American Citizen Detained, Threatened With Deportation
Eduardo Caraballo, a U.S. citizen born in the United States, was detained for over three days on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant.Despite presenting identifying documents and even his birth certificate, Caraballo was held by federal immigration authorities over the weekend and threatened with deportation, according to an NBC Chicago report. He was only released when his congressman, Luis Gutierrez -- a vocal supporter of immigration reform -- intervened on his behalf.
My 21 year old son is half Japanese ancestry. Not only that, sometimes he speaks a foreign language since one of his two majors in Japanese.
But the most damning thing about him is his appearance. He has brown skin especially in the summer. Unlike me, who burns at the hint of sunlight, he tans a rich brown. He's also an American citizen, born to two American citizens. He has a passport and a birth certificate testifying to his citizenship.
Unfortunately, that might not be enough to protect his civil rights these days should he run across an overzealous law enforcement officer. You see, his appearance is such that he could pass for a Latino/Hispanic man from any of a number of other countries. To some people's eyes he could look suspiciously like an illegal alien.
The people who believe that whites are the only "Real Americans." The people who think "private businesses" should be able to deny service to whomever they please. People with associations to Nazis and white supremacists who write laws making it an obligation of the police to stop anyone for whom they have a reasonable suspicion might in their state illegally.
People who think hate crimes laws grant minorities special rights. People who believe that Jefferson Davis's Inaugural address should stand on the same footing in the history books as Abraham Lincoln's Gettysberg Address, who don't want kids to learn much about Thomas Jefferson's views on religion, thinks Joe McCarthy was a great American Heroand that the less we know about the history of Latinos in America the better.
People who think celebrating their ancestors Confederate Heritage without mentioning slavery is justified. People who booed and called a "bitch" a respected University of Arizona Professor who tried to voice in a civil manner her objections to Arizona's new immigration law and its laws seeking to eliminate ethnic studies in a state with a substantial "ethnic population." The same people who likely bombarded said professor with harassing, hateful and threatening emails far out of proportion to her remarks. And probably the same people who have participated in hate crimes or belong to hate groups in Arizona, such as this murder of a 3rd generation Hispanic-American in Phoenix on May 6th of this year:
Juan Varela, 44, was watering a tree in his front yard May 6 when police said his neighbor confronted him, pointed a snub-nosed revolver at his face, and fatally wounded him with a single shot to the neck.Investigators said the neighbor, who was arrested immediately after the shooting, repeated a racial slur several times and told Varela to "go back to Mexico" or he would die. Phoenix police Bias Crimes Unit investigators are looking into the allegations of a hate crime.
There are far more people out there than I ever imagined. They don't like people with brown colored skin. They don't like people who look like they might be illegal immigrants. My son fits into both those categories.
In all honesty I am becoming ever more fearful for his safety, both from government officials such as the ones who detained Eduardo Caraballo and the ones who, vigilante style, take it into their own hands to punish people for the unwritten crime of having brown skin in every corner of our country:
What kind of country have we become? Some imagined the days of lynching and race violence were over with Obama's election, but in fact his presidency has emboldened all those who stoke the fears and anger of far too many people. White people for the most part. White people like me.
I only hope my son doesn't end up paying the price for the insane hatred and violence that has been unleashed against people who aren't white like me.