The first time I learned about Garcia was a through a National Public Radio report on his family. The report inspired me to write a comprehensive post on the New Bedford Raid. I’m going to transcribe the NPR report below but keep in mind this was filed long before Garcia died. Claudio Sanchez reports:
Claudio Sanchez: A three story apartment building at the end of a
narrow steep spiral stairway, a middle-aged woman no taller than
4’10”, black hair pulled tight in a bun, answers the door of a small
apartment. A little boy clings to the woman’s dress, he groans.
“He doesn’t speak,” she says, “but he was born in this country”. As if
that somehow made up for her son’s disability. We sit at a tiny table
against the kitchen wall. It’s really dark. She’s $200 behind on the
electric bill so she’s trying to use as little electricity as
Juana in Spanish: “The problem that I’m dealing with right now…I am traumatized by the sadness of my husband…”
Claudio Sanchez: Her little boy, though, isn’t eating well. Today,
he’s upset about something. He thinks his father is coming home any
Juana in Spanish: “He looked for him and showed me his clothes. He showed me his
clothes and then looked towards the window, because he always looked
that way when he was coming home from work. Once he saw him he would
wait for him at the door.”
Claudio Sanchez: He points to his father’s clothes in the closet and
stands by the window every afternoon waiting for him to arrive from
Everything about this story points to love. A lawyer describes Garcia’s determination:
[Ondine Galvez Sniffin] noted that Mr. Garcia had a different
attitude than many of the Bianco detainees who were tired and ready to
go back to their home country.
“This man wasn’t giving up,” she said. “He was willing to stay as long as necessary to get reunited with his wife and child.”
Anti-migrant advocates and the media will paint this as a story of
enforcement, as a story of abuse. But this is a story about epic love
and devotion. It is about the lengths one man went to in order to be
reunited with his family. Most of all it is about the autistic son that he left behind. Ricardo Gomez Garcia paid with his life out of love for his son.
I wish people understood what it means to take the long and dangerous journey from Guatemala to the United States. You think Garcia wanted to do that? You think he wanted to leave everything he knew in Guatemala to provide for his family? If Garcia could have given his life to provide for his family in Guatemala, where he could be a person instead of an “illegal”, I’m sure he would of. But his life will fall on the deaf ears of the U.S. anti-migrant machine. Crisis after crisis will continue to occur in a nation that has completely lost its soul.
I’m sure people will dig up dirt on Garcia as I advertise this post. They’ll darken his name after he is no longer able to defend himself. But I’m not writing this post for Garcia, I’m writing this post for the autistic son that he had so much love for. He is innocent of the sins we are all guilty of. He is innocent of the sins of this world. Also, he’s a U.S. citizen, maybe that will make people care about him. O wait, he’s Latino, I forgot.
of those children are U.S. citizens. I dare anti-migrant advocates to
look those children in the face and tell them this is all their “criminal” parent’s fault. It is a parents’ love that forces situations like
these. Unjust laws interfere with moral law. I cannot think of laws
that are more unjust than those that interfere with the love of spouses and their children.
In a generation, these children will be able to speak for themselves and
it will be on our collective conscience that we did not do more to change what America has become.
Garcia’s son cannot speak for himself, though. He is autistic, and his
surviving mother is in the country illegally. An anti-migrant advocate
that would have this autistic child’s mother sent home, and smirks at
the death of his father, is a monster. Guatemala has very few
services for autism, and certainly not for a poor family. When I lived
in Guatemala I worked in what is one of the only places, ANINI, that provides for abandoned children with problems like autism. If U.S. citizens only knew…
I wish I could say march on the streets, call your congressional representatives, burn your passports, even, but it’s wrong to use an individual story like this to argue for my own notions of what should be done. It is for that reason that I encourage people to write checks to Father Marc Fallon of Catholic Social Services who has been instrumental in showing these New Bedford families compassion, when a nation wouldn’t. The family is looking to raise $4,000 to send Garcia’s body home. Here is the information:
Catholic Social Services
Diocese of Fall River
238 Bonney Street
New Bedford, MA 02744
If people want to use Citizen Orange’s donate form I will get all of the money to the Garcia family, and report the donations publicly on this blog. Use the Citizen Orange’s contact form if you want to figure out what else you can do.