A September 25 article on the website of the Washington Post tells the story of Paula Godoy, a young Guatemalan woman who has been living in the US for 10 years without authorization, who has a 4 month old baby born in the US, and two other children, one of them also a US citizen, and few ties to her own country, who was about to be deported before finally being granted a 6-month stay by ICE at the last moment. She has no criminal record, but came to the attention of the government when she was pulled over for driving with a suspended license. For her, evidently, there was no Morton ICE memo, until she finally got the stay, which means that she will have to go through the same ordeal in another few months. If she is deported, her children will stay behind with their father, her boy friend, a lawful US permanent resident.
What is the benefit to America of leaving two American citizen children without their mother, a woman who had been cleaning houses for 10 years and been paying taxes? How much longer will the Obama administration continue to try to get away with the lie that it is only interested in deporting serious criminals, while it keeps on kicking out people with traffic violations? What is striking about this is not only the deceit and hypocrisy in the administration's false claims that it is only targeting the "worst of the worst" (which ICE has been making on its website and Janet Napolitano has been making in her speeches almost from the time that President Obama took office), but its lack of courage in standing up against the anti-immigrant hatred of so many Americans.
As of this writing, there were some 1,000 comments posted on the WP website in response to the article. I have a weak stomach, so I did not even begin to read them all, but the first few I came across were enough. There is an old Japanese saying that by tasting one drop of water, you can tell the flavor of the entire ocean. It only took a few seconds to find one of many similiar rants to the effect that the young woman should be deported immediately, not only because she was here without authorization, but because of her "anchor baby".
Anchor baby? When she would have to wait for 21 years for the child to sponsor her? What statute prohibits anyone from having a child in the US? Of course, we are so used to listening to hatred against minorities in America that this kind of mindless venom is now taken for granted.
When people in the audience at a Republican presidential debate in Orlando booed a US soldier serving in Iraq because of his sexual orientation, and booed their own far right wing Tea Party candidate, Texas governor Rick Perry, for saying that we should "have a heart" on immigration (thereby no doubt ending his previously high-flying candidacy), the media ran it as a minor story for a day and that was about it.
But we have to get back to America's main business - such as deporting more young people with no criminal record, with US citizen children and no real country to go "home" to. We are hearing a lot about the "new" President Obama, who has suddenly discovered that he is losing his base and needs to act more like the "old" candidate Obama who made so many stirring speeches back in 2008. But meanwhile, the relentless deportations of Latinos and other minority people who are no danger to America go on.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.