After Neighbor Gets Deported, Local Police Chief Rethinks Support for Immigration Crackdown

Tina Burch/ZUMA Press/Newscom

A Washington State police chief who voted for Donald Trump because he wanted a president who would secure the border is now “in shock” after seeing federal immigration cops deport an illegal immigrant who had lived nearby for more than a decade.

Flint Wright, police chief in Long Beach, Washington, tells The Seattle Times he was rattled by the arrest and deportation of Mario Rodriguez, who had lived in the community for 12 years.

“He was real pro–law enforcement,” Wright said of Rodriguez. “Shoot, anybody would like to have him as a neighbor.”

Rodriguez had overstayed his visa and was swept up in the Trump administration’s toughened immigration enforcement, which has seen Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) make 3,100 arrests this year across Oregon, Washington, and Alaska (the three states overseen by ICE’s Seattle office).

There’s a difference—a quite significant one, as Wright has learned—between the Trumpian rhetoric that presents illegal immigrants as a source of economic woes and criminality, and the reality of watching someone you know deported when he hasn’t hurt anyone. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump famously said of illegal immigrants flowing into the country from Mexico. Turns out the feds have trouble telling the difference.

Even American citizens get caught up in the crackdown. Reason’s Shikha Dalmia has detailed the plight of Lorenzo Palma, an American citizen who lacked an American birth certificate because he was born in Mexico. Palma lived in the United States for nearly his entire life, but after serving time for assault he was whisked away to an immigration detention center and narrowly avoided being deported.

“Indeed, if President Donald Trump keeps on his aggressive anti-immigration path, he will fundamentally shift the balance of power between the government and its citizens,” Dalmia writes. “He may not be able to overcome the economic forces that bring unauthorized aliens to America’s shores. But he will erode the economic and civil liberties of ordinary Americans, leaving few immune from the long tentacles of the immigration enforcement regime.”

By Eric Boehm for REASON.COM
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