The rally Tuesday afternoon at Highland Hospital in Oakland felt from the start more like a simple show of love and support than a tool that would actually protect Maria and Eusebio Mendoza-Sanchez from deportation. The day was chilly and overcast, the crowd on the edge of tears. Two days after nazis murdered a woman in Charlottesville, the chanted words “No hate. No fear.” rang hollow. “No ban. No wall.”? The Supreme Court has allowed the refugee ban to take effect. The House has approved funding for the wall. “Immigrants are welcome here.” If chanting could make it so, they would be.We talked to Josh Quigley, Rep. Barbara Lee’s district director attending on the congresswoman’s behalf. He said she’d have been there herself if she was in town. He said there wasn’t much hope left that this family could remain whole. The parents will be exiled for at least 10 years unless Congressional leadership finds the humanity to pass Senator Feinstein’s private bill on the matter, or the Democrats take back Congress and pass real immigration reform.
Of everything this administration stands for, the attack on immigrants who are the foundation, the future, the very identity of this country, is the hardest to take. What kind of person sees an oncology and cardiology nurse as a threat? Thinks it makes our country greater to tear a 16-year-old away from her loving parents, a 12-year-old from his home? They hide behind the argument that if you make an exception for one, you have to make an exception for all. All nurses? All teenagers? Maria Mendoza-Sanchez broke the rules, it’s true—the system is broken too, but that’s beside the point. She broke the rules, but she broke them in order to help people, to save lives.
There’s nothing left to try. Eusebio, Maria, and Jesus leave today; Vianney, Melin, and Elizabeth will stay. There is no good reason why these people should be forced to make these heartbreaking decisions about what’s best for their family. Eusebio and Maria are leaving behind their three older daughters so they can pursue their educations. A fund has been set up, all money raised will go directly to support the children’s educational expenses.
In a statement, Senator Feinstein said: “My heart is broken for Maria and Eusebio, their family and our community. … This is a senseless, callous policy, and it’s heartbreaking to see in action. … I’ll continue to do everything I can to fight for the Sanchez family and all families across the country who have been so callously targeted. This is a disgraceful day for America.”
In the end all we got the Mendoza-Sanchez family was one more day together while Senator Feinstein tried one last time to get ICE to stay their deportation. The co-workers and fellow union members and community supporters who rallied outside the mother’s workplace, the family’s tireless lawyers, the members of Congress who tried everything, the family members themselves who fought to stay together for as long as they could. Our failure to do more is incredibly discouraging. It all seems like a whole lot of trouble for just one day. But think of your own loved ones. Wouldn’t you give all that and more for one more day with them?