Go ahead and play your word games and tell me about the cruelty
of borders, the kindness of sanctuary cities and the political
wisdom of abolishing ICE.
Tell me about government’s lack of compassion, and of the
heartbreak of families separated from each other through broken
Tell me how racist it is, how cruel it is to think that a nation
should control its own borders and stop, rather than reward,
And then tell me about Mollie Tibbetts.
The 20-year-old University of Iowa student was separated from
her family too.
She was separated from those she loved a month ago, when she
went jogging near her home near Des Moines. Her accused killer,
Cristhian Bahena Rivera, authorities said, was in the country
illegally. He worked at a large dairy farm owned by a prominent
His lawyers, seeking a gag order in the case, insist Rivera is
here legally. The truth will eventually come out, as well as the
circumstances of her death, with an autopsy to be performed.
Investigators said her alleged killer stalked her, approached
her, then said he blacked out and couldn’t remember much. But he
remembered enough to help police find her body in a cornfield.
And ever since, Mollie Tibbetts has been pulled at by politics.
Democrats who want the Latino vote ignore her or they pivot,
smoothly, making their pitch for “compassionate” immigration
policy and attacking President Donald Trump.
Republicans who are pushing stronger border control use her as
an emotional symbol. Republicans whose agribusiness political
contributors want cheap labor for their packing houses and their
farms avoid her, as if she was never here.
Apparently, they really don’t mind a few dead Americans if they
can keep to their political talking points.
And Trump, who rode to the White House by tapping into a real,
desperate and bipartisan American desire to stop illegal
immigration, disfigures the debate. He exaggerates the threat of
crime by those in the country illegally, making it seem as if
they’re driving a violent national crime spree when statistics
But victims of violent immigrants here illegally are more than
mere statistics or a point from which to pivot and attack.
They’re more than broken eggs in the political policy wars.
They were real people. They lived real lives. They were loved.
They were daughters and sons and husbands and wives. And they
are dead, the result of immigration policy and partisan politics.
Because if we actually did something about illegal immigration,
rather than shout at each other and play politics, Mollie
Tibbetts would be alive today.
She’d be alive like so many others would be alive.
Kate Steinle would be alive. She wouldn’t have died while
walking along a pier in San Francisco with her father when a
habitual criminal here illegally fired a gun. He claimed it was
all an accident and was acquitted of murder.
“Help me, Dad,” were her last words.
We don’t know the last words of Dennis McCann of Chicago. But
he’d be alive too.
Instead, McCann was dragged to his death under a car driven by a
drunk in Chicago in 2012. McCann was hit so hard that his shoes
were left on the pavement. The rest of him was pulled a half-
mile under the car along Logan Boulevard.
The drunk was jailed and charged, but under an allegedly
compassionate policy pushed by Cook County Democrats pandering
for Latino votes, the driver, Saul Chavez, was not held for
pickup by federal immigration authorities.
He was compassionately allowed to make bail. And once out on the
street, Saul Chavez fled back home to Mexico. And there were no
real answers for McCann’s horrified and stunned family.
All they were given were vague, political regrets and mind-
numbing Democratic Party talk by Cook County Board President
Toni Preckwinkle about process and writs. Preckwinkle’s a
powerful political boss. McCann is dead. Chavez is gone.
So please, tell me about political cruelty.
Trump vaulted to the top of the Republican presidential pile by
targeting illegal immigration. The Republican establishment was
not pleased. And Democrats campaigning against Trump use his
exaggerations as reason to avoid victims like Tibbetts.
Or step over them quickly, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a
Massachusetts Democrat and presumptive candidate for president,
did on CNN the other day.
“I’m so sorry for the family here and I know this is hard not
only for her family but for the people in her community, the
people throughout Iowa,” Warren said.
Warren will go through Iowa next year and eat corn and talk
about close-knit families and demonstrate warmth as she
campaigns in what her aides will call “the heartland.” She might
pick up a pork chop and pose in farm clothes next to a bale of
But she stepped over Mollie Tibbets and then it was time for her
pivot, a pivot that was ruthless as it was obvious in its
“Last month, I went down to the border and I saw where children
had been taken away from their mothers,” Warren said on CNN. “I
met with those mothers — who had been lied to, who didn’t know
where their children were, who didn’t have a chance to talk to
their children. And there was no plan for how they would be
reunified with their children.”
Sen. Warren, isn’t that horrifying, parents not knowing the
whereabouts of their children, not having a chance to say
Like the parents of Mollie Tibbetts, after their daughter went
out for a run, never to come home.