In a Monday piece, The New York Times served up one of the conundrums of Trumpism on a platter, steaming like a just-seared mound of fajitas. On the one hand ….
Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco — just Carlos to the people of West Frankfort — has been the manager of La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant in this city of 8,000, for a decade. Yes, he always greeted people warmly at the cheerfully decorated restaurant, known for its beef and chicken fajitas. … [O]ne night last fall, when the Fire Department was battling a two-alarm blaze, Mr. Hernandez suddenly appeared with meals for the firefighters. How he hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at the restaurant last summer as police officers were facing criticism around the country. How he took part in just about every community committee or charity effort — the Rotary Club, cancer fund-raisers, cleanup days, even scholarships for the Redbirds, the high school sports teams, which are the pride of this city.
On the other:
Ask residents of this coal-mining crossroads about President Trump’s decision to crack down on undocumented immigrants and most offer no protest. Mr. Trump, who easily won this mostly white southern Illinois county, is doing what he promised, they say. As Terry Chambers, a barber on Main Street, put it, the president simply wants “to get rid of the bad eggs.”
Carlos, beloved pillar of the community, recently got picked up in an immigration raid. And now some of the upstanding citizens of West Frankfort, Ill., are flummoxed.
“I think people need to do things the right way, follow the rules and obey the laws, and I firmly believe in that,” said Lori Barron, the owner of Lori’s Hair A’Fairs, a beauty salon. “But in the case of Carlos, I think he may have done more for the people here than this place has ever given him. I think it’s absolutely terrible that he could be taken away.”
I can’t think of a more apt snapshot of Trump’s immigration policy: demonize, hound, and when possible, and detain the very people who feed us. Before Trump is done, I’m guessing that a lot more Americans will be feeling the bewilderment now sweeping West Frankfort.