She and her husband have been married several years. She (let's call her Bobbie-Ann) is an American-born U.S. citizen. Her parents and grandparents are American-born. Bobbie-Ann is as American as French fries. Er, as American as pizza. I mean as American as bagels. Anyway you know what I mean.
So they did that. And years went by. And their lawyer told them not to worry, that the paperwork was going through channels, and then the lawyer turned out to be a crook and vanished. And the INS (now under the direction of Homeland Stupidity, the same people who made FEMA what it is today) told them not to worry; even if the request for a visa was denied they would be notified, and there would be a hearing, and they would be notified again and Bobbie-Ann's husband would be given 30 days to deport himself.
(This was indeed the policy before the current anti-immigrant hysteria.)
Not hearing anything, they got another lawyer (this costs thousands of dollars, by the way) and filed the papers again. After waiting many months, they made an appointment and went into their local INS office to check on the status of the application.
At the office, they were separated. Bobbie-Ann was sent to another room, and hours went by. Eventually someone came and locked her in the room, explaining to her that it was "to be safe".
At this point, listening to her story, I wondered if her husband had turned out to be wanted for a felony. 'Cause I always thought the guy was too good to be true, y'know? But he wasn't wanted for a felony. He didn't even have any parking tickets. There had been an order of deportation for him for over two years. He had never been notified, let alone given a chance to deport himself.
At this point in the story Bobbie-Ann broke down crying and, when she got control of herself, said:
"And then they took him."
She was not allowed to say goodbye.
He has been held for the last two months in a locked facility in a state 800 miles away-- you can't call it a prison because the people held there have not been convicted of any crime. This means that, unlike prisoners, they are allowed to wear their own shoes. They can be held indefinitely without hearings because as non-citizens they are excluded from the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. (This is a new interpretation of human rights that wasn't popular in the pre-Bush era.)
Eventually he will be deported to a country he did everything in his power to escape from, a country I have never heard anything good about even from its own citizens, and a country I choose not to identify here because I'm afraid of prejudicing his case in some way. And a U.S. citizen who voted a straight Democrat ticket will go overseas too.
Will you feel safer? Because I won't. As I drove home I passed some police officers detaining a large group of Latin-Americans. Maybe they had been creating a public nuisance. Maybe not.
What was it that Niemoeller* fellow said? First they came for the immigrants. *update: [thanks for the correct name James]