It is wrongheaded, when not outright dishonest, for those who scapegoat immigrants to argue that they want the US government to concern itself with the needs of US citizens rather than the needs of the undocumented. More repression of the undocumented will not benefit US citizens. The expansion of the powers of the federal government will absolutely be used against US citizens as well as the undocumented. This is already taking place today.

Those who advocate for more state violence against the undocumented are not sincerely concerned with the rights or welfare of US citizens. Rather, they are so deeply invested in racist injustice that, in order to see more people of color suffer, they are willing to embolden the US government to intensify its oppression of everyone outside the ruling class.

If these bigots truly want more resources to be dedicated to meeting the needs of poor US citizens, all they have to do is turn on the billionaires who are hogging all the wealth in the United States—the demagogues like Donald Trump, whose boots they lick, who are counting on the racism of the white working class to keep the riches of the exploiters safe while the poor and desperate fight among themselves.

In this context, the bravery and clarity of Willem Van Spronsen’s action stands out as a signal fire showing the way. It is a rational response to the intensifying authoritarianism of our time and a compassionate affirmation of the value of all human beings regardless of laws and government policies.