In the lead-up to the 2016 election, an Oceanside, CA minister named Jorge Ramirez encouraged his daughter to vote for then-candidate Donald Trump. Ramirez saw Trump as the best representative for conservative religious values and most likely to defend principles of religious freedom. He also backed Trump's stance on immigration, believing it was tough but fair.
The only problem? Ramirez was living in the country illegally a fact which came back to bite him when immigration agents caught on to his trail. Authorities waited outside the Ramirez residence one morning and took him into custody when he stepped out the door. Just like that, he was separated from his family and is now facing deportation.
Betrayed by False Promises
When Jorge Ramirez pushed his daughter to vote for Trump, he never envisioned a scenario in which he would get deported. After all, Trump did promise to only go after violent offenders and people with criminal histories neither of which are categories that Ramirez falls under.
"Everything that he's said against immigrants it's not that I'm in favor, but bad people don't belong here," Ramirez said. "In order to make America great, you have to have people contributing to this country."
So how does he feel now? Speaking from the detention center, Ramirez told reporters: "Trump said, 'Let's keep all the good people here and all the bad people out.'" That's great, but I'm here. If I'm here, anybody can be here. I'm not saying I'm the best person in the world, but I've tried to live a good life."
Saying Goodbye to Home
Jorge Ramirez had lived in the U.S. since he was 11 years old brought over the border by his parents without paperwork. He grew up in California, got married there, and started a family there. By every possible measure, the United States is his home. Now, all of a sudden, he's on the verge of being kicked out of the very country he's come to love. "I'm USA all the way," Ramirez explains. "It's that American spirit. It just gets into you."
Unfortunately for Ramirez, he may soon be keeping the American spirit alive on the other side of the border.
Immigration Crisis Reaches Boiling Point
No doubt there are more stories similar to that of Jorge Ramirez that have gone untold. As federal authorities ramp up their crackdowns on illegal immigration, an intense moral debate rages on. Do law-abiding people who've lived their entire lives in the United States deserve to be kicked out? It's one thing to knowingly cross the border as an adult but another entirely to be brought here as a child. Is there any leniency in the law, or does deterring future illegal immigrants require taking a hardline approach?
As a country, we must seek answers to these difficult questions.