The illusion of freedom
Saturday, on my morning walk with my dog, I see my neighbor’s gardener, and his son, Gustavo, who comes help his father, on weekends. He gives my dog a biscuit, and loves the kisses he gets in return. This has become our Saturday ritual. And I always ask Gustavo if he’s had a good week in school. Whenever I’ve seen Gustavo he has been all smiles. I learn that he loves baseball, and math and Pokémon. He’s no different than my grandson, who is also eight. But this last Saturday Gustavo was not smiling. He nodded hello and went back to raking, no cookies for my dog. I ask his father if everything is ok and I learn that ICE picked up a family member, and they are very worried. I can see it in Gustavo’s face. He is worried.
It’s not safe out there. There are knocks on the front door, people are being pulled over because they fit a profile, plain-clothes officers, from ICE, are snooping around workplaces. It’s stressful to drive, and you worry if you will be pulled over for something you didn’t do. Even though the law says that you are not required to show your papers, you’re worried the police will ask. And it’s up to the cops to decide if they are going to turn suspects over to ICE.
This kind of persecution is happening all across America. And Gustavo has every right to worry about who he talks to. This proud young man no longer knows who to trust. What happens when those who are apart of our everyday life, the familiar faces we have come to know and care about, start to disappear?
The mood is unsettling. People are whispering about where to hide.