Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New York Times Supports Hardened Criminal for Student Body President at UNC Chapel Hill

Emilio Vicente is Not Only a Lawbreaker, He is Gay and Latino – He Should Be Locked Up

The Republicans, or at least some Republicans are struggling with the illegal immigration issue.  This is not because they feel any affinity with the subject.  It is because (1) they fear the electoral consequences of not dealing with the issue and (2) the business community wants this issue settled in favor a providing legal status for those who reside in this nation illegally, but work and contribute.

Emilio in front of the Old Well on campus on Monday. Ted Richardson for The New York Times

Why isn't this man in jail for life?

But surely those Republicans who view any and all illegals as criminals on the same level as Al Capone now have the public on their side after New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has come out with the story of Emilio Vicente, an illegal immigrant, an Hispanic and worst of all, a gay person who is not only enrolled at the University of North Carolina, who is not only a Morehead Scholar (probably the most prestigious of non Ivy League awards) but also has the temerity to be running for Student Body President.

His name is Emilio Vicente. He’s a junior, 22, and a minority three times over: Latino, undocumented and gay. He came to the United States from Guatemala at 6, his mother leading him under barbed wire and into Arizona, as he recalls it. (He remembers the screech of a woman with them whose hair got caught.) And he flourished here, his grades earning him the private scholarship he needed for Chapel Hill, where he’s on this committee, that board, a one-man whirlwind of engagement.

I hung out with him on Sunday, including at a meeting of his campaign team. They took stock of their efforts to meet the Tuesday deadline for 1,250 petition signatures. Emilio was already above 2,000. The election is Feb. 11, with a runoff, if needed, a week later.

His victory would be a milestone, not just locally but perhaps nationally, and it would be a chance, he told me, “to change the narrative of what it means to be undocumented.” It would be a vindication, too, and that’s clear from hiscampaign site. Under the heading “Inspiration,” it says, “My parents for their sacrifices.”

What a terrible thing to happen to the good law abiding citizens of this nation.  And here is the detailed description of the horrific crimes commited by Mr. Vicente and his family.

His dad arrived here illegally in 1992. He and his mom followed in 1997, traveling through Mexico by rail, in a cargo car. “I’m pretty sure it was a cattle train, because I could smell the manure,” he said. From Arizona they made their way to Siler City, N.C., where his father plucked chickens in a big poultry plant. His mother got a job there, too.
“They would come home from work and show me their hands — blistered, pruned,” Emilio remembered. “And they said, ‘You don’t want this.’ ” He buckled down to schoolwork, though it was hard, partly because his parents had little education and almost no English. And he stayed out of trouble, careful not to draw any attention to his family.
Things got tougher still. His father, who had taken a new job in a lumber plant, was paralyzed in an accident there. Homebound, dependent, he returned to relatives in Guatemala, Emilio’s mother beside him. The choice belonged to Emilio, then 15: join them or stay in Siler City with an older brother who had managed to get to America.

So yes Conservatives, the nation supports you.  We support your efforts to arrest and detain Mr. Vicente, to lock him up for years, no trial, no representation, no hope and then deport him.  That is what you want to do, isn’t it?

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