Except for the most xenophobic among us, the images of a group of angry (mostly white) people screaming at busloads of immigrant families – some sick and some probably terrified – is disappointing to say the least. These people were shouting “No one wants you!” to children and preventing these immigrants from heading to a Border Patrol facility that was assuredly not going to simply release them into the town with no consequence.
Now, Mayor Alan Long is quoted by POLITICO saying that Murrieta, California “is a ‘compassionate’ town.” “It’s a shame” Long reportedly told Fox News, “that two minutes of video time on the news channel really stereotypes our city.”
Long’s statement is ironic, considering that these virulent and angry protesters were reacting to closely-held stereotypes of their own. Long says that there are “700 nonprofit charity organizations” that were “ready to go” to help these immigrants, and blamed the federal government for not giving them enough information about what they could do. Long ended his comments by suggesting lawmakers put partisanship aside and “come together and find a solution.”
Of course, Murrieta deserves whatever stereotype they get because, I say again, these people were screaming at children. Simply put if Murrieta is compassionate town, perhaps rather than hanging back in the mayor’s office waiting for “information,” city officials should have been there to at least attempt to diffuse the situation. Put another way, it would have been nice to see the town’s compassion on display instead of their hate and anger.
Yet, Long does have a point. The current immigration crisis is perhaps one of the most avoidable crises currently plaguing the nation. It would take just a small amount of political courage for the bipartisan bill reforming immigration to be passed. Only, for many of these politicians, xenophobia is a great way to fundraise and rally their base. Only in the Bizzaro World of modern American governance would a victory like that bill be seen as a potential defeat.