Monday, April 24, 2006
Illegal immigrants' cheap ticket home
We're 33,000 feet above the Sonora Desert in Arizona. Guards are watching for any sudden movement. They are wearing dark sunglasses so the passengers can't see their eyes. In all, there are 14 of them: Federal marshals trained in hand-to-hand combat. The passengers are for the most part wearing shackles and handcuffs.

Welcome to "Con Air." That's what Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials call this flight full of undocumented immigrants, which left from Williams International Airport in Mesa, Arizona. From this airport alone, three full flights leave each week bound for Central America.

This "expedited removal" program began last September in order to cut through the red tape and remove undocumented immigrants from the United States -- not within months or years, as was typical, but within days. The number of flights nationally has already been increased to 12 per week. ICE officials say they've removed 81,000 people in three months this year. Never before have so many illegal immigrants been removed from the United States in such a short period of time, these officials tell us.

The flight we're on is headed for Honduras. Onboard, we find immigrants separated by two classifications: 1) Criminal aliens, whose crimes range from heroin smuggling, murder and petty offenses; 2) Those whose sole crime is being in the United States illegally.

When we land, we realize Honduran officials are almost embarrassed to receive us. They can't keep their own people in their own country, and there are three reasons for it: No money, no money, no money.

After touching down, we visit some small villages outside Tegucigalpa, Honduras' capital. It appears as though half the boys are gone. Where are they? Many people told us they are in America looking for work.

On this trip, we met one young man, Marlon Vargas, 23, who has snuck into the United States seven different times. He says the United States is making it more difficult for him to stay in the country, so he plans to join the Honduran military instead of trying again to get into the United States.

Prior to the "Con Air" program, illegal aliens would have gotten written notice to appear for a deportation hearing. More often than not, they wouldn't show, according to Gary Mead, assistant director of ICE. Now, they often are on plane out of the country within days.

"It's a hope that these people, when they get back, will explain to others that there is no safe haven anymore, and that when people are apprehended, they are processed quickly and they are returned quickly," Mead said.
Posted By Rick Sanchez, CNN Correspondent: 1:22 PM ET
  44 Comments
"3 plane loads a week"??

By all estimations, over 2,000 illegals are crossing the border EVERY DAY!! And that has probably increased since congress started debating amnesty.

"3 plane loads a week" isn't putting a small dent in that. Who do they think they're kidding??
Posted By Anonymous Bill W, Coatesville, PA : 1:47 PM ET
Maybe returning immigrants to their own countries will enable them to focus on changing their OWN corrupt and racist governments. How will oppressive governments south of the border ever be overthrown for something better unless these young men and women do it?
Posted By Anonymous Tina Chicago IL : 2:57 PM ET
I'm relieved to see that the government is doing something about the illegal immigrants who are sneaking into this country. I have to say, though, that I'm not quite as worked up about this issue as I was during all the protests a few weeks ago. Because of your show, I'm a little more tolerant of the illegal immigrants who are so desperate to get into our country. I just hope that Congress can pass a bill to close our borders and process those that do manage to get into our country illegally.
Posted By Anonymous Cathy, Minneapolis, Minnesota : 3:14 PM ET
Well, all I got to say is, "It' about time".

Thanks.
Posted By Anonymous Don Rogers, San Diego, CA : 3:36 PM ET
I say that we should have more compassion for these illegal immigrants, the cruelest thing we can do for them is let them stay in the U.S. and be exploited by business owners. Think about it, the ones that are being hurt the most aren't the illegals that are here in the U.S. though, it is the people who get left behind, the families that get fractured because of the yellow-bellied, greedy cowards that want to run to America and make more money to buy their cervezas and the greedy corporations that want to inflate their bottom line on the backs of these yellow-bellied people. We should force the illegals to do things the hard way, to stay and reform their own country, not come and make the U.S. a third world country. That would be nation building at its best.
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 3:36 PM ET
I would bet that some of those on the plane are already planning their next attempt at entering the U.S. When you see the ocnditions in thier homes and compare that with our living conditions and the job opportunities here,undocumented immigration seems inevitable. It is time the U.S. government began it accept the reality of theisituation and legitimize, even to a limited ext4ent, those who fuel the nations service industries, pay taxes (many unrefunded) and bare here because they believe in what we profes to believe in--freedom to work and to surivive by our labor. They are ot criminals--just hard-working people who will sacrifice the comforts of home and family for dangerous working conditions, racial prejudice, loneliness and fear, all in the hopes of feedng their wives, children and parents.
Posted By Anonymous Gale P. Carmona, Valparaiso, Indiana: gpcarmona@verizon.net : 3:41 PM ET
This is a perfect example of how our immigration system should work. Someone that is in our country illegally should be sent back IMMEDIATELY. Just as any American citizen would be apprehended IMMEDIATELY if a crime was committed.

