The immigration rally last weekend in Kansas City, Kan., certainly raised questions worth thinking about: What happens to a family when one of the adults is taken away if he is deported under immigration laws? What are the later effects on a family, including children growing up without a parent present? How much extra is society going to have to pay in assistance to families and services, and so on, when there is the lack of a parent present?
The group’s spokesman has said she doesn’t feel they were being heard by Kansas officials, so they took their message to the town hall meeting and later to Kansas Secretary of State Kobach’s Piper home. But Kobach wasn’t home.
Earlier this week, the focus of their appearance was being shifted to how they protested, rather than the immigration issues. Some Wyandotte Countians were saying the group shouldn’t have gone to Kobach’s home to protest. There were some reports that the police were looking into filing charges.
Certainly, protests are allowed here, but the group probably should have checked with a local attorney before taking the protest to a local home, to see what was required under the local ordinances. I wasn’t there, but videos that have been posted online showed a large group standing outside Kobach’s Piper home. Whether or not they were in violation of local ordinances on where they can stand, or whether a lot of people are allowed to go up to a door and ring a doorbell, is a matter someone else will determine. I didn’t see, on the videos, any destructive behavior.
While I don’t know at the time of this writing whether they violated any local ordinances, I do know the group may have lost the good will of the local residents who might otherwise have supported their position. I believe the action at Kobach’s home was ill advised, and not effective. If he had been at home, it could have been intimidating.
I generally support the free speech rights of everyone, even including the Westboro Baptist Church, although I don’t always agree with the messages the groups are stating. The remedy, if you disagree with what one of these groups is saying, is to speak up with your own opinion. I think more people ought to speak up, and not be afraid of stating their beliefs.
In a general sense, (not considering the legal or technical points here), the symbolism of empty shoes was a very effective way to convey their message of “Who will fill my shoes when I am deported? Who will feed, clothe, house my children? Who will love them?”
I suggest that we would be much better off pondering those questions than worrying about where a group of people was standing. Major national policy questions do not exist in a vacuum. When one decision is made, such as to deport someone, it affects many more people, and it is very costly, both in dollars and in broken families, to society.
Mary Rupert is the editor of the Wyandotte Daily News, and may be reached at email@example.com. If you have an opinion on this or any other subject that you want to share with our readers, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name and contact information.