Thursday, February 28, 2008

Deported for skipping school

I am depressed about the things I am reading as I compile articles for my other blog. Twins deported for skipping school? A US citizen, mentally-disabled at that, deported on error? A 15-year old Louisiana citizen terrified by ICE agents who broke into her house when she was home alone? Children being awakened to say goodbye to their father, before he is deported to his home country of Tonga (in Africa) after an early-morning home raid? It's depressing.

I'm not saying, to the anti-immigrant critics out there, that the Tongan father was an innocent man. (He was in fact charged with domestic assault and various other crimes in 2003.) I'm not saying that every person who crosses into this country should get to stay, regardless of how they got here. Yet, come on, people. There is something depressing about these stories, and the way that immigrants and brown-skinned people assumed to be foreigners are being treated, and the way that the search for illegal fugitives is fast encroaching on our civil rights.

Pay attention to the rhetoric. We used to say "illegal immigrant" and some people thought a more accurate term was "undocumented immigrant." Seemingly in reaction to a less harsh term, many anti-immigrant activists managed to inject the truly dehumanizing "illegals" into the mainstream media lexicon. "Illegals" are the new communists. They are everywhere, they are scary and they must be captured and ejected at any price, regardless of the cost to our civil liberties and justice system.


So to answer a common question, this is why I want to be a lawyer.

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