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About The daily Astorian. (Astoria, Or.) 1961-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 11, 2017)
THE DAILY ASTORIAN • MONDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2017
Founded in 1873
JIM VAN NOSTRAND
JOHN D. BRUIJN
Immigration actions chill press, speech freedoms
he detention of 15-year Ocean Park, Washington,
resident Baltazar “Rosas” Aburto Gutierrez by U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement ought to worry
even those who vigorously defend the Trump administration’s
deportation policies. It chews away at essential American values.
Aburto Gutierrez spoke to a
detained by ICE this year. This hardly
Chinook Observer writer for the series
qualifies as a wholesale roundup.
“Stories From the Heart” about local
However, its impacts extend far
ICE arrests of residents lacking for-
beyond simply those 50 individuals.
mal immigration status. With his con-
In Aburto Gutierrez’s case, the ini-
sent, he was identified by a nickname.
tial arrest and deportation of his part-
He also was easy to identify from the
ner, Gladys Diaz, broke up a stable
circumstances of his story, which can
family. Diaz and the couple’s three
be read at tinyurl.com/Rosas-Aburto-
girls — ages 4, 7 and 12 — are now
Gutierrez. He was later included,
getting by in a beautiful but crime-in-
anonymously, in a Seattle Times arti-
fested area of Mexico’s Pacific Coast.
cle about ICE’s activities in Pacific
The two youngest girls are U.S. cit-
County, where undocumented immi-
izens. The 12-year-old and 7-year-
grants are employed in the aquacul-
old will no longer be taught in Ocean
ture, farming and hos-
Beach School District.
The shellfish operation
After his arrest,
that relied on Aburto
Aburto Gutierrez said
Gutierrez is with-
an agent told him: “My
out a highly regarded
supervisor asked me to
worker. Gladys’ little
come find you because
business making piña-
of what appeared in the
tas is no more.
to all in our
The family will
With one old $100
probably adjust to its
traffic ticket to his
name, Aburto Gutierrez
But the Long Beach
has a cleaner record
Peninsula is poorer for
than some locals who applaud his
arrest. He is in no sense one of the
serious criminals ICE is supposed
Judging from social media com-
to prioritize. So why was Aburto
ments about the Aburto Gutierrez
Gutierrez arrested? Was it in retal-
story, there are many who regard
iation for daring to be an “uppity
informal immigration as an unfor-
Mexican” willing to speak up? Was
givable crime. Often ignorant about
his arrest meant to be a warning to all
how their own ancestors arrived
other immigrants to keep their mouths
in America, they nevertheless are
shut? “Yes” is the obvious answer to
supremely judgmental about others.
Why might they want to reexamine
The 2010 U.S. Census counted
1,677 Hispanic residents in Pacific
County, undoubtedly a significant
underestimate since many without
documents are known to dodge enu-
merators. Around 50 have now been
their opinions with regard to this
“Family values” voters should
care about breaking up families
and about the school district losing
kids. Economic leaders should
care about depriving industries of
Baltazar “Rosas” Aburto Gutierrez at work on Willapa Bay.
And we should all be troubled
when a government agency targets
someone for telling their story to the
As the Times said in an editorial,
“These actions send a terrifying mes-
sage to people who have been liv-
ing in the United States for years and
actively contributing to their commu-
nities. … ICE’s crackdown on other-
wise law-abiding immigrants under-
mines those efforts. It dissuades
them from reporting crimes, becom-
ing active in their children’s schools
and interacting with their neighbors.
Effectively, it consigns them to the
Imagine the howls of outrage if
a Democratic presidential adminis-
tration began selectively prosecut-
ing rural gun owners after they wrote
critical letters to the editor.
ICE’s actions deliberately chill
press- and free-speech freedoms,
which are guaranteed to all in our
nation, not just citizens. This is
Changes to the opinion page, letters policy
We hope you enjoy seeing some
By JIM VAN NOSTRAND
The Daily Astorian
Editorial page redesign
he Daily Astorian editorial board
announces some changes to the news-
paper’s letters policy, starting today.
First, letters to the editor will be limited
to 250 words, down from 350. This will
allow us the space to get more letters into
the newspaper, especially
during high-volume times
of the year such as election
Any letters submitted
through today will be grand-
fathered, so to speak. We’ll
run those at the length sent.
Second, all letters will be subject to
greater scrutiny for tone and civility. Writers
are entitled to their opinions, regardless of
their political viewpoints. We welcome all
points of view and encourage a robust dis-
cussion of the issues of the day. But we will
not tolerate personal insults, attacks on other
letter writers or hateful rhetoric.
The goal of the greater scrutiny is to
elevate the discussion and encourage a forum
where all of our readers feel comfortable
expressing themselves in front of the com-
munity and the world.
That should not be a problem for
the great majority of our letter writers.
There have been a few writers, however,
who have pushed the boundaries of civil
discourse. Going forward, they won’t be
allowed to use some of the language they’ve
become accustomed to. Our policy has
always been that letters are subject to editing
— we will exercise that right more fre-
quently than we have in the past. Questions
about editing decisions should be directed
We will print every local letter that meets
our guidelines, even if we have to devote
more pages. Your opinions are important to
We’re experimenting with a new design
for our opinion page, which allows flexibility
for us to try new things and a fresh look for
Also, we will start publishing letters
during the week as they come in, rather
than saving them until the end of the week.
They’ll generally run first-come, first-served.
Letters about timely topics and events may
get bumped to the head of the line.
Questions? Comments? All feedback
appreciated about any of these changes. You
can email me directly at jimvan@dailyasto-
New letters policy
The editorial board is comprised of
myself, Publisher Kari Borgen, retired
Publisher Steve Forrester, retired Managing
Editor Patrick Webb and Chinook Observer
Publisher Matt Winters.
Bill Van Nostran about the separation of
church and state.
If you have an idea you’d like to pitch,
email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ideally,
we’d like to be able to run local columns and
letters every day of the week.
Op-ed columns sought
We would also like to encourage local
writers to submit longer opinion columns of
up to 1,000 words on topics of local interest.
The bar for publication of these is set
much higher than letters to the editor. They
should be well-researched and written, and
authors should have a well-rounded knowl-
edge of the subject matter.
Excellent recent examples include retired
teacher and park ranger Tom Wilson about
the Lewis and Clark expedition and pastor
You may have already noticed some dif-
ferent editorial cartoonists on our pages over
the past couple of weeks.
We’ve contracted with a service called
Cagle Cartoons to provide a more diverse
stable of dozens of voices from around
the country, such as Nate Beeler of the
Columbus Dispatch (pictured).
We’ll continue to run cartoons from Joe
Letters should be exclusive to The Daily
Letters should be fewer than 250 words
and must include the writer’s name, address
and phone number. You will be contacted to
All letters are subject to editing for space,
grammar, and, on occasion, factual accuracy.
Only two letters per writer are allowed each
Letters written in response to other letter
writers should address the issue at hand and,
rather than mentioning the writer by name,
should refer to the headline and date the let-
ter was published. Discourse should be civil
and people should be referred to in a respect-
ful manner. Letters in poor taste will not be
Send via email to editor@dailyastorian.
com, online at dailyastorian.com/submit_let-
ters, in person at 949 Exchange St. in Astoria
or 1555 North Roosevelt in Seaside, or mail
to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 210, Asto-
ria, OR 97103.
Jim Van Nostrand is editor of The Daily