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home : opinions : letters to the editor
August 19, 2019

7/11/2019 7:30:00 AM
One Immigrant's Story

To the Editor:

Last month, members of First Congregational United Church of Christ met one of "those people" who President Trump wants us to despise. She didn't speak English and had no money or a job. She was not a drug dealer, criminal or rapist as our President would like us to believe. In Nicaragua, she was a Spanish professor and a pastor who was arrested for protesting against her government in support of more resources for the elderly. Twenty-six students were killed in these protests.

In jail, she was beat up and tortured until she was unconscious. She spent four days there without needed medical attention. She was told not to go home because her family would be killed, so she left the country, leaving behind three sons and a 106-year-old mother.

She made the long journey north on foot and by hitchhiking. She arrived in the U.S. and was arrested. For seven days, she could not shower, brush her teeth and was not given shoes or clothes. She was detained in a cooler, which she said was cold and was only given a foil blanket. She was held in custody by our government for seven months.

She was in Rhinelander at our church to thank members for helping to pay her $12,500 bail to get out of detention. Twelve U.S. churches pitched in to raise the bail.

She is now facing a hearing to determine her status. Her story was translated for us so many details are missing. By her account, she was treated badly by her government for trying to protect the rights of the elderly. After her life-threatening experience and long difficult trip north, our government deprived her of basic human necessities in detention.

It was clear that she would rather be home with her family than in the U.S. and it is obvious that she is a loving, grateful human being who has suffered much for trying to right an injustice.

This is hardly a person to despise and certainly not a criminal nor a threat to our wellbeing. Don't let our President make you hate her or others like her seeking refuge and freedom from oppression.

Pam McVety

Friend of First Congregational UCC


Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019
Article comment by: Merlin Van Buren

Mr Holmes you did not meet the woman, as I did. But yet you are the judge and jury, and claim to know everything . Open your mind, your eyes and your heart. What our President is doing in our name is disgusting. As a Christian I stand in direct opposition to what is happening at our border.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019
Article comment by: Topher Mehlhoff

Mr. Holmes,

I am the pastor of First Congregational UCC. I would like to hear your side of this issue. I believe very passionately that good people like Imelda are being grievously mistreated by our government, but I also believe you are loved by God and deserve to be heard. Please call the church office at 715-365-1535 to set up an appointment.


Rev. Topher Mehlhoff

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2019
Article comment by: Brian Holmes

So now this unnamed woman is a pawn of a left-wing church, going around the country to gin up support for open borders? Her story is not convincing.

With nothing to sustain her, she goes through the countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico? Most of us would have simply crossed over into Honduras, and then free of the Communist state, picked up the phone and called our loving family and told them to hightail over the border to freedom in Honduras. Why come here?

I’m sorry, but one of the reasons I left California almost 30 years ago was the illegals running through my neighborhood at all hours. Our government has ignored its citizens on this question for at least that long. I pray Trump can move the needle far enough to overcome the “progressive” (I use the term ironically) open-borders death wish.

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