Some people in Waterville know me and some of the challenges my family has faced with my youngest son’s health, pretty much since the day we moved to Waterville over 10 years ago. Some of your children have played with mine. Some of your children have written “get well” cards to my son, who had three surgeries last year. Friends from our church and work have brought meals and cookies, DVDs, and even offered babysitting to lighten our load. And despite the fact that life keeps throwing us curve balls, even though our closest family members live a 15-hour drive away, we have never felt alone. We’ve never felt like we weren’t welcome. We’ve never felt like we didn’t belong. We’ve never felt like our community’s love and support was dependent on our political affiliation, or religious belief or our background. You have always accepted us just as we are, and we’ve really cherished that. It makes Waterville exceptional compared to some of the other places we’ve lived.

But I am sad and worried for our future. I’ve held on to my faith in our democracy, and to my hometown roots here in Waterville. Yet recently, I read about the plight of the St. Martin family, and I wondered how Waterville would respond. The rally was a good start, but I left with more worry than hope. A few city councilors attended, most did not.

Not all rights of American citizens apply to those who aren’t American citizens. I hear the legal argument. Officials are meant to enforce the laws as written, not interpret them and decide which ones are more important than others. A law is a law, and if broken, there are consequences.

But that isn’t exactly the case; laws are not applied equally to all of us. Our laws were written by the people for the people. As such, laws leave room for discretion, which is exercised every day. This prosecutorial discretion is the reason you might sometimes speed in your car and not be pulled over. Simply put, our resources and efforts are better spent elsewhere. And I know you know this.

You know the difference between right and wrong. We all do. We know there is nothing right about splitting up a family. Lexius Saint Martin broke the law. He served his time. He did what was asked of him, and I do not judge him for making a life for himself. I don’t fault him for falling in love and making a beautiful family. I don’t blame him for loving and providing for his family. And I don’t think you do either. Justice is not served by his deportation. His family is not served by his deportation. Waterville is not served by his deportation.

Prosecutorial discretion exists for a reason. You may not have the authority to exercise it, but others do.

What I ask of you is to act as our community always has acted and come to the aid of its own. I know you as the people who have shown me and my family nothing but compassion over the years. I request that you make a formal statement and do what you can to protect the Saint Martin family, our neighbors and my family.

Yes, my family. You see, I’m also here because I fear for my own family. I’ve been married for almost 23 years and my husband is a legal permanent resident. He is a green card holder and has been here legally for many years. He has not broken any laws, but I now worry, will he be next? Will it some day be my children crying themselves to sleep wondering how we will continue without their father’s income? Will we be forced to choose between keeping our family together in another country or keeping our world-class neurosurgeon?

We are not robots. We are people. We are your neighbors. We are the Saint Martins. And we all need to stick together. Families need to stay together. Waterville needs to stand together. Partisan politics have no place in matters of the heart, certainly not when our laws leave an opening precisely for such compassion.

Please don’t fail the Saint Martin family. Please don’t fail me. And please don’t fail Waterville.

Hilary Koch is a resident of Waterville. This is a version of a statement she recently gave in front of the Waterville City Council.

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