Marlowe's Shade

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Illegal Immigration: From the Border to Disaster in Ten Days

Thanks Pundit Review

I've missed a lot of the recent debate about immigration. Mexico is far from Massachusetts, but not far enough for this Salem police officer:

A Salem police officer remained hospitalized and a Brazilian teenager was behind bars yesterday, both of their lives suddenly and dramatically altered when the girl struck the officer with a car Wednesday night.

Salem Patrolman Michael Shea, 39, who suffered a head injury when he landed on a sidewalk and his head hit a curb, was listed in fair condition yesterday at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston. Shea had been directing traffic near a work site in Peabody.

"They have removed the breathing tube, and he is breathing on his own," Salem police Capt. John Jodoin said yesterday, adding that doctors said Shea should make a "complete and full recovery."

Meanwhile, Leila Aparecida Lopes, 17, who has been in the United States just 10 days, was being held without bail at Framingham State Prison, facing charges of negligent driving to endanger and driving without a license. She is also being held on an immigration warrant and faces deportation back to Brazil.

Ms Lopes recently participated in the Border Patrol's catch and release program:

Lopes, who speaks no English, had crossed the border between Mexico and Texas on April 4, police learned from immigration officials. She and her father were stopped by Border Patrol agents. Both were detained, but the girl, who is a minor, was released with an order that she leave the country within 30 days.

Lopes made her way north to Peabody, where there is a large Brazilian population.

The Salem News article devoted quite a bit of space to the plight of immigrants like Ms Lopes:

Teresa Ramos, who works as an interpreter for local hospitals, said many people are desperate to leave Brazil.

"Living in Brazil is very tough," Ramos said. "People come here to try to make a better life for themselves."

In Brazil, "there are no jobs, no money, no food," said Ramos, who visited her native country in January. "There's nothing there."

Families often sell everything they own and borrow money to finance their journey to the United States, desperate to escape the poverty, she said.

Being married to a legal immigrant, I'm sympathetic to Ms Lopes' situation. President Lula of Brazil prides himself on being on the socialist vanguard with his pals Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, but while being an outspoken critic of the US, he has no problem exporting the social problems that his political system fails to address. This story encapsulates everything that is wrong with the current immigration system.

Almost as an afterthough, the Salem News mentioned that the officer seemed to be pulling through ok:

Shea, a 17-year veteran of the department, was said by Jodoin to be alert yesterday.

"He actually remembered that he is due to go on vacation this week, and the first words out of his mouth to his wife were, 'Are we still going to be able to make the cruise, honey?'"
papijoe 6:25 AM