ThinkProgress has a story that is both inspiring and appalling. The inspiring part is a man named Mark Lane and his family, who took in a Guatemalan family that came to the US fleeing violence until they could have their immigration hearing. The appalling part is the reaction of xenophobic bigots, who bombarded his business with fake bad reviews and raged against him for doing so.
Lane decided soon after the conversation that he would illustrate what compassion meant by sheltering a family fleeing violence in Guatemala. But the decision to take in the family has also made him the target of threatening emails, falsified Yelp reviews, phone calls, and death threats by anti-immigrant activists.
“I needed to show my three boys that we don’t use hate,” Lane recently told ThinkProgress…
The mom and three children (one daughter and two sons) are currently occupying one of two spare rooms in the Lane family home. “This family suffered trauma,” Lane explained. “They were so scared they piled into the same room. I let them bond with my wife in the first few days.”
But when word spread that Lane was hosting the family, people viciously attacked him online with a Facebook page calling for a boycott of his business, Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company. One commentator on the now-defunct Facebook page recommended that he “needs a serious beating in front of his customers. But then he serves crap food. His establishment is rat infested and smells like raw sewage.” Lane said that he and his family have been also receiving death threats, which he said he has now reported to the local police department’s hate crime division and even the Department of Justice.Since the Guatemalan family came to stay with the Lanes four weeks ago, they went from being “hollow-eyed and watching me” to becoming “more animated, more relaxed. They’re in a safe environment and it kind of feels like bringing home a baby from the hospital.” He recalled that the mother was anguished when he used Google Earth to pull up an image of the Guatemalan city they had fled from. She told him, “That’s where I should die a normal death, but we can never go back there. If we go back, we will get killed.” He said that the family would likely stay with him for another month before they find relatives to wait out their immigration court hearings.
The organization that arranged for the Lane family to help out this Guatemalan family is called Border Angels. You can volunteer to be a host family for them and to do all sorts of other things they do to help immigrants.