they are qualified to stay."

Hey, here's an idea! Put some of them in Camp Roberts instead of hotel rooms, vet them, and hold them until they're processed! You're arguing against the very solution to the problem you outline, Andy, you big lunkhead!

Andy spent much of his post lambasting 24th District Congressman Salud Carbajal's response to the border crisis. It's worth noting that Carbajal whooped Andy's ass last year when he ran against the incumbent for the congressional seat. I mean whooped! That's gotta sting still, eh, Andy?

"I, myself, am a son of an immigrant who is proud to be of a country of immigrants," Caldwell dissembled. "But, what we are experiencing here is not immigration, it is an invasion."

Fearmonger much, Andy? "Lock your doors! Batten down the hatches! The 12-year-old dreamers are coming!"

"Salud Carbajal became a congressman and evidently lost his soul in the process," Andy claimed. "He has become nothing less than an apologist for the failed policies of the progressive movement in the face of a human tragedy that should shake him to his core."

Oh, Andy! First, even if Carbajal "lost" his soul, which is arguably false since he's trying to help these kids, at least he had one! Where's yours? Is it in your mantra? "No Border, No Wall, No USA At All."

And those "failed policies of the progressive movement" were good enough to keep you out of office. You lost, dude. You're a loser! Your solution to this "human tragedy" is to stop Camp Roberts from opening its doors to unaccompanied minors. Seems like all your righteous indignation is a projection to mask your own lamentable lack of humanity toward refugees.

Speaking of lamentable, something's fishy in Pozo. Recently, Levi Beanway, son of deceased former Pozo Saloon owners Brian and Rhonda Beanway and longtime Pozo resident, applied with business partner Tim Reed (instrumental in the development of the Vina Robles Amphitheatre) for a cannabis grow permit along Parkhill Road. County staff recommended allowing it, but the Planning Commission denied it, so Beanway and Reed appealed to the county Board of Supervisors. Here's where it gets weird.

Fifth District Supe Debbie Arnold, who claims to have always had a "fine" relationship with the Beanways, recused herself from the vote because her family owns the property next to the Pozo Saloon, which is now being run by new majority owners, not Levi. If the relationship is "fine," why not stand up for Levi?

Meanwhile, in a 2-2 split vote, which means the Planning Commission denial stands due to a tie, 4th District Supe Lynn Compton and 1st District Supe John Peschong voted no, and Peschong has tended to side with growers lately. What gives? Did Peschong vote no in solidary with Arnold, who secretly wanted to deny the grow but didn't want to come out publicly?

A lot of anti-cannabis people complain that these growers are out-of-towners and big corporations, but here's a native son of a well-known Pozo family, a young man who recently lost both his parents and is trying to make a living, and y'all still raise a stink for pretty flimsy reasons. Sad. Δ

The Shredder is American made but doesn't mind sharing office space with imports. Send comments and suggestions to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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