If we make it difficult for them to enter and stay in our country, I feel a lot of them will be discouraged from making further attempts.

For the safety and well being of our Country, we must take a stand on immigration and take our country back!

We can't just turn a blind eye on this issue. Our government must listen to it's citizens, not big business or illegal aliens. After all, it's not the illegal aliens that elected them into office, but it is the true, legal American citizens that can vote them OUT of office!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Justin, NW, Oklahoma : 3:51 PM ET
This seems like a remarkably efficient plan. Although I'm not sure that all illegal immigrants will decide, like Marlon, to stay in their home country, it certainly addresses the problem of the people currently sneaking over the border.

Of course the real solution to this problem would involve somehow improving the economies of countries like Honduras. Unfortunately we can't even control poverty here.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Baltimore, MD : 3:54 PM ET
This is good news for every law abiding, taxpaying American citizen! Illegal aliens have invaded our country and in spite of all the sugar-coated palatives pro-illegals spout, the United States of American has been invaded and is now occupied by over 20 million illegals. These folks DO NOT want to be assimilated; they want to get US dollars any way they can and take/send it back to their own countries. If they truly wanted to become Americans, they would have done so with the previous amnesties the United States State Department and Presidents have given to them.

I implore everyone from the White House to each State's statehouse--CLOSE our borders and let us have a sovereign nation once again. If we do this, our country will only improve. Right now we are on the path to becoming a 3rd world country in the next 5 years.

President Bush is wrong and his policies ignore the will of the majority of the American people. I am tired of the tyranny of the minority. Out of my $110,000 salary this year, I paid $31,000 to the federal government in income taxes and $11,000 to the State of California.

I am a de facto slave and my say and my vote doesn't mean a thing!
Posted By Anonymous Bea Kelly Fresno CA : 4:07 PM ET
It is sad, but it is the truth. I'm an immigrant, and I cannot blame the US for trying to do something about ILLEGAL immigration. The way I see it is like our governments in Latin America have found an easy way to obtain income without having to create jobs or invest on infrastructure, they just send people north of their borders and wait for the dollars to come back. They don't even have to worry about health or education for those people out in the US; countries in Latin America, Central America and Mexico expect the US to pay for all of those benefits that they don't offer themselves to their own people. I will say it again, I'm an immigrant but I am ashamed of my government (Mexico in my case) screaming about human rights and racism when we do much worst with our immigrants from the south.

I cannot imagine Mexicans allowing people from other countries carrying flags other than Mexican flags marching in the streets of Mexico City and chanting and their own language for their "rights".

I don't support full amnesty, I believe but certainly something needs to be done, people will continue to come as long as our governments don't take responsibility on creating jobs and giving their people what US offers to everybody, and we have now become addicted get for free.
Posted By Anonymous Robert , LA, CA. : 4:07 PM ET
It's interesting to me that our government can take up to 10 years to process a person into this country but has now figured out how to deport them in a matter of days. Why is it that we can't put some time and resources into REALLY fixing the immigration problem. President Bushes current idea is a bandaid over a gaping wound.
Posted By Anonymous D. Moore., Oceanside, CA. : 4:08 PM ET
We need more flights out of our country to whatever country these illigals cross out of to our USA. This should be an around the clock flight. As we load up one plane, there should be another plane waiting for the next load. This would tell them we mean business. The more they take advantage of our country, the more we should show them that when we catch you you are going home today, not months and years from the date they are nabbed but now.
Posted By Anonymous Angie - LA,.CA : 4:15 PM ET
About time. For those of you who weren't aware, the first WTC bomber was arrested on immigration charges, released, and asked if he would come back to his deportation hearing. If this was done years ago, maybe it would have prevented the first world trade center bombing.
Posted By Anonymous Dennis Parker, Mechanicville NY : 4:28 PM ET
President Bush is wrong you can deport all law breakers and we should..This illegal issue needs to stop and we need to have a security wall to keep out illegals of all kinds to feel safe..President Bush says we are safer but we are not as long as our borders our open and not enforced! We need to put up a wall and have armed miltary just like Mexico does on their southern Border!
Posted By Anonymous Carol Ard Centre Hall Pa : 4:30 PM ET
Absolutely Fantastic!

