31 October 2009 America Needs Frances Barrios
Jack Barrios is an American combat veteran of the Iraq War; and, according to the L.A. Times, “[his] wife, 23-year-old Frances, was illegally brought to the United States by her mother at age 6, learned of her status in high school and discovered just last year that removal proceedings have been started. Her possible deportation has left Barrios in panic as he contemplates life without her.”
Few have fared worse in my young American generation than our combat veterans who remain overshadowed by American Idols and Desperate Housewives of Atlanta; and our undocumented immigrants, who boom in the American Dream’s shadows. When husband and wife are vet and undocumented, respectively, what of their children when their mother is deported? Do we at all care that their father is unwell, psychologically maimed following our orders to kill strangers on the other side of the world?
To deport the mother is to necessitate help raising the kiddos. We could hire someone, sure — we the taxpayer could pay someone to raise young Matthew and Allana while their mother remains in Guatemala where surely she deserves to be sent like anyone else who broke the law before she could read the law, or at all.
After all, ignorance to the law is no excuse…even when you’re six years old and mama y papa say it’s okay. And it’s not like she didn’t find out in high school that she’d been a criminal all her life. Like any good citizen, the right thing to do was to turn herself in — and her parents — to Blind Justice.
But Barrios isn’t a good citizen, or a citizen, at all. She’s an undocumented military wife. The latter designation should make the former irrelevant, as any day while Jack was away, a priest might have knocked on her door to tell her that Jack had been killed in a war that never should have been waged in the first place; and that the petulant American public, enraged by Michael Vick’s dogfighting and captivated by Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, no longer notices. That same day, la migra might have raided her home, Jack’s home, and dragged her by the hair in handcuffs away from her children forever.
What then? With the kids at home and Jack at war and Frances returned by force to Guatemala for at least 10 years before she can even apply to return legally, what then?
America needs Frances Barrios, because Jack Barrios needs Frances Barrios. It’s as simple as that. Jack Barrios has earned our every reasonable accommodation; and he’s earned the same for his wife and young’uns too. Failing the Barrios (or Barrioses, as written in the L.A. Times) is a big Fuck You to “The Land of a the Brave” and yet another hard kick square in the throat of “The Home of the Free.”
I’ll try and write more on this later on today for posting in the Huffington Post. On Monday I lobbied for Los Barrios on Capitol Hill. I want to make sure they got the message that Los Barrios’ situation is unacceptable, and that the American people should be ashamed to the point of outrage that her deportation was ever even considered.
NOTE: I haven’t yet figured out how to insert links into posts using WordPress 2 for the iPhone. Thus I wrote out the HTML code above linking to LATimes. It was a pain in the ass, so I might be a bit lax with my linking elsewhere until I can figure this one out.