It was just one month ago, almost to the day, that Mack and I swaddled up a baby doll and took it to Kleinheider. Included was a noteexplaining that the mother was an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, who was returning to that country before she was deported, now that her beloved U.S. soldier husband had been killed in Iraq.
This morning, I read over on Punkass Blog that a woman from the Dominican Republic faces deportation even as she awaits the fate of her U.S. soldier husband missing in Iraq.
It’s not near close enough for Randi, but it’s close enough to ruin the humor of the original thing for me.
I’m an old-school, Midwestern, corrupt Democrat. If you’re in, you’re in. Your family needs a turkey at Thanksgiving, someone shows up on your doorstep with a turkey on Thanksgiving. And the dude who’s short some turkeys from his truck had better not complain or we’ll break his arm.
It’s not a fair system or even one that can sustain itself when governing a whole country. But there are times when it’s the easiest way to achieve something like justice.
This woman’s husband is giving his life for this country. The only reason she even came to the attention of Immigration was that he was trying to do the right thing and get her paperwork straightened out. We shouldn’t punish people for trying to do the right thing.
And if ever there were a time for benevolent corruption, now is it. We can’t “lose” her paperwork? We can’t “find” that her paperwork was actually mysteriously filed correctly back when it needed to be? Congress can meet special to legislate on Terri Shiavo, they can’t pass some quicky legislation that would give this woman and people like her a loophole?
I have a hard time accepting that.
This is another case like Claudia Nunez.
I take a harder line on illegal immigration than most of you around here, but I really get ticked off when we make noises about deporting the people–like Nunez–who are trying to do the right thing.
12 million folks are here illegally (or so they keep telling me). When one or two do the right thing by trying to straighten out their paperwork I think it makes us giant jerk to pick those people as the ones we want to send back, meanwhile ignoring 99.9999% of others.
I am SO glad you posted about this. I was appalled by this story, but sometimes just can’t constuct the right words in the right order to express how strongly I feel…and knowing that you are there to speak out in the way that only you can kind of feels like you’re speaking for me, too.
This infuriates me.
My husband is a resident legal alien… He did things the right way through the proper channels, yada, yada, yada. When you are trying to do what is right in the eyes of the law you SHOULD NOT BE PENALIZED!!
I take a harder stance on immigration than most because I know first hand what my husband and his brother went through to be here. I have several other friends who are resident aliens as well that all did what was required by the immigration laws of the United States.
I get really pissed off when those who are trying to abide by the law are judged so harshly.
Thanks for sharing.
Except that it is not one or two. Millions are caught in a sort of paperwork purgatory, that is, they have applications in, but the process is so time-consuming and expensive that it takes years and years to straighten out. I know a woman here illegally from Austria, she’s a grandmother, and has been trying to sort it out for over 25 years. She finally just quit, after tens of thousands of dollars, and 2 decades. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. That is what we mean when we ask for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. It has NOTHING to do with amnesty. (Though, amnesty appeals to the part of me that hasn’t totally severed ties with Christianity.)
Don’t get me started on these Notarios that bilk poor immigrants out of their hard earned money, and do nothing to actually advance their position, because they can’t.
This issue is complicated, and it doesn’t help when smart people are lazy about understanding the core concerns. I see this everywhere.
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Don’t get me started on what friends of mine have had to go through trying to do everything legally: lost (by the INS) files, long waits, and huge bills were the least of it.
I first started hearing stories about how messed up the INS was in the mid-’80s. I don’t know whether it was equally messed up before Reagan put Gene McNary in charge and we never heard about it, or whether he was (as people who knew his record in St. Louis County suspected) put in deliberately to make the process more difficult, but no one (including Clinton) lifted a finger to make the Service more accountable or more efficient in the mean time.
Great post. This woman provides an extreme example but her story is similar to many others. Many illegal immigrants are established here, have American children, and are contributing to our society. Rounding such people up, processing them while holding them, and then shipping them back home is an extremely resource-intensive (expensive) project. How is that policy preference conservative? How is it, in most cases, humane?
NM, hmm. One wonders.
That’s what kills me is that everyone agrees that the system is broken. For instance, is there anyone who can, in good conscience, say that Victor Benitez should have still been here? No, the first time he was arrested and charge with burglary, he should have served his time in jail or prison and been sent back to Mexico.
But he’s not in the same kind of boat as Nunez or this poor woman. These are folks who, in good conscience, thought there would be a way for them to rectify their situation–by filling out proper paperwork, paying fines, something–and we should not treat both issues as if they’re the same.
The INS under the new “leadership” in homeland security is a bloody fucking mess. I know from personal experience. The rules are absolutely arbitrary and you have to give a pint of blood just to get things done. To me, wanting to sidestep all the “good government bullshit,” to quote Henry Hill, is perfectly understandable. nm, things have changed over the last couple of years so much you have to really be dedicated to 1) following rules and 2) being timely or else you’re SOL in a bad way.
The rules regarding Japanese immigration used to be a little lax 1) because it’s a favored ally, 2) heavy military presence. Some of those rules have been changed, possibly in the interest of fairness however it served no larger purpose to change them, and makes things a bit harder for the military serving there to slog through the paperwork should they need it for an SO. One would think that Homeland Security would be falling all over themselves to make Sgt. Jimenez situation right. They might, but who knows.
We may whine on blogs or organize and march and lobby, however I don’t think anyone in the current administration (or even the next, no matter whom that turns out to be) will be interested in doing much about it. It’s a constituency with little capital either in the public sphere or the political. And think about how difficult it would be to get people with no personal connection to an immigrant to sympathize considering the current climate.
See, and this is part of what I was getting at in “Safe Spaces.” The current climate is frightening, with folks talking about Mexicans like they aren’t human beings. There’s too much pressure. You have a lot of people who are here because they’re desperate and they need the work. You have a lot of people who resent them for being here. And you have a government unwilling to either make it easier for those desperate folks to get and be here through legal channels. It’s a wonder there’s been as little violence as there has.
I mean, shoot, I don’t think anything I do will convince someone about the rightness of my position in regards to immigration. I just feel compelled to keep saying that these are human beings we’re talking about, not vermin. Talking about people like they’re vermin and making them the scapegoats for everything that’s wrong in a society leads dangerous places.
We all know that. And yet…
If it’s worse than even 5 or 10 years ago it must be beyond what I can imagine, because I didn’t think anything could be worse than that. Part of the problem at the time was understaffing, some of it was lack of communication and arbitrary applications of policies (so that one friend of mine, here from the UK on a student visa, checked with the INS about whether he could legally go home for vacation and legally reenter the US, and was told by multiple offices there that he could, only to find, when he came back, that the guy at the airport didn’t accept those rulings, so that he was deported at his own expense, had to reapply for permission to come back, lost his teaching job because of the absence, and then lost his fellowship because he wasn’t teaching) but now that “security” issues have been added in ….
I would make a joke and say that it’s even worse than getting a billing problem resolved with the phone company, except that, as B points out, this is about people’s lives.
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