This doesn’t fit any of my blogging categories, so I’m posting it as an extra. It was prompted by a heart-tugging experience I had one morning this week.
While waiting for my breakfast companion to join me this morning, I noticed Leona (one of the waitresses, but not her real name) sitting at another table with a customer. They were holding hands, and both had their heads bowed. When the customer left a few minutes later, I noticed Leona still sitting there, eyes liquid with tears.
My friend arrived, and we ordered our breakfast, but I kept noticing Leona stopping at various tables to hug or talk to someone, tears still obvious in her eyes. She was obviously very upset about something, but I couldn’t imagine what.
Finally, after our waitress brought our food and refilled my coffee cup (a service I tend to wear out), I asked her what was wrong with Leona. What she told me broke my heart.
Leona is Hispanic but has been a U. S. citizen for over twenty years. She and her husband have two kids together, one 15 and one 11, both born in the U. S. Apparently, though, her husband entered the country illegally back in the late 1980s and has never tried to gain citizenship or any other legal status.
Several months ago he somehow came to the attention of immigration officials, and they deported him to Mexico. Leona has been trying to work through legal channels to have him returned, since he has both a wife and children who are citizens.
I don’t know what she has or has not done in this process, but apparently the decision was made yesterday that there is insufficient reason for him to be brought back. I don’t know how final that decision is, but that’s what she was so upset about.
Her situation really disturbs me. I feel very strongly that we need to enforce our borders and our immigration laws. As Arizona Governor Jan Brewer told the owner of the Phoenix Suns when he took exception to her stance on immigration, letting illegal aliens enter our country at will—using our facilities, drawing welfare at the expense of our taxpayers and so forth—would be like telling him he couldn’t demand that people buy tickets in order to watch the Suns’ games or make them pay for their refreshments while they were there.
Philosophically, I’m in total agreement with Governor Brewer. On the other hand, I care deeply about this sweet waitress. I find it very upsetting to see her family torn apart like this, her livelihood endangered, her children deprived of a father.
I tend to see things as black and white. This is right, and that is wrong. I know what is black and what is white in this situation, but I can’t keep from shedding tears over the plight of this young woman and her family.
Guess I’m not as smart as I thought—don’t have all the answers as neatly tied down as I thought I did.
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David, I know what you mean about this situation. The Minnionite ladies that cleaned mother’s home for years had a simuilar situation with one of their husbands and I wrote a letter in support for him to be given citizenship here. After many years, he finally got his green card. He is a great young man, so I wrote the support letter in his favor. Love, Jane I’am really enjoying all of your remembrances.
I too appreciate your sharing your ambivalence about this situation, David. As you know, I see things more gray and less black and white than you do generally … and I also don’t have all the answers. I do think our laws should be respected …. and I also think that compassion for others is vital. I really feel for Leona and her kids and many others who are in similar situations. Sometimes life is just hard and painful …. and there are many unanswered questions. Love you.
I ran into a similar situation when I was teaching that involved one of my students. And yes, sometimes your heart and your head end up on different sides of an issue. Thank you for being transparent about your feelings on this.
Transparency should be a quality of writers. Thanks for your comment, Lynn.
Yes, there are shades of gray in most situtations. I wonder if the waitress’ husband had committed a crime (or crimes) besides being an illegal immigrant. Although heart-wrenching her situation is, our country’s borders must be protected or it would be inundated with people seeking what out country has to offer. Much love, Wife
I agree that laws must be enforced and borders protected. That’s what makes this situation so heart-rending.
That is a heartwrenching situation. And I appreciate reading your thoughts on it.
Thanks for your response, Lani.