Saturday, June 25, 2011

Everything is okay…

Today I got up early and heard some crying outside my window. My next door neighbor Rapahel was being deported for not showing up to court for a minor traffic infraction which was not even his fault. His two daughters, his wife and son were all sobbing as he was handcuffed and brought to a police vehicle parked out on Lake street. I immediately went to talk with Sylvia his wife. We held hands and prayed quietly to Our Lady of Guadalupe for guidance and direction. Sylvia explained the situation through her tears and it was clear she was very distraught but had faith that everything would be okay. The children were the ones took it hard.We called Father Manuel from our local Catholic church to see if anything could be done on the short term. He is a strong influence in the Spanish Community here in Calistoga.

Because I don’t speak Spanish very well, I was only capable of picking out certain words as the phone was passed onto Sylvia as she was consoled in her grief. It was Tuesday and I went to bag up groceries at our local Food Bank. Thankfully I was able to get a few bags for the Ayala family. When Wednesday arrived, I learned that Raphael was transported to a San Diego Immigration office where he awaited extradition.He spoke with the family and explained that he was being treated fairly, and that he was fed during his trip south. This was the month where Immigration sweeps usually take place in the Napa Valley, according to the secretary at the Catholic Church in St. Helena.

When the weekend came we learned that Raphael had made it safely to his mother’s house in Michoacan, Mexico. The family is now seeking legal help to get him back with his family here. If not, they may all return to Mexico.

Father Brinkle who is another pastor around here who has dedicated most of his life as an advocate for the Hispanic Community ever since the days of Ceasar Chavez. He is a good resource for these type of situations I have learned. Since this happened, I have been invited to attend a meeting with all the parties concerned to be held at the church on the 28th of this month.

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