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EDITORIAL: Town Hall sets example worth emulating

| February 25, 2024 1:00 AM

Like a poisonous snake, the email slithered from inbox to inbox.

“Illegals in CDA,” its subject line declared, backed up by photos that allegedly showed illegal aliens wandering about our fair burg.

The recent email was alarming, threatening and filled with a jaw-dropping blend of misinformation and mental illness.

Just one brief excerpt:

“I learned from a reliable source, a local business owner that we have a real bad illegal alien problem here in CDA. The pictures above show some of these guys wandering around. They’re riding on bicycles with duffle bags on their backs. These parasites are being flown from the border to Boise by the Biden administration and then bused to different towns and cities all over Idaho paid for by the Catholic church posing as an NGO laundering tax money from the federal government to pay for the transportation of the illegals and giving them a monthly stipend that is more money than Idaho citizens get from social Security after working their whole adult life.”

The email was forwarded by people who should know better. Thankfully, some local leaders are stepping up to set the record straight.

A recent town hall tackled the issue head-on. It featured Sheriff Bob Norris, Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Stan Mortensen, and Lloyd Easterling, chief patrol agent of the Spokane sector for U.S. Border Patrol.

Here’s The Press article in case you missed it: https://shorturl.at/aiAGZ

The law enforcement experts emphasized that rumors of an illegal alien invasion are greatly exaggerated. Norris confirmed that a number of workers — and we emphasize the word “workers,” because these people are not freeloaders — have been checked and all possessed valid temporary employment visas. 

Norris, Mortensen and Easterling also reminded the audience that the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights to anyone on American soil, including protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

Easterling, the border patrol agent, further struck a humanitarian tone that is more in line with what North Idahoans typically embody. Of non-criminals he said, “We always want to make sure the folks we come in contact with, at a bare minimum, are released in a place where they’re safe. That’s what we owe to anyone.”  

The border issue is indeed a crisis which should be the focus of unanimous, bipartisan action. But frantic, malicious rumor mongering so eagerly consumed and regurgitated undermines law and order. It does not speak well of our species.

A deep thanks goes to those who organized and participated in this valuable town hall. The community would benefit greatly from more of the same.