I simply feel it is a moral obligation to publicize the stories of the unfortunate souls deported as part of our ethnic cleansing campaign. Maybe if people read these stories, they will care enough to do something about it:
Victor Pacheco planted, trimmed and harvested the grapes and raspberries at the Diller-Raby farm in Lewiston for more than two decades.
Over time, he became foreman, moved into the rent-free trailer near the main house, got married and became a fixture in the community. He was a welcome addition to the Raby family.
But on a warm afternoon last month, Pacheco found himself face to face with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers while coming out of a KeyBank branch in Lewiston.
He was arrested on the spot, detained and, 13 days later, deported back to Mexico.
“I didn’t even see a judge,” he said in a telephone interview from Mexico. “I told them, ‘Why are you arresting me?’ I did everything right.”
The shock of Pacheco’s forced departure is still evident in the people who grew to know him in the 23 years he lived and worked in Lewiston.
For many, there is no better example of what’s wrong with President Trump’s immigration crackdown and the notion that everyone, even those working here legally, should be at risk of arrest and deportation.
Well-known and well-established in the community, Pacheco married an American citizen 11 years ago, and the two made a life for themselves working the Diller-Raby farm.
Even more important, perhaps, Pacheco was known to immigration officials. Friends and family say he checked in with ICE every three months, and for the past 10 years he had a valid government-issued Employment Authorization Card.
“He was like my brother, and I feel like we lost him,” Kelly Raby said.
The Rabys alternate between sadness at what their friend is going through and anger at what the government’s actions mean to the seventh-generation family farm.
“National security is a big thing for me,” said Seth Raby, who has family in the military. “But I also believe that when people come here, follow the rules and embrace our country, why would you go after them?”
The Rabys will tell you that what changed was Donald Trump and that, even before his arrest last month, Pacheco sensed he was at risk of deportation.
“The day Trump was elected, he changed,” Kelly Raby said of Pacheco.
Many years ago, Pacheco had a felony conviction and this was used against him. But ICE, our fascist agency in charge of the ethnic cleansing campaign, also admitted that this no longer mattered since they are targeting everyone.
Now another family is split apart, with no hope for the future. To make it even worse, Pacheco’s wife has been diagnosed with leukemia and she has no way to see her husband. Why? To make white people feel less threatened. The article didn’t get into how many people in this community voted for Trump or whether the very people he worked, for whom “national security is a big thing for me” were Trump people. But this is what the nation’s whites wanted and this is where the nation is. It’s morally disgusting.