The Cretin in Chief has called for a big round-up, a massive deportation, and everywhere in the southwest there is fear.
We saw them every day. They cleaned our houses. They built our rock walls. They picked our chiles, waited our tables, harvested our lettuce.
No more. Now they hide.
Meli, 37, in Arizona, spoke to a New York Times reporter the other day. “I don’t want to go to the store, to church — they are looking everywhere, and they know where to find us,” she said. “They could be waiting for us anywhere. Any corner, any block.”
We no longer see The Plant Man. He used to come around selling cactuses and blossoming shrubs from the back of his old, wheezing pick-up. Everyone knew he took them illegally from the vast expanse of BLM land in the surrounding desert. Everyone bought things from him. “We knew he needed the money to feed his family,” our neighbor, from Wisconsin, said. Not all the neighbors bought from him. One man, less than a mile from our house, threatened him with a shotgun and called the Border Patrol.
A man who does rock work and odd jobs came by the other day. “I cannot do this much longer,” he said. “It is too dangerous.” I didn’t have any work for him, but gave him $20 for gas.
The Times found a woman in Texas who has stopped going out of her house to buy medication that she needs.
Another Times reporter found a couple, both restaurant workers, who no longer go out together to shop. They take turns, hoping that their children will still have one parent if the other gets picked up.
In California, pro bono lawyers are handing out cards that say, “Before answering any questions, I want to talk to an attorney.”
In our town, 35 miles from the border, some restaurant workers have simply stopped showing up for their shifts.
The first of the year’s crops has been planted in this valley of the Rio Grande. Now, with the threat of massive deportations, many are wondering if they will find enough hands to harvest them.
The winds are high. If you listen closely, you can almost hear the old Woody Guthrie song.
Some of us are illegal, and others not wanted
Our work contract's out and we have to move on
But it's six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria
You won't have a name when you ride the big airplane
All they will call you will be deportees
He wrote those words 70 years ago. Joan Baez sang them again 45 years ago. You'd think things might have gotten better by now, wouldn't you?