Governor Polis pardoning Ingrid Encalada LaTorre is a victory and first step, it is not a Christmas miracle. It is the culmination of hard work, perseverance, and faith – emanating from Ingrid and the people she inspired. In three years of living in churches with her two children, she has inspired the dedication of people of diverse faith to help her fight to win the right to stay in the US.
As a young immigrant, Ingrid made a mistake. But remember that Ingrid’s crime was simply due to being here undocumented and needing to work to support her family. Our lack of reasonable immigration policies puts immigrants in no-win situations. US businesses and consumers benefit from cheap immigrant labor, and we maintain a powerless and easily exploited underclass by refusing to pass common-sense immigration reform that acknowledges the realities of our demand for this labor. When someone like Ingrid has to commit a crime to work at a nursing home to care for our elderly, our system clearly is broken. We are dependent on immigrant laborers who care for our elderly, produce our food, and construct our buildings. Sadly, the structure of our system that forces choices like this disrespect the dignity and human rights of those who do the fundamental work that keeps our society running.
Ingrid atoned by paying taxes/fines, apologizing, and educating to make sure no one else makes a similar mistake. A community commitment to forgive and work for immigration reform will be the real Christmas miracle.
Fort Collins, Colorado