The Cosmopolitan Review: March 2 - March 8

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 3/2/2017, 11:21 a.m.

The Thursday, Feb. 23, edition of Crain’s New York Business magazine featured an article written by Tom Acitelli titled, “NYPD to Defy Trump on Expanded Deportation Policy.” The following was stated: “New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said his department would not enforce the Trump administration’s expanded deportation policy for undocumented immigrants. O’Neill said the department would continue to work with immigration officials when the public’s safety is at risk but would not enforce federal deportation warrants tied to minor offenses or abuse of government benefits [Daily News].”

Call me insensitive, but something about this policy doesn’t seem fair. One morning while driving my daughter to school, I circumvented hordes of traffic by driving a block in a bus-only lane because we were running late, and I was trying my best to get her there on time. Less than a week later, I received a summons in the mail for driving in a bus-only lane. The summons contained a picture of my license plate and a fine for an outrageous amount, with a warning that if I didn’t pay within 30 days a warrant would be issued for my arrest (or something close to that). I think it is safe to say this is a “petty offense,” but had I not paid the fine, do you honestly think the summons would not have been enforced with all of the vigor and authority possible?

A couple of years ago, I was running late for work. The subway train was pulling into the station. If I could catch this train, I would make it on time, if I missed it, I would be late. Hurriedly, I swiped my MetroCard. For some reason, it was unreadable and after several tries, I did what any New Yorker would do. As someone was coming out of the gate to the platform, I went in because there was still a chance I could get on the train. Suddenly, out of nowhere, two of the biggest, burliest men you ever want to see appear. They surround me, flash badges and ask me to step aside. As they have me pinned against the wall, staring at me intensely, daring me to move a muscle, I sadly see the subway pull out of the station. While hardly breathing and sweating profusely, I am allowed to show my I.D. I explain how my monthly MetroCard, which costs a small fortune each month, was unreadable by the turnstile, so I proceeded through the door. A petty offense wouldn’t you say? However, as far as they were concerned, that was a poor excuse. I was issued a summons, which required me to take a morning off from work to appear before the magistrate, stand in a line up with roughly 55 other people, and as they went down the line, one-by-one, we had to admit that we were “guilty.” It was humiliating to say the least. And oh yes, and I also had to pay a fine.

Now let’s get to the real nitty-gritty. Call me illiterate, prejudice, bias, un-American, mean, hateful, the scourge of the Earth, but do you mean to tell me that I, unable to take a vacation around the corner because I have to pay taxes to support government funding for programs for those in need (I am in need, too, but that’s beside the point), am to support a mandate that will not issue or enforce warrants against undocumented immigrants who are abusing governmental benefits? What?