Good Job ICE!

I never thought our country would have the spine to start to do this.
Posted By Anonymous Norman B., Flagstaff, AZ : 4:32 PM ET
Excellent!! I am so glad that something is finally being done about the thousands if not millions of illegal immigrants who reside here in the United States.

It makes me sick to my stomach to hear the illegal/undocumented immigrants claim they have a right to be here. They came here illegally!! They do not have any rights!!

Thank God for Lou Dobbs who is keeping this issue in the news and in the forefront, thereby forcing the government to finally do something about it! Applause ...Applause...and lets keep the 'Con Air' in the air!
Posted By Anonymous Kim Bill, Shelby Township, MI : 4:35 PM ET
Note for GW, and the folks at INS....

GO GREYHOUND! and leave the driving to them!

Have a great day.
Posted By Anonymous Rob, Colorado Springs, CO : 4:39 PM ET
why cann't the illegals be sent back by bus? it would be a lot more cost effective.
also why cannot we have the social security administration send the bogus social security numbers to the ins.
send the ceo's that employ illegals to jail and the problem will solve itself.
no to amnesty by what ever name it is
called.
Posted By Anonymous martin schmitt, omaha nebraska : 4:41 PM ET
Was it only last week that we read that all of those illegal aliens were only tacking jobs that no American would want? Then, of course, the statistics were published that those illegals are taking millions of jobs in the construction, lanscaping, and other trades. More than 2/3 of the painters, roofers, concret workers, nurseryman, framers, bricklayers, etc workers are illegals. These are, or certainly were until illegals started taking $8 an hour under the table, living wage jobs that millions of American's want and need. I certainly underdstand that most of these peope are hard working and simply want to support their families, but so do all of those Amercian's they have displaced. Bring the troops home from that fiasco in Iraq and station them on the border, take just one-quarter of the monye we are wasting there, and shut down the border and round up and deport every single illegal alien.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Brooks, Eugene, OR : 4:45 PM ET
It is probably the right thing, and we need to do something about illegal immigrants, but you can't help feeling sympathetic towards tese "criminals" whose only crime is being here illegaly. They just want to survive life too, and were not as lucky as we are being born in this country. It is very upseting to see them in handcuffs and more upseting to see the vilages they are forced back to. We Americans need to realize how fortunate and blessed we are. (Can we send some spoiled and always complaining Americans there for some time too?)
Posted By Anonymous Katalin, Austin, TX : 4:50 PM ET
If you really want to get serious about dealing with this issue than you need to tackle it at all levels.

Every business caught hiring illegal immigrants should be shut down immediately. The owners and managers of those businesses should be arrested.

Every individual caught patronizing a business should be fined HEAVILY.

If it is okay to come down hard on the immigrants, then it should be okay to come down just as hard on everyone else who breaks the law......or could there be an ulterior motive for everyone's support of these types of measures aimed solely at the immigrants?
Posted By Anonymous Jose, Oxnard, CA : 4:58 PM ET
After a nice vacation with pay in the US, it is always good to have a paid trip badk to Honduras to see the fam. It will be a nice break before heading back to work.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Piscataway, NJ : 4:59 PM ET
Let's charge back the costs of deportation to the affected Governments of Mexico, Costa Rica, etc. When these Govt.(s) are presented with a bill for each resident delvered back to their borders then perhaps then we might see efforts to stop the mass exodus a home where it belongs not in America.
Posted By Anonymous Craig, Springfield, MO : 5:04 PM ET
The majority of the former comments seem to be saying one thing:
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS NEED TO GET THE HECK OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!!!
I check this blog daily and post a comment every time the issue of illegal immigration is the subject of the blog. The majority of the comments are ALWAYS against amnesty and illegal immigration yet our elected leaders seem to be promoting "earned citizenship". Call, email, and write your representatives and DON'T LET THEM IGNORE THE MAJORITY! But if they do...get revenge in November. After all the citizens of this country CAN VOTE!!! Bravo Con Air! Its a start.
Posted By Anonymous Abby Chattanooga, TN : 5:08 PM ET
That was a brilliant idea - "why cann't the illegals be sent back by bus?"

That would be really cost effective and so safe to be driving through Mexico, Central America and South America taking illegal immigrants back to their countries via bus. Come on, it's time to think about solutions, and also look at all sides of the argument, not just give ignorant comments.
Posted By Anonymous Amy Wells, Washington DC : 5:10 PM ET
Too little... too late.

I personally do not blame the illegals. I would do the same if I was poor and hungry.

