Letter: She’s not a criminal
This letter is in response to those angry readers who were so outraged by the PI’s Nov. 14 article regarding Sandra Lopez, who has taken sanctuary in a parsonage in Carbondale.
That parsonage is owned by Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist congregation, of which I am a proud member. Our board of trustees and minister decided, with the support of the congregation, to offer sanctuary to Sandra, rather than allow her to be torn from her home and family and deported to Mexico. This decision was not a political stunt or an attempt to defy the law. No, it was made in keeping with our seven Unitarian Universalist principles, and especially the first two, which state we “covenant to affirm and promote: 1) The inherent worth and dignity of every person; 2) Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.” Those are principles worth defending, and not just by speech, but by peaceful, humane actions.
You angry letter writers and social media commentors don’t know this woman or her family. You haven’t seen the austere conditions in which she and her daughter are living. You haven’t heard her passionate speech to the media (in English and in Spanish) in defense of her right to remain in this country.
One person wrote, “She needs to file for citizenship and stop being here illegally.” Well, yes, that’s a fine idea, but I wonder if the writer has ever so much as glanced at the byzantine and impenetrable immigration laws in this country, so difficult that many attorneys can’t even decipher them. Sandra has spent many thousands of dollars seeking citizenship, but now even a stay of removal has been denied her for no apparent reason. Sandra is not a criminal. She has not hurt anyone. She certainly has not hurt those of you so offended by her presence here.
I respectfully ask that all you angry people do your homework and form your opinions based on facts, not prejudices. A good place to start might be an article published by the Anti-Defamation League (adl.org) called “Myths and Facts About Immigrants and Immigration.” And then put yourselves in Sandra’s shoes.