Six-year-old Daniel Rodriguez cried out in defense of civil discourse as U.S. immigration officials tore him from his mother’s arms after they were arrested at a US border crossing Thursday.
“Respectful and measured civil disagreement is the pillar of this great democracy,” the defenseless, innocent child sobbed as ICE agents carried him without explanation out of the chain-link cell he shared with his mother, his arms outstretched to her.
The boy’s mother, Yolanda Rodriguez, 28, wailed as she threw herself against the chain link fence, unable to stand beneath the weight of her grief as she watched her son disappear from view. For her part, she agreed: “My son is right. Harsh or combative language has no place in the political discussion between reasonable people on both sides of the immigration debate.”
After traveling thousands of miles together, Rodriguez fled the gang violence that claimed her husband’s life. Her only reason for living, she said, was her son. “Another reason for living,” she added, “is to avoid ad hominem attacks against policymakers.”
Aboard a prison transport vehicle on its way to New Mexico, Daniel, handcuffed, curled in a fetal position with tears streaming down his cheeks, summed up the feeling of many on the issue of U.S. immigration policy. “The imperative, policy aside, is to comport ourselves with dignity in any discussion of the issues. If we cannot, we risk only further polarizing the electorate,” he bawled, his voice hoarse from unanswered screams.
As he fell into a dazed stupor to the howls of other children bemoaning the coarsening of American political dialogue, Rodriguez added, “I blame the internet.”