I blame a corrupt business community that wants to pay as little as possible and thus bring down the US labor market, and a lack of leadership in Washington, for not enforcing the laws.


This is a 40 year old problem.....
Posted By Anonymous J.L., Miami Beach , FL : 5:12 PM ET
Instead of that old MD-80 that is shown in the pic we should buy ICE some used 747's. The cost per seat mile goes way down and a lot more illegal aliens could be put on it and flown back at one time.
Posted By Anonymous Brian Phoenix AZ : 5:12 PM ET
hats off to ICE for trying but you don't fill a pail and dump it back in the lake you need to secure the border first !!! convicts could do the work you could give them a choice help build a wall or rot in prison or take your chances and run to mexico then see how they like us sending them our no goods hhhmmmmmm
Posted By Anonymous D Gushurst Douglas Wyoming : 5:12 PM ET
I cannot believe how under appreciated the work of these people is for most of "Americans". I guess many don't realize that this is a country of immigrants, so to all those complaining maybe you are not an immigrant but I am sure your partens or grandparents were. These people come here to WORK, and if they keep coming is because work is being offered to them. Please, wake up and realize that we need these people just as much as they need this country!
Posted By Anonymous NM, Miami,FL : 5:13 PM ET
I believe that this roundup of illegal's is nothing more then just a show by Bush to fool americans into believing that the gov is really doing something. This will take the pressure off of the real issue and allow a rediculous immagration bill to get through under the smoke of this round up. We do not need a wall along the boarder, nor do we need an army of boarder patrol to stop this invasion. We only need to strickly enforce our laws and stop handing out social sevices and welfare to people who are not american citizens. When their is no reason for someone to break the law to get here then they won't take the chance. If we limit the number of work permits per year then I believe that those who wish to work here will do so under the protection of our laws. We always hear about these poor people who only want to work to feed there families, we need to hear about those who come hear to feed the mexican gov with cash. America is being invaded by another country. We are living in a very dangerous time and we are at war with an enemy who is very well trained and equiped to bring that war to the streets of america when ever they wish to. The rights and protection of the american people are not a priority with our GOV.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Las Vegas Nv : 5:14 PM ET
Forget the commercial transportation. The military has transport planes for a reason. You can fit a whole lot more illegals in a C-5A than in a commercial airliner. I wonder if they got the bag of peanuts and a soda pop, compliments of the U.S. taxpayer?
Posted By Anonymous Matt, Longview, TX : 5:24 PM ET
This article makes the air deportation system seem orderly and safe- when, in fact it is neither. I fly frequently on regularly scheduled flights to Central America- and often the passenger to my right or my left is being deported back to their home country. They fly with the other passengers who are usually oblivious to the fact that the plane taking them to their holiday destination is half-filled with deportees- and there is no extra security for deportees.On my last flight to Guatemala, I was seated with at least ten individuals who were being deported. INS just dropped them off on the plane at Atlanta and left the flight without any extra security. Many of the passengers couldn't read the immigration documents to return to their country and I had to do it for them. It was completely uncoordinated and, in my opinion, unsafe. The guy next to me told me that he had been in prison for the past two months. Even if his offense was just immigration-related, I shouldn't have to hear that on a flight that I paid full fare for. Imagine how you would feel if you are a half mile in the air seated next to a person who is being deported, has just gotten out of prison, and probably isn't very excited about the plane getting to its final destination.
If the government wants to deport people by plane- fine, but not on full-fare commercial flights. The government needs to exclusively fly deportees on flights they charter or on planes they own. It's clearly unsafe to do otherwise. I don't know how they've gotten away with it this long.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Washington, D.C. : 5:28 PM ET
It is totaly FLOP IDEA to deport Illegal Immigrants, however I do agree with President Bush's Guest Worker program, to my understanding this law will contribute in billions to US Economy (uncle Sam). I think the conditions can be made tougher to get in to this program (e.g. No violations, no jail, paying taxes on time, person has to work 8 months in 1 year etc.) These conditions can be put on for a certain time like may be 4years or so. USA, is a immigrant country, some time or other 80% population was immigrants, grand parents or great grand parents, came from other countries. It wont be easy to spend 4 Billion dollars to deport all illegal people, who's going to work for the jobs lazy americans donot want to take? These are the poeple who work 60-80 hours a week, and if asked a us citizen to do that it's immposibble. Being in Hotel Business I really understood that how important these so called ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS are to US Economy. We have more greater problems in USA to handle,(Teen Pregnancies, Single moms, unmmarried moms, drugs, corruption etc).In developing countries there is corruption and people know that,however here in US we have people who can gulp company like ENRON and donot even burp. Wake up people!
Posted By Anonymous DJ SINGH, ORLANDO, FLORIDA : 5:33 PM ET
Amen to Matt from Longview. Put them on a military transport and have soldiers guard them with rifles. Hell, for all I care put parachutes on them and push them out the door. Whatever's cheapest and fastest. We don't need anymore. The No Vacancy sign is out.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Dallas, TX : 5:42 PM ET
We could saave a lot of money by doing 2 things that would help to get these people out of the country:

