I heard a beautiful story today. A lady told me her story of romance. Since I am such a romantic she had my attention. She grew up in Mexico in Michoacan. Across the country in another state, her husband grew up in Oaxaca. They both entered the university in Mexico City and fell in love. When they both had only one semester left of college, they found out she was pregnant. Worried about their future and the future of their baby, they foolishly decided to go to the United States. There they could make lots of money and provide for their child. So, they went, planning to stay about a year. They both got good jobs, the baby was born, and they were able to pay for her expenses. Soon they were able to buy a car for him and later for her. Soon they were able to buy a house. Soon another baby was on the way. Soon the years passed and they had three children, a paid-for house, two cars, cell phones, a computer, the American dream. They paid taxes and enrolled their children in school. They were involved in church and school activities. They stayed out of trouble and became a part of the community. Life was good.
Until Wednesday. Wednesday morning the mom was caught in the ICE raid. Most would expect her to be crying and begging for mercy. She came to our mission center to see what her next step was in the immigration system. She said she had not let her children know what happened because she did not want to upset them with adult problems. She only told them that as a young girl, she made a foolish mistake. She had gone on an adventure without thinking through the consequences. She was released from ICE custody, but she would have to accept the consequences of her actions.
When asked about her treatment by the ICE officials, she was quick to relate how respectfully she had been treated. She said she knows her story does not make for good ratings, but she wants people to know what the officers did. They talked calmly to them and told them they could go one at a time back to their cars to retrieve what they needed. She returned for her passport and her regular shoes since she was wearing work boots. They offered them apples, water, trips to the bathroom. She never heard any harsh words or racial slurs. She is grateful that she was able to return home while she awaits her court date.
The sad part of her story is that so many are quick to say she should have gotten in line and she deserves what she got. She admits that. But, for most undocumented immigrants, they would have gotten in line, if there had been one. Yet, for many years our country has depended on their undocumented labor without thinking of the consequences. We have foolishly allowed millions to take jobs we do not want to do while crying about unemployment. We have allowed companies to continue to employ under the radar without thinking of the consequences. We only think of the “eight-dollar tomato” and look the other way. We have allowed Congress to do nothing to raise the number of work visas without thinking of the consequences. We have allowed children of immigrants to be born, raised, and educated here as Americans without thinking of the consequences. We need to grow up, America. We need these immigrants, and they need us. It’s time to fix the system and accept the consequences of our inaction.

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