Our View: Bring Landa home
There are things that we absolutely can’t condone. Count breaking the law among them.
That’s what makes it so difficult to form an opinion on the arrest of Rita Landa — a woman who was in this country illegally, was arrested and likely will be deported because of it. But, there are aspects of the case that should cause concern regardless of Landa’s homeland and citizenship status.
Perhaps you have to actually travel to Mexico to get a true idea of the living conditions many face. Blocks away from a resort hotel, 15-member families live in a one- or two-bedroom cement block house. Water is often unpotable, and sanitation facilities can be nearly nonexistent. Jobs that pay any more than a few dollars a day are scarce.
It’s easy to see why someone would seek a better life however they could — legally or illegally — if not for themselves, then for their children.
Rita’s husband, Alvaro, crossed to America before he was old enough to know or understand the implications. It took him 12 years to get a green card — a prospect so daunting that many immigrants don’t bother.
And in Rita Landa’s case it’s easy to see why. She came here illegally looking for a better life. She was doing everything she could to make it right, even though that could cause her to be deported and likely separated from her husband and two children.
She had an impossible choice — live illegally with her family or try to change her status and risk being separated from them.
Rita Landa entered this country illegally on multiple occasions. We disagree with that. However, we also disagree with our government using the process immigrants undergo to become legal residents to entrap them. Giving the Landas hope that Rita could establish temporary residency, luring the couple to Denver on the pretext of filling out an application and then detaining Rita was simply wrong.
This country cannot afford a free-flowing border. At the same time, the steps we have taken — mostly more enforcement along the border and lengthy, cumbersome legal immigration processes — have not proven successful either. Statistics indicate that the number of illegal immigrants in this country continues to increase even as we spend more money to stop it. There has to be a better way, but setting up wives and mothers for deportation isn’t it.
This country was formed by those looking to make a better life for themselves. We should not be surprised that Mexican and other Central American immigrants attempt to do the same.
By all accounts, Rita Landa has been living in Crag for years with her husband and two daughters. Far from being a burden on our community, she is a contributor. Conservative estimates indicate there are 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Surely one of those 12 million is a better candidate for a government sting operation that leads to deportation.
Instead of being deported, Rita Landa should be considered for temporary residency. Until that application process is completed, Rita Landa should be allowed to return to her family in Craig, the town she has called home for more than a dozen years.
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