Almost 70 percent residents of West Frankfort, Illinois, voted for President Donald Trump during 2016 election. They supported his policies — or at least a few of them — and believed he would bring jobs back to the small town that relies heavily on coal mining.
However, things changed last month, after the officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested their beloved Mexican restaurant owner, Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco. The 38-year-old undocumented immigrant lived in West Frankfurt for more than a decade and was a model citizen.
The town erupted in anger over his arrest, demanding authorities released him.
Mayor Tom Jordan, the police chief, the high school athletic director and the county prosecutor all came to his defense, sending out letters of support for the local business man and praising him for his robust civic involvement — including funding school scholarships, benefit dinners for families in need and hosting a law enforcement appreciation event.
Pacheco, who was released shortly and is very grateful to his town folks, recently appeared on CNN commentator Van Jones’ “The Messy Truth,” where he not only shared his tale but also brought along a friend, Tim Grisby, who supported Trump but still stood up for the immigrant.
“I’m confused, sir,” Jones addressed Grisby after asking the audience a round of applause. “Trump said he was going to deport a bunch of people, Trump said he’s gonna build a wall, and then you voted for the man, and then he started deporting people and you said ‘no.’ I’m confused.”
Grisby’s response was straightforward.
“I really wasn’t confused myself,” the Illinois resident began. “Obviously with any politician you don’t stand for everything they’re gonna preach and try to portray to you. The immigration policy to me is not, you know, building a wall is kinda ludicrous to me, it’s not the solution to the problem. But once you step back and may be take a look at the immigration reform, and address the real issues, that’s where he needs to be putting his resources.”
When asked why he voted for Trump, Grisby reiterated the same point: his is a coal-mining town and Trump’s promises to bring back coal jobs really resonated with him — proving that not all Trump supporters are racist, but by making the choice to vote for him, they have opened a Pandora's box they cannot control.
The business mogul’s racist policies and xenophobic attitude towards immigrants has created an environment of fear of the minority community, forcing them to live in constant terror of being arrested by immigration officials.
The Trump administration’s recent deportation crackdown saw several hundred arrests. A number of sources have also confirmed the government is weighing a proposal to separate mothers from their children if they are caught crossing into the United States illegally. Moreover, the president also called for a new federal agency VOICE — Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement — to legalize the targeting of unregistered citizens.
The fact remains there are millions of people like Pacheco across the country who are not just role models for others but have also done so much for their communities that it would be disservice to the country to send them away.
Watch Van Jones’ complete segment in the video above.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Eric Thayer