At least I know I’m free

Today in the car, listening to NPR, they ran a story on the border patrol in Arizona. (Will update with link as soon as NPR posts it later today).

Yeah, I’m gonna get all political up in here.

I have to say that my stance on immigration is confused. I don’t normally consider myself a waffling, lukewarm kinda gal, but on this issue I’m…torn.

The debate centers around the ways of enforcing something that (barring a police state) seems highly unenforceable. How does one protect the borders when they are largely permeable in many different ways? How do we keep tabs on expired visas and documents from 1000 different languages? How do we track down the offenders, and when we find them, what do we do with them?

The story on NPR talked about a 260-mile swath of patrolled area in Arizona which caught, last year alone,  over 300,000 people. And those are the ones they caught.

With the economy in crisis, those crossings have diminished. They may also have diminished because of Bush’s crackdowns as a result of Congress’ inability to pass decent legislation. A friend of a friend who is a coyote is saying that Spain is the current moneymaker for illegal crossings.

So…are illegal immigrants bad? For social services, yes.  Are they bad for our economy? Debatable. Should we legalize them in some sort of blanket effort? I’d say no, and this would separate me from current Republican thought on the matter. What do we do with all the kids left without parents as a result of deportations? What does the average soccer mom do when her Odyssey is hit by an undocumented, uninsured immigrant?

Tomorrow we go for our green card interview. R entered the country legally, on a visa dependent on a program in which he no longer participates. And so we adjust the status in a long and pricey process, including this interview, where we have to “prove an ongoing marital relationship”.  I’m wondering how a few pieces of paper (they suggest photos, leases, registrations and accounts in both our names) can prove something so intangible. One can have a marital relationship and not live together. One can have a marital relationship and see each other very seldom, if at all.

I’m wondering if this kind of fence is the harder one to cross.

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6 Responses to At least I know I’m free

  1. Emily says:

    i’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because here in l.a, i am meeting illegal immigrants who have lived here their whole lives, have college degrees, but cannot get jobs because technically, they are illegal.

    have you read *mexican enough*?

  2. Evenshine says:

    I’m sure you must run into quite a few. One of the people they interviewed was a guy planning on his 5th cross- speaking almost perfect English, spent half his life here, etc. Deported every time, but keeps trying. Says he’ll never stop trying.

    I think there should be some kind of process that illegals can go through…for many people, there’s no incentive to try and change their status, but for others, like you mentioned, they would if they could.

    Haven’t read “mexican enough”. I’ll have to pick up a copy.

  3. antropologa says:

    I’m conflicted on this issue, too. I do have this ideal, though, of America as a place where people can come to have a better life. The details are too much for me though.

  4. faemom says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one without a firm stance on this. I think it’s a very gray issue. There are people who take advantage of the situation. There is racism and classism involved. There are people who honestly want a better life and don’t know how else to get it. There is political nuanses that don’t even reflect the real problem or real solutions. Like that stupid wall in Texas.
    Good luck on your husband’s interview.

  5. Wishing you a positive experience tomorrow!

  6. Maybe you would like this poem I wrote. I’m thinking of you all today and hoping your interview goes well!

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