Building Trades, Features, Law and Politics, New York

Let Eber Garcia Vasquez Come Home

September 11, 2017

By Bill Hohlfeld

Eber Garcia Vasquez has been shipped off to Guatemala. He has been disposed of as though he were nothing more than unsightly rubbish, and that was just plain wrong. Now is not the time for a useless stream of anti-Trump rhetoric, or any other politicized palaver. It is, however, a time to ask some hard questions. Why? Who benefitted from this? Where is the justice in this, and what kind of a country do we want to be?Anyone who has spent more than a few cursory moments in political dialogue with me will be quick to admit that I don’t fall into the “politically correct” category. In fact, it’s safe to say that more than one of my left leaning friends has stormed away from me in complete exasperation from time to time. So be it. This is not a left/right issue. Nobody gets to hide behind a conservative ideology stance on this one. This is a common sense/common decency issue, and it is time we exhibited a little bit of both.

Fact: Mr. Garcia-Vasquez entered this country legally. He was a legitimate refugee from a war-torn country who was fleeing in fear for his life. He registered with immigration authorities annually, had filed the legal papers for his green card, and was only months from receiving it.

Fact: Mr. Garcia- Vasquez is a law abiding citizen who has for 27 years worked hard paid his taxes, and played by the rules. In fact, the work he does (he works in the recycling industry) is the type of work that is far less than glamorous, but far more important to us as a community than about a dozen more highly paid “professions” that I’ll have the good grace to let go unmentioned.

Fact: Mr. Garcia –Vasquez is married to an American citizen. And, it is not a marriage of convenience being used as some gimmick to stay here, but a long term relationship, one product of which is a teen aged daughter who, ironically, the family was struggling to protect from gang violence that was beginning to encroach upon them in their Long Island community.

Fact: After 27 years of being in the United States (approximately half his life,) Eber Garcia Vasquez saw his routine check – in turn into incarceration. He was powerless to prevent being transported to Louisiana, and then finally Guatemala, the country he had left so long ago to escape violence and carve out a life. His family couldn’t help him; his union couldn’t help him, and his attorney couldn’t help him. In thirteen days his life went from the American dream to a horrific nightmare.

A few months back, there was much discussion of “bad hombres.” Well, by all means let’s get rid of them. The drug dealers, the sex trafficking parasites and the gang members who rob, murder and extort should all be sent back to their countries of origin. I’d be happy to see my tax dollars go to such a cause, but let’s let Eber Garcia Vasquez come home to America.

September 11, 2017

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