1. NO prvate money will be sent by bank, western union, or any postal money order from the US to a private party in Mexico or other latin american country.

2. Immediately declare that ANY child born to an illegal on United States soil is NOT an American citizen. Repeal "jus Solis", only "Jus Sanguinis" (by blood of a citizen) should count for citizenship.

These two, combined with sweeps of employers, will do more than just picking them up and sending them out of the country. If they cannot send money to the family "back home", Mexico and the other Latin countries will lose their multi-BILLION dollar incentive to offload their citizens on us. Cut off the funds, and their economy will tank, then the people will get in a government that will work.
Posted By Anonymous Lee, Los Angeles, CA : 5:49 PM ET
President Bush is quoted in another story today as saying:

"I know this is an emotional debate," Bush told the Orange County Business Council. "But one thing we can't lose site of is that we are talking about human beings, decent human beings."

But doesn't he think that Americans who are being put out of jobs by cheap foreign labor are also "human beings, decent human beings?"
Posted By Anonymous Bill W, Coatesville, PA : 5:57 PM ET
I'm amazed to see that CNN will actually post idiotic and inhumane comments like Mr. Redneck himself Matt and his loyal sidekick Steve from Dallas. All I have to say is, be careful what you wish for, because if you EVER have the US without ANY illigal immigrants, you're going to regret it BIG TIME!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Cesar, Dallas TX : 6:24 PM ET
We should have some compassion for the ones that come here and work hard for their families, as you can see they have no other way to get ahead in life. This will give the opportunity to show that we are very compassionate and care for the people.
Posted By Anonymous Gonzalo, Columbus, Ohio : 6:29 PM ET
The reason why people from the South (any countries from Mexico to El Salvador) are coming to the US because our system is broken. These people come here and can milk the system. Illegal immigrants are having babies here and can apply for warefare because the child is a US citizen. Who is paying for it? The tax payers. We can do a steady deportation but what we should do is tight the gaps - any time you apply for warefare, etc., that person needs to prove that he or she a US citizen. Once we close up the gaps, these illegal people will levae on their own.
Posted By Anonymous Gabby, Los Angeles : 12:53 PM ET
Great News!

I think this is wonderful. It about time the U.S did something about the illegals. Keep up the good work!
Posted By Anonymous Annette, Temecula, California : 1:20 PM ET
It's too difficult/expensive to deport all the illegals -- Yes, you're right, while we are granting amnesty we should go ahead and decriminalize drugs, prostitution, and tax evasion too.
We need illegal workers -- right again, how silly of me to think that LEGAL immigrants don't need jobs and that we should continue to pay welfare benefits to people who can't find a job because criminal,I mean undocumented, aliens keep the wages low
It's not fair to send the illegal immigrants out of the U.S...they have families here, jobs here, houses here --- Gosh, right again...maybe my kids should lie/cheat their way into an Ivy League school and when they get caught it would be incredibly unfair of the school to expell my children because I'm sure they would be so attached to their new community..hmm, maybe this wouldn't be such a good idea because my children would be skipping in front of people who play by the rules...oh wait, I keep clouding the issue..that's right,I just need to focus on the evil schools being unfair to my children who are only trying to get ahead
They should be allowed to stay if they learn English, pay back taxes, and return to their home country if they have lived here illegally for less than XX years -- Wow, what a great idea..I'm sure there would be no court battles over the racist demand that people be required to learn English, determining the taxes owed and then collecting from 12 million people will be a breeze (so much easier than rounding up illegals and sending them home), and finally, I'm positive that no one would ever consider claiming that they've lived here longer than they really have to avoid a quick plane ride out of the U.S.
Gosh - Maybe we should give each and every illegal an income tax credit to help pay for their English lessons and past-due taxes. I think I'm going to write to my Congressman today to express my support for doing nothing.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Montgomery AL : 7:46 AM ET
Starting today I patronize no more mexican restaurants and i buy only imported fruits and veggies.I supported them and their cause until they pushed their mexican flag down my throat and made a mockery out of the national anthem.Now they are trying only to appease me while they fly mostly american flags.They let their bad leadership lead them astray.
Posted By Anonymous John Dennison, Bartow Fl. : 9:12 AM ET
I am an American citizen. I came to America in 1982 from England, a young college graduate looking for a career. I found one, and worked at it for many years, even representing my country on international committees. America became my home and my pride. In 2001 I met a man from South America, at that time we became firm friends and over the course of the next 3 years became very involved with each other and developed a relationship. We did not marry, it was my second marriage and I was afraid, so he did not push hard for marriage but we remained together in a relationship. Suddenly almost 2.5 years ago he disappeared one afternoon, and I learned that he had overstayed his visa and was detained. I was not his wife so I could not save my relationship. After supplying extensive proof of relationship we were given permission to marry while he was in detention. The day of the appointment, a Monday morning, I was getting ready in my wedding dress with the help of my two daughters. The phone rang, it was my Fiance who just had time to say that we could not marry because he was being taken from the facility. From that moment forward my life was torn apart. He was held somewhere unknown for most of the day inside a bus, and then put on a plane that night. He repeatedly told the guards that he was supposed to get married that at the detention center but they just laughed at him. Fiances have no rights, and I was not able to locate his whereabouts all day.

