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Us vs. them 

I'm starting to think there are two kinds of people: those who think it's wrong to separate families, and those who don't; those who think caging children is wrong, and those who don't; those who have compassion for other human beings, and those who pick the wings off of flies and watch them suffer.

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After reading the comments on New Times' Facebook page in response to reporter Karen Garcia's cover story, "Barred: Local families grapple with the effects of losing a family member to deportation" (April 25), I'd say Donny Pemberton II is definitely in the latter category.

I'm sure in his mind Donny thinks he's quite the problem solver. Cortney Anne Upthegrove's husband, Juan Murguia, has been barred from entry into the U.S. for 10 years because Juan stayed here illegally for more than a year before returning to Mexico and applying for legal status. Now Juan is effectively separated from his legal, native-born, U.S. citizen wife and son, JJ.

"She should go with him. Problem solved. If I knew there's a chance I would lose my family I wouldn't break the law. Good to know my country is being protected," Donny wrote, followed by three American flag emoji. "Thank you ICE for doing your jobs and keeping ILLEGAL aliens out of our country. Build that wall Trump!!" he wrote later, followed by three more American flag emoji.

Juan broke an immigration law, so in Donny's mind it's perfectly acceptable to separate his family, see? Juan broke the law, so his wife and son should be punished, too, see? It doesn't matter that Juan didn't break any other law, that he was in every other way an upstanding citizen with a job, who paid taxes, contributed to his community, and loved the USA, nope! Juan was an undocumented resident, so let's disrupt his family's lives. Sheesh!

"That's how it works. You break the law you pay the price. People have worked hard to get here legally. How is it fair to them to just put blinders on to everyone else. Send them back or change the laws. Simple," Donny said followed by five American flag emoji.

Did you hear that, 11 million undocumented human beings currently residing in America? Get the hell out!

It's amazing to me that people can be so wholly devoid of empathy. Cortney didn't break any laws. JJ didn't break any laws. But Donny-boy's perfectly OK with them being separated from their loved one for a decade because the law's the law! Even weirder, in his profile photo Donny's wearing a B.A.C.A. patch, Bikers Against Child Abuse. Maybe he's only worried about white, native-born American children, not those caged brown children, or Juan's currently fatherless son, JJ.

I think Facebook commenter John Mackey was onto something when he called Donny "a heartless fucktard" and "douchebag," to which Donny responded, "I triggered a snowflake" followed by a smiley face emoji. "I have no sympathy for criminals," Donny finished with zero American flag emoji, the unpatriotic bastard! Donny, you should have put the period after you said, "I have no sympathy." Period.

Of course, Donny isn't the only Facebook commenter to make clear they don't care that our immigration laws are separating families and deporting otherwise law-abiding human beings.

George Martin thoughtfully wrote, "Should have applied the right paperwork."

Alison Edwards helpfully wrote, "Well then go with him and come back when you can do it legally!!"

When Rosie Bruiser commented, "This is so heartbreaking," Alison responded, "are you sad for those in prison, too??" Alison obviously equates being in the U.S. without documentation with crimes worthy of imprisonment, you know, like murder and stuff. JJ, I know you miss your dad, Juan, but America is doing you a favor because he was a criminal! At least we didn't put him in San Quentin, right JJ? Right?

Donny's right about one thing. We should change the laws. We should also change our president and Republican members of Congress, most of whom know full well that undocumented workers are one of the reasons our economy is humming. These so-called "illegal aliens" do the jobs legal citizens don't want to do for wages we don't accept in conditions we wouldn't tolerate.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans really want to do anything about illegal immigration because our dirty little secret is big business loves undocumented workers because they're easy to exploit. Personally, I'm getting tired of solving America's problems, but here goes.

Make it easier for guest workers to get in and out of the U.S.; create a path to citizenship for undocumented but law-abiding workers currently in the U.S.; make D.A.C.A.—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—the law of the land; create an e-verify system to assure employers are hiring those legally allowed to work; end the war on drugs; prioritize criminal cases for undocumented residents so the bad apples can be deported quickly; and make it easier for people who want to become American citizens to apply for and gain entry into our country. Simple!

Or we can continue our tribalism, our discord, our name calling (though Donny really is a douchebag), and our inability to take any meaningful, practical steps to fix immigration. Build a wall? OK, can we build it around Donny, George, and Alison? Δ

The Shredder is mostly legal. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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