|John Garland: Immigration department "is broken."|
In a nutshell, City Council candidates were asked at a forum to give a "yes" or "no" response to whether they favored Sanctuary City status, something few of them knew anything about and a complex issue at the very least. All who were present said they favored it, but then Michelle Dykstra, whom I had endorsed, came back later with a reversal. I will sit down with her later today to talk about it, but I have since I withdrawn my endorsement of her over the disagreement.
In any case, John has said all along that he does not have a full understanding of the status and that has not changed, even though he has spent a lot of time studying it. Goodlatte said, in effect, that Sanctuary Cities were overrun with criminal rogue immigrants who were in the country illegally. He gave an example of an immigrant who was let go from a detention center and committed a crime. One example. There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants in this country and millions of others who are here legally. Many of them have wound up arrested and held without charges because they have accents. Goodlatte found one who was a criminal.
Goodlatte's public act of bigotry, racism, xenophobia and ignorance apparently had some effect with people advising council candidates because at least one reneged and others won't talk. John, a man of great integrity and the person running for council I feel best about, has had considerable personal experience with an immigration department that he considers "broken," as he puts it. This is a federal department that can do pretty much as it pleases and answer to nobody. Good people are lost in the system on an hourly basis and nobody seems to care, except those directly involved. I submit that we are a better people than that and that we do care; we just don't know.
This issue, made so public by a hard right Republican xenophobe's protestations, is not important in the overall scheme of things locally, but it does serve to show us which candidates for City Council have integrity and whose beliefs are stronger than those of a Republican congressman who has been bought by people like the Koch brothers for many years. There is no integrity at all in his service.
John is concentrating his campaign on giving the people of Roanoke a voice on council, on figuring out how to make things work without necessarily having to spend a lot of money, on re-creating the kind of neighborhood centers that make cities thrive. He has a great deal of experience working with an often dysfunctional city government as co-owner of an architectural/engineering firm that bid for quite a few city jobs. He knows what's wrong and how to fix it.
The Sanctuary Cities flap was sprung on these candidates who did not respond well. John is responding honestly and I respect that, so my endorsement of him remains strong.