The Wednesday Rant

May 10, 2017 | Posted in:General


I was watching a CBS 60 Minutes segment this past Sunday that was quite fascinating from a purely human behavior perspective.

One of the campaign promises made by President Trump is that he was going to crack down on illegal immigrants and in the first 100 days he has made good on that promise. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have arrested 21,000 illegals (undocumented immigrants) which is a huge step towards making America safer. 5,000 of those who were arrested have no criminal record but nonetheless they are on their way back to Mexico.

So, if you voted for DJT because you were tired of a flood of humans from Mexico taking American jobs, committing crimes and putting a burden on our systems, you can rest a little easier today, a serious dent has been made in curtailing the threat. Illegal border crossings are down as well.

That is exactly what a group of Trump supporters in Indiana cited as the reason they voted for him, but now as a friend and neighbor has been deported, they are not sure what to think.

For 20 years, they watched Roberto Beristain, start out as the cook and then become the owner of Eddie’s Steak Shed in Granger, Indiana, where he lived with his wife Helen and their three American-born children.

Beristain however came to the United States illegally to escape the abject poverty of his village in Mexico back in 1998 but eventually was able to legally secure a temporary work permit, social security card and driver’s license. He started out scrubbing pots and pans at the restaurant, worked his way up to being the chef and was eventually able to purchase the restaurant, which employs 23 people. He showed up for work most days with just the shirt on his back and in two decades became a successful business owner.

Six of Roberto’s best customers were being interviewed, all of whom praised him on every level as a business owner, community leader, father and friend. The Mayor of Granger cites him as ” A fine example of The American Dream.”

Four of the six voted for President Trump, two of whom spoke on camera and admitted that “getting rid of the bad hombre’s” was the reason for their vote. “But Roberto was a good hombre‘ ” said one man. “I don’t understand this.” 

His wife Helen, who immigrated from Greece eighteen years ago, met Roberto when he was busing tables. While on vacation they made a wrong turn at Niagara Falls and ended up at the Canadian border, unable to provide papers he was given what is called a “Final Order of Removal” and was ordered to leave the country within 60 days.

He didn’t leave. He broke the law.

The reason?

His wife was a high-risk pregnancy and he wouldn’t leave her side. So, Roberto carried on and for the past sixteen years he and his wife spent over $40,000 on lawyers trying to get him legal in the eyes of the law. After all that time and money, he was given a temporary deferral of the deportation order. All he had to do was check in once a year with ICE, do a background check and he was good to go for another year.

Roberto was certain this would lead to his long-held dream of becoming an American citizen.

On February 6th, Roberto checked in as usual at the ICE office in Indianapolis, Helen waited in the car, but Roberto never came back out. Instead, an ICE officer approached her car, informed her that her husband was being detained as a “fugitive.” Not long before, President Trump had signed an executive order making it easier to deport anyone, even those without a criminal record.

But the kicker for me?

Roberto Baristain’s wife Helen…voted for President Trump.

Not because of his immigration stance, but because she was convinced that he would make their lives easier and more prosperous because of his business prowess. When Roberto said, he was concerned about his future under the new administration, Helen said that getting rid of the bad people would make “America Great Again” and that since Roberto was on his way to being a citizen, he wasn’t not part of the problem.

” I ignored so much and only heard what I wanted to hear” she said. “I thought he was going to deport killers and gang members. I should have listened to the debates more closely I guess.” 

To date, Roberto is in Juarez, Mexico where he spends most of his time praying to Our Lady of Guadalupe to reunite him with his family.

The restaurant will never be his again, his three teen age children are stunned beyond measure.

As Helen shreds a constant stream of letters telling her to go back to Mexico (she is from Greece) and death threats against her and the family she is trying to figure out what her next steps are. Spending more money on lawyers is part of the plan, hoping to get the decision reversed, but that can take up to four years.

Much like a fishing boat that casts a large net, catching unintended fish along with the ones they are fishing for, so is the current ICE net that will take “the good hombres’” out with “the bad ones.”

The ripple effect of cherry picking information to suit a narrative and belief, can be devastating. The unintended consequences of “only hearing what we want to hear.”

Be well.


Mexican migrant Roberto Beristain eats at a migrant shelter after being deported by U.S. immigration authorities, in Ciudad Juarez

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