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Hey, let's break up a family - The Claudia Núñez story

I received a gift last night. Along with some other bloggers, I got to meet Claudia Núñez, her husband and her two children. I got to put an actual face with the illegal immigration issue. But, this is really not about me. But one thing became crystal clear to me last night - a one size fits all immigration law does not work.

We supposedly have twenty million illegal immigrants in our country. Most people realize that there is no way to deport them all. When you examine the issue there should be some clear strata. One place to start is to not send folks back if they are probably going to be killed when they return to their home country.

Claudia came to the US from El Salvador legally on a travel visa. Her husband is here legally. She has two children, both born in the US and therefore, US citizens. She has no family remaining in El Salvador. Claudia is not a criminal and in fact has been working at a restaurant in Cool Springs to help support the family. Several weeks ago, she was cited for driving without a license. After her arrest, it was discovered that she had outstayed her travel visa. If the letter of the law is applied, she will be deported back to El Salvador.

Here's a blurb about El Salvador:

Urban violence, one manifestation of the gross economic and social inequality in which Salvadorans live, is certainly the most prevalent in El Salvador. The largest contributing factor is the surge of gangs that grew in its urban areas following the end of the civil war, when many families who had immigrated to the United States lost their refugee status. Children of many such families had grown up in inner city neighbourhoods where they faced discrimination and learned gang violence as a means of survival and acceptance. After 1992, the Immigration and Naturalization Service policy on Salvadoran refugees shifted and families were sent back home. Young men, who had been raised entirely in the United States, were greeted with suspicion upon returning to an unfamiliar country coming out of a bloody war.

The government has little, if any control, over these gangs. Salvodorans who return from the US return with a target on their back because they are considered to have lots of money.

I don't know why Claudia did not apply for a visa extension. I wish she had. It seems some type of fine (this is a civil matter - not criminal) would be reasonable. If she is deported she faces a horrible dilemma. Does she leave her children behind for their safety? If I were deported and separated from my family, I know that I would attempt to return.

In my opinion, there are people who should be deported, but the totality of immigration policy is not the issue here. You hear a lot about the sanctity of the family and how children should have both a mother and a father. I don't think the truth in that statement is just confined to United States citizens.

Watching Claudia with her kids was a gift. Claudia's desire to stay here with her family is not a crime. The true crime would be to split this family up and throw Claudia's fate to wolves.

Other bloggers are writing about this as well:
Sean Braisted
Aunt B
Chris Wage

Mr. Mack

So has the Scene

Update: The petition to request special consideration for Claudia is HERE

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About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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