Last night, Alec, a senior forestry major at Humboldt State University, offered Jeffrey the Eureka Co-op’s old-people discount. It saved us 13¢ on a loaf of bread. Then they got to talking about bicycles. Then talk turned to asylum law. Alec is a nice guy; his jaw dropped when Jeffrey told him that our government, in our names, sends 5-year-olds to court without a lawyer.
This morning we met Daniel, who immigrated from Romania . . .
. . . and Albert, a member of the Yurok First Nation who has Hawaiian, Portuguese, and African-American background, and who immigrated from Yurok territory around Klamath, California.
Both men provide medical transport for people needing treatment in California and Oregon. Daniel was in a hurry and wished us luck. Albert stopped to talk awhile. He works hard to teach and support his five children, and welcomes people of any nationality who share his values of labor and family.
Jeffrey pegged these breakfasting Canadians right away, from their accent and reference to “porridge”.
They were on their way to play golf in Palm Springs. Jeffrey asked their opinion about refugees coming to Canada. Dave’s response: “Let them come.”
Vipul, seen here holding one of our Human Rights First Ambassador cards . . .
. . . and his extended family moved to the U.S. from near Mumbai. He makes no fuss about people’s origins. That’s the American way.
We took a spin around Eureka. In the rain, of course. It has seedy parts and fancy parts. Rich architecture. Classy shops and a waterfront park.
After 10 miles of soaking, we left for Klamath, where Albert said his people would be welcoming.
Paul was welcoming indeed.
Paul founded and runs several businesses, including a salmon fishery. He took time from his flood control work to give Jeffrey a history of the Yurok people. He showed us photos of Yurok salmon cooking, and of his grandparents.
Paul talked of traditional fishing, problems with Federal bureaucrats and overreaching businesses, the balance of nature, the law of unintended consequences, and more—a real education for us. As for refugees, Paul is a gentle person who doesn’t turn away when people suffer. He gets along with everyone, including neighbors and (now) family from Russia and Mexico.
Too bad Paul had no salmon jerky to sell.
At Paul’s suggestion, we went to the overlook high above the mouth of the Klamath River.
Rain has consequences. We were stopped by, then escorted past, two landslides north of Klamath.
In Crescent City, we met Sylvia, an artist who moved to California from Cuba, NY (SE of Buffalo), in 1960.
Sylvia turns 80 tomorrow!
Sylvia is a devout Christian who lives generously according to her faith. Yet she is troubled by what she sees as Central American asylum seekers’ violations of law.
Sylvia listened patiently as Jeffrey explained that our country’s export of criminals helped create conditions that drive Central Americans from their homes. Jeffrey talked about the lack of lawyers for asylum applicants, the mistreatment of detained families who are dumped at bus stations to fend for themselves, the impossibility of getting visas for workers our economy needs, and more. There was far more to tell than even one as smart and patient as Sylvia could absorb in a first encounter.
Jeffrey listened respectfully as Sylvia told him some of the bases of her faith. She spoke of Divine love for everyone, and of a hundred prophesies fulfilled—again, far more to tell than Jeffrey could absorb in a first encounter.
Jeffrey promised to consider what Sylvia told him. We hope in turn that she will consider Jeffrey’s point that it is our law and our priorities that are a problem, not the sensible and honorable behavior of desperate refugees.
Then, as the sun set over Crescent City harbor. . .
. . . we enjoyed our first dry sky in five days.