Many things went out the window on July 22nd when ICE agents broke a car window to arrest Florencio Millan-Vasquez on outstanding warrants, not the least of which was Millan-Vasquez himself as he was taken into custody for outstanding arrest warrants.
While the whole sordid affair could have ended very differently had Millan-Vasquez complied with ICE agents repeated requests over a twenty-plus minute period that he exit his vehicle, in retrospect, probably the most valuable thing tossed out the window here —human factor not withstanding — is trust of KCPD.
The Kansas City Missouri Police Department has worked to build up trust with the Latino community over the last five years, even going so far as to painstakingly develop a Hispanic Citizens Police Academy that dozens of officers worked for months to put together.
The Dog knows many of those officers personally and this matter had to touch them deeply given their character and commitment to serving the community.
All of that outreach, all of those contacts, and all of the goodwill was shattered on Monday when that window glass shattered.
Lay that at the feet of Millan-Vasquez, lay that at the feet of ICE, or share the blame, but the bottom line is the same: those outreach attempts didn’t go back to ground zero, they quickly flew in to negative numbers and will take years to rebuild if they’re able to be rebuilt at all.
This Newsdog got a little insight into how people of color in society often feel thanks to some candid conversations the Dog had through the One Small Step program at KCUR radio, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate. That program invites members of the community to engage in one-on-one conversations with locals that may not share the same political or social stripe.
The Newsdog was privileged to sit down with a twenty-six-year-old native of India who emigrated to the United States when she was seven years old.
Our conversation covered many topics including prejudices she endures daily due to her skin color and her role as a physician. It was an extremely engaging and eye-opening conversation to be sure and it had this News-Dog questioning some of our own long-standing and deep-seated beliefs and prejudices.
Even our own Managing Editor, Elizabeth Orosco, shared with The Dog stories of racial prejudice and profiling her own family endured while growing up in Houston, Texas.
It’s difficult for the Dog to take off the rose-colored glasses we often like to wear when it comes to racial issues because we’ve only had to deal with that once or twice in our almost six decades on the sphere we call Earth.
Also out the window was any hope of a reasonable discussion of the immigration issue on a national level. Bring up the border issue or the migrant caravan issue and it’s over, done, kaput. Cue the mushroom cloud.
Any conversation initiated by one side of the house is immediately, and aggressively this Dog would add, labeled as racist or as hate speech.
As long as that attitude prevails and the other side is unwilling to offer any sort of cognitive and formative discussion on the matter without fiery rhetoric, we’re sadly doomed to repeat the status quo.
Here’s the bottom line in this whole hot mess on a national level: the immigration system in the United States is broken. The term “comprehensive immigration reform” has been bandied about so long it’s beyond idiotic.
The logistics of deporting thirteen-plus million people is off-the-charts ridiculous. This conservatively-minded Newsdog has gone from a “deport ‘em all if they’re illegal” attitude to a mindset shared by many, offer a path to citizenship that’s based on common sense and then move to secure the border.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But this is Congress we’re talking about here and the brain-trust there isn’t real comforting.