Several weeks later I flew to his country and we married there. We were so happy to be together again. On my return to America I filed the papers for him to return home legally. It was a long wait, I became unwell and had strong symptoms of major depression, and PTSD due to the shock of the deportation. This year I received a denial of my application from the dept of homeland security. Fundamentally it stated that we were denied because I was not suffering enough hardship to warrant his return to the country. Despite the fact that I would have to leave my two daughters here to be with him in Argentina, I would lose my income and medical insurance which I was using extensively, and On top of that the tone of the letter was, that I should have known better than to marry him. We filed an appeal, and after calling the appeals office in Washington DC I was told that there was a long wait, and to call back in a year.

I am a woman of principle, and it was a tremendous shock to me to find that the man I loved so well was not in the country legally and had broken our laws. You might think that I should not have married him, but he had never pushed me to overcome my fears of marriage, and had stood by me in the relationship at the risk of being deported because we were in it because we loved each other and for no other reason than that.

Now 30 months later we are preparing a second application to try again. If we are lucky it will be adjudicated in early 2007.

Before this happened to me I had no idea of how traumatic it can be to go through the legal immigration process for my spouse. I as an American citizen was out there too marching with all of the other people who have broken families and lives who cannot put their families back together legally. My husband was placed on expedited removal, which meant that he was removed from the country with no judicial review, as a citizen I was shocked that I had NO rights to even tell our story to a judge and let him make a decision about our lives. For me America has changed, I walk the streets with a heavy heart, and I no longer feel a part of the country. I see the anti-immigration sentiment out there and I feel opressed, scared and rejected. The country I once trusted to have proper judicial procedures has failed me. I no longer feel welcome and an outsider. I cannot leave to live with my husband because I will have to leave behind my two daughters, I cannot do this and so I am left with Hobsons choice.

Both my husband and I agree that breaking the law is wrong, and we made a pact that from that point forward everything we did to be back together must go through legal immigration channels. Unfortunately once you are in it, there is no way out and for us there are no second chances and there is no such thing as parole for good behaviour. My husband is sentenced to 10 years apart from his wife unless I can demonstrate to the government that I am suffering enough hardship to warrant his return. Just having to live apart from my two daughters and losing a 25 year career and medical insurance to move to a country where I will be unemployable is not enough.

Nowadays I take multiple medications to keep my emotional balance. If I were to pass you in the street or meet at the grocery store I would smile and you would never know. But inside I am empty, I have no life, no energy and I have become a social recluse because I frequently have emotional breakdowns in public places.

I do not blame those who say everyone should go home and come back legally because until they have tried it they have no way to understand the complexity of our immigration laws, nor the grief and the pain.

As you post read this if you are of a religeous mind I urge you to say a prayer for my husband and I and our divided family, that our next application is not denied due to lack of hardship. Please try to see how it is to walk in my shoes.

L
Posted By Anonymous Lisa James, Miami Florida. : 9:32 AM ET
all you patriotic citizens open your eyes. this goverment does not care about us. all this country is, is money hungry and we suffer in its greed.
Posted By Anonymous catherine, atlanta, ga : 1:54 PM ET
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