LONSBERRY: We Should Let This One Stay

Abigail Hernandez shouldn’t be deported.

Today she sits at the immigration detention center in Batavia, New York, a 21-year-old with a misdemeanor conviction brought here as a child from Mexico.

Last weekend she got some sort of completion certificate from high school; this weekend she’s looking at returning to a country she knows nothing about.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m a Trump supporter and I think we should build the wall. I think if you don’t want to be separated from your children you shouldn’t come here illegally, and that we ought to meet them at the border and turn their asses around.

I believe in rule of law and that a nation without borders isn’t a nation.

But I also believe in common sense, and that the law allows for due process and discretion.

And this one should be allowed to stay.

Not because she’s unusually sympathetic, or even particularly deserving. But life is about judgments, and though this one is close, it’s not hard.

First, the downside.

She ends up in the news – and in the deportation line – because she went on Facebook and said she was going to shoot up her old school. 

That’s stupid, and she’s an idiot for doing it.

And she cooled her heels for four months at the county jail over it, and this week a judge said that that, along with three years of probation, was punishment enough. 

On the way out the jail door, the immigration officers picked her up.

As they should have. It’s their duty, and it’s a legal and reasonable duty. If you’re an illegal alien, and you act like trash and draw attention to yourself and your status, you’re going to get what you deserve. 

Now she sits awaiting proceedings that could kick her out of the country by the middle of the summer.

And, unfortunately for her, she has no one to speak for her.

The congresswoman who represented Rochester died four months ago and the governor refused to call a special election, so there is no one to intercede on her behalf. 

Further, the political season means her natural allies – open-border Democrats – are keeping a low profile on the open-border thing, fearing they’ll scare away moderates on Election Day. 

So I’ll say something.

She ought to get a second chance. In part because as a young socially isolated woman she will be preyed upon in Mexico and sending her down there is almost as bad as a death sentence. In part because she is in the situation she is in because her mother and step-father were either too stupid or too lazy to take care of her immigrant status. They got themselves squared away, but they left her an illegal.

And she compounded that by playing the idiot on Facebook.

But she did not plan, intend or engage in violence. And the criminal justice system says she has paid the price for that. The judge and the prosecutor are OK with probation, and so am I.

So here’s what should happen.

Across political and philosophical lines, the leaders of the Rochester region should stand together to ask the federal government to let this one stay. It was public attention that put her in jeopardy of deportation, perhaps public attention can remove that jeopardy.

The mayor and the county executive should together ask if she can stay. The Republican and Democrat running for Congress should together ask if she can stay. The sheriff and the district attorney should together ask if she can stay. The various pastors and preachers, fresh off denouncing immigration policies for political reasons, should minister to the one and ask if she can stay. 

She is voiceless, she did wrong, and she doesn’t take a flattering mug shot.

But she is human. And the stakes are high.

And in the sorting process that must take place to resolve the status of illegal aliens, this one should go in the “keep” pile.

The law allows for it, and the community should call for it.

And this woman should not be crushed because the politicians are too stupid to fix our immigration problem.


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