Letters to the editor: 10-10-17

If police won’t enforce civil law, why are they assisting ICE agents?

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If police won’t enforce civil law, why are they assisting ICE agents?

The “Locked out” article on Sunday made a point that to carry out an eviction under Hawaii’s Landlord Tenant Act, a law enforcement officer is required to evict under the court’s order if the tenants don’t move voluntarily.

As the article points out, landlord tenant law is a civil matter and squatters in abandoned houses cannot be removed by the police because the police consider it to be a civil matter. I have on good authority that the police, however, are cooperating and facilitating Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to search for persons who are unlawfully in the country by doing such things as knocking on the door and letting ICE walk into the open door.

What many citizens do not know is that unlawful presence in the United States is a civil matter not a criminal matter. The act of entry across our border may be criminal if proved beyond a reasonable doubt, but presence without lawful authority is a civil matter. If our police will not enforce civil law, then why are they assisting ICE agents in enforcing civil law? It is not a crime to be in the United States. Maybe our police should focus on enforcing state laws in the one area where they are tasked to do so — Landlord tenant law — and leave ICE to do their own work.

Barbara Franklin

Honokaa

We are all ohana vs. not in my backyard

Let’s move homeless people to the Hope Services parking lot. Let’s move them near the high school, by the civic center and the cops. Not near the high school, they will deal drugs and kidnap our kids. Put them somewhere else!

Let’s begin the discussion on homelessness by changing the verbiage. Houseless versus homeless. Some people are without a house. They lack shelter and as a result are unsafe. That is a tragedy. No one should feel physically unsafe. Ever.

There is, however, a greater tragedy, and that is that many houseless people are also homeless. People define home as, “where the heart is.” When our houseless community members have become ostracized by their community, judged, and stigmatized, they begin to feel as though their heart has nowhere to rest.

How do I know this? I have been both houseless and homeless. Many people assumed I was lazy, addicted to drugs, evil, violent, deserved to be in the situation I was in. I was sick and hurt and hopeless. I needed a second chance or an 18th chance. I needed someone to talk to me and not about me. I needed love.

We like to throw around the phrase, “We are all ohana,” but we also say, “Not in my backyard.” Where should our houseless community members live? Not near our parks, not near our schools, not near our tourist attractions, not in an area that will lower property values. What happened to ohana?

The problem is that we are only trying to provide homeless people with houses instead of trying to give them a home.

Many of our houseless and homeless community members need assistance that the average person cannot help with. This is true. However, there is much we can do.

Will you join me in volunteering to bring a meal, striking up a conversation, playing a game of chess or cards, donating some towels, teaching a skill, listening, and bringing love back to our homeless Ohana?

It doesn’t cost one penny to smile at someone.

Money may be lacking, but there should be no shortage of love in the Aloha State.

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Zahava Zaidoff

Captain Cook