USA, Where Are You Headed? Wherever….Stop Being So Cruel to the Innocent and the Weak !

| April 25, 2011 | Comments (2)

Five hundred paedophiles to be tracked by GPS tags by RinkRatz

That this country – the United States of America – is in a state of confusion, would be an understatement. Without going into  sordid detail about how the American body politic is tearing itself apart at the expense of a gasping,  struggling middle-class, I will say it is a frightening time  to be following events. The news gets more unreal and menacing with each sound byte. And I don’t just mean the unending stream of disasters that shout out at us from foreign shores and nuclear reactor plants.

The way Americans treat foreign affairs is surreal. It used to be that politics stopped at the water’s edge. When questions of foreign policy surfaced, the two political parties closed ranks and dealt with international issues  – and threats – with one voice. But today – and I will have to don my partisan cap at this point –  strident Republican voices snipe at everything our noble President attempts to do. The level to which nasty partisan politics will stoop seems to know no depth.

In this Tower of Babel, immigration policy stands out as the most divisive example of politicians and pressure groups being stupid and down right cruel.

Because of my domestic situation – I am in a 30-year partnership with someone from the “Third World” – I often come in contact with people, both family members and friends we have made, who are recent immigrants, many of the illegal variety.

The capricious, inconsistent  actions of the American government with regard to immigrants is particularly harmful and hurtful to the powerless. Women and children bear the brunt of this stupidity to a hear-rending degree.

Before being arrested in a  dawn raid on a factory in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and detained  in a night-marish  series of events that eventually led to his deportation, my brother-in-law was part of a group of Indonesians who worked on a high-tech assembly line doing  jobs that Americans would not perform for the same remuneration and benefits package. I should correct that last statement – remove “benefits package” because there was none.

Two of his colleagues were young Indonesian women. Lovely, intelligent, modest girls in their twenties who had come to this country as tourists and had over-stayed their visas, taking jobs to support needy families back in the faraway  home country. Each week they would queue at the Western Union office in town sending what seemed like modest sums to their families in Java. One hundred dollars a week sounds like a drop in the bucket but to  struggling farmers in Indonesia that trickle  was a godsend.

One of the young women, Mary, met a Mexican man, Pedro, and they fell in love and got married. Her Muslim co-workers and his Catholic companeros  stood with them in the local church when they exchanged vows. A year later a child was born. After a second year, Mary found herself pregnant again.

In the 8th month of her pregnancy Pedro was arrested, also being an illegal. My partner and I visited Mary one day , finding our way to a run-down part of town populated by  modest houses built in the 1950s for what were then America-born blue collar workers.  Mary and Pedro shared their home with six other immigrant families. Each family had its own bedroom with kitchen, living room and bath being shared by all the inhabitants. The place was neat and tidy;  even with many people about, an air of calm friendliness pervaded the dwelling.

As she walked laboriously about the kitchen fixing tea for us, her tiny daughter clinging to her skirt, Mary seemed strangely calm and stoic. She said she had no idea what the future held for them. Now that Pedro was in jail and she was too advanced in her pregnancy to work at the factory any longer, what little money they had saved  had dried up. She was now living on the  kindness of friends and the local Catholic charity.

Throughout our visit I was struck with the immense strength of this young person whose world was falling apart.  Even in these most trying of circumstances, her natural elegance, poise and sense of humor were still with her. As she recounted her plight to my partner and me, there was no self-pity or hysteria in her voice. Most of the more fortunate people I knew, had they been in a similar dilemma, would have been reduced to sobs at that point.

 As she multi-tasked – serving us tea, tending to her demanding little daughter who repeatedly asked “Where is Papi?” and cooking a meal for herself – Mary laughed, saying she would have to improve her spanish. If and when Pedro was released from jail, she hoped to follow him to Mexico to  make a new life in the forlorn, dry  village he had abandoned. That is, if Mexico would admit her through its border.

While we were chatting, another young woman entered the kitchen. She was introduced to us as Titi. She chatted pleasantly  for a minute, then excused herself, saying she had to feed her newborn daughter. As she was leaving the room, I noticed a rather heavy band  attached to her ankle. Fitted to the band seemed to be a small beeper or something electronic that I could not exactly figure out.

After she  left the room, Mary explained that Titi had been arrested a week earlier in another raid on the factory. She had been jailed, but then there was the matter of Titi’s three month-old daughter who needed to be fed. It was decided by the court that Titi could be released from her prison cell twice a day to visit her daughter and feed her. What she wore on her ankle was not a bangle. It was an electronic monitoring device.

As Titi’s daughter let out a spirited dinnertime squawl from the adjoining room, I thought to myself:  these nursing mothers need to be carefully watched.

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  1. Roger Cranse says:

    Painful and compelling reading. And maddening. Sam’s account of immigrant hunting in the US rings powerfully true to other written accounts and to my own experience. Economically, “illegal” immigrants are vital to several of our industries – upwards of 50% of veggies from CA’s Imperial Valley are harvested by these folks. Here is Vermont, 2,000 “illegal” immigrants keep our diary industry alive. Sam’s touching portraits give life to the heartless policies that result in this moral catastrophe. RC

    • Sam says:

      Tati’s story is not over. Heroically, she managed to cut the monitoring device from her ankle and escape with her child. She is “at large” and sort of free……

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