(Cross-posted at Silence Isn't Golden)
This is an outrageous story from Blount County in East Tennessee. I hope the conservatives will be all over this one, because if this isn't a clear-cut example of an "activist judge" enforcing a political agenda from the bench, then I don't know what is. But of course, it's an immigration issue so I'm sure they're all in favor of it.
Anna Calixto, an immigrant worker from Nicaragua, went to Blount County Circuit Court Judge W. Dale Young to seek an order of protection from her estranged husband, who's been harrassing and stalking her. But the judge, despite her LEGAL status, ignored her request and instead told her to "go back to Nicaragua"!
First of all, some background:
Calixto moved to the United States from Nicaragua in 1994 to go to school and work. She and Fernando Calixto met in the United States and were later married. They have a U.S. marriage license issued by the state of Virginia, where they lived at the time. The Calixtos’ children, a 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, are U.S. citizens.
Nine months ago the couple separated, and in May Fernando Calixto filed for divorce. Anna Calixto said she wanted an order of protection because her husband has been harassing her, calling her and regularly showing up at her home trying to get visitation with their two children. Calixsto said her husband had also made unauthorized charges to her bank account with a debit card.
Anyone who's studied domestic violence can tell you that it doesn't take much for it to progress from stalking and harrassment to physical violence. This is a cut-and-dried domestic abuse case.
When Ms. Calixto when to court, she was asked for proof of her legal status in this country:
"When the judge asked if I was here legally," Anna Calixto said, "I told him I have my temporary worker permit and I have the documentation showing it from the immigration service."
Got that? She's in this country LEGALLY. She has documentation from the INS, she has a worker permit. She is not an illegal immigrant.
But what did the judge say to her?
"The judge shrugged his shoulders like he didn’t care — then he told me to go back to Nicaragua."
"I told him I have two children and asked what I was supposed to do about my children. The judge said there were Americans here in this country who could take care of my children."
Unsurprisingly, this judge is a former member of the Blount County Republican Executive Committee. Don't you just LOVE conservative "family values"? They have no problem breaking up families when there are immigrants involved, but God forbid anyone else be in a family that falls outside of the "Leave It To Beaver" ideal.
And again, Ms. Calixto is in this country LEGALLY. Judge Young has absolutely no right to tell her to "go back to Nicaragua", she has rights in the American justice system.
What's particularly odd about this case is that this is what Judge Young said about domestic violence when running for re-election in 2006:
...Those who are the victims of domestic violence are due the same respect and thoughtful consideration that any other litigant who has a case before the Court.
Unless, of course, he doesn't like your ethnicity.
To voice your outrage:
W. DALE YOUNG
Judge, Circuit Court, Division I
Fifth (5th) Judicial District
Blount County Justice Center
946 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, Tennessee 37804
Phone: 865+273-5550 (Office)
FAX: 865+273-5558 (Office)
UPDATE: Something else just occurred to me. Plenty of people say that they oppose illegal immigration but are all in favor of legal immigration. So I'm sure those people, the Lou Dobbs of the country, will be outraged that a documented worker was treated in such a way by the courts, right?
I'm not holding my breath.