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Verses From Lory Diana Rosenberg

by Lory Diana Rosenberg

[To Sounds of Silence, sung by Simon and Garfunkel, by Paul Simon, 1966]

Hello, darkness my old friend
The law has retrogressed again
Doesn't matter when the crime occurred
Aggravated felony will be inferred
And enforcement over liberty will reign
Especially, with a crime of violence

They picked my friend up last July
Probation said she should come by
Jailed a mom who never would use force
Someone told her she should plead,of course
Now I heard that a DUI without mens rea
Down Florida way
Just might be, a crime of violence

And after researching I saw
The overbreadth that taints this law
Covers almost every type offense
I ask you, how can that make any sense?
Not just elements, but probabilities
Especially, with a crime of violence

"Fools!" said I, "she didn't know
Removal seems ex post fac-to
Back in ‘95 she had a few
Called her ex and made a threat or two
But she swore that she'd never touch a hair...
‘Though no one cared,
They believed, it was a crime of violence

Because Congress bowed and prayed,
And by hysteria was swayed.
So the law deports without regard
To whether separation makes life hard,
And the law means removal from your family in the States. Yes, that's your fate
Especially, for a crime of violence.


(From "Til Her Daddy Took Her T'Bird Away- Beach Boys)

Back in 1952, we had the Walter and McCarran Act now,
And if you made few mistakes, they could be waived
And someday - you could come back now

But when the 90s came along,
You know the Congress threw us right off track now
And now you're gone gone gone
Since the Congress took the waivers away.

Well you might recall a time
An Immigration Judge had certain discretion
She could order no removal
If you paid your dues and made an impression

But now it doesn't really matter
If there's hardship or that you've learned your lesson
Because you're gone gone gone
Now that Congress took the waivers away.

(from House of the Rising Sun)

There is a house near New Orleans
They call the place Oakdale
And if you have your hearing there
Your claim will likely fail

They'll move you there from Varick Street
From Boston town, from Krome
No matter where your lawyer is,
Your hearing's on the phone

You might have had some witnesses,
A spouse to vouch for you,
But if they don't have airplane fare
Got none in that venue

Alone you face the charges,
Despite remorse and grief,
Detained and jailed, you don't look good
Why should you get relief?

And now they've ordered you removed
You stay here all alone
Your country will not take you back
You haven't got a home

So shun this place near New Orleans
Yes, Oakdale is its name
No comfort in detention
When the system is to blame


(From song of same name-Dusty Springfield)

Verse 1:
Laws that passed in nine-ty six
Need a legis-lative fix
All that's left are memories
Of justice and relief

But as things stand right now its clear
A guilty plea from any year
Is all that INS must prove
And you will be removed,

You don't have to be convicted
If you took a plea
You don't need a guilty verdict
Just a penalty

Believe me,
Believe me
You'll still be deported
And believe me
You're not comin' back.

Verse 2:
Waivers and review restored
Are changes we can well afford
Discretion whether to detain
Would be much more humane

But as things stand right now its clear
A guilty plea from any year
Is all that INS must prove
And you will be removed,

Repeat Chorus


(to Buffy St. Marie's, "Now that the Buffalo's Gone")

Can you remember the time,
That you once held your head high,
And told all your clients
You helped make us great;
Your clients worked hard,
and they enriched the state.
They settled their families,
Lived without hate.
And what has become of these ones?

When the ‘52 Act was in force
Getting in wasn't easy, of course.
Still, over and over,
Restrictionists claimed,
That crim'nals abounded,
Our complexion was changed.
They argued for limits,
They de-manded names.
And what has become of these ones?

When our fear of the other is claimed,
Diversity's goals are defamed.
Just look at what happened, back in ‘96 -
Discretion was excised, compassion was nixed.
Now all would concede that the law needs some fix.
But what will we do for these ones?

Can a change come about through the court?
Before this hard law will deport,
The father, the mother,
The daughter, the son,
Who made a mistake, didn't tell anyone,
Who entered a plea, was a poor refugee.
And what will we do for these ones?

It's not all in the past, as you'll see,
Both suspension and old 212(c).
The government needs to correct the excess,
Pass some amendments and clean up the mess.
Restore some discretion, and lighten the tests;
Now that the law is so hard.