1) The first link in this post is from an article in El País, about a Congolese man here in Spain, who was left a paraplegic after a brutal, racially motivated attack in February of this year. His wife was here with him in Spain, but his two kids, 10 and 12, and his sister were still in Kinshasha. An NGO called the Movement Against Violence, picked up on his story and petitioned the government to allow his sister and children to come to Spain. They’re careful in this article to say that “The delegate [of the government of Madrid, Soledad Mastre], has always been receptive to these types of cases, in compliance with immigration law, which views them as exceptional and in need of urgent processing.”

I read this and was glad to see that a society (albeit only under the urging of an NGO) can look at this situation and say, “Hmmm, this man was mangled by the worst elements among us, the least we can do is let him see his kids”. Seems reasonable and humane, no? But it also makes me think of all the poor folks whose lives have somehow met with tragedy in a foreign land but weren’t lucky enough to get the attention of the media, or and NGO to work on their behalf.

2) That story then reminded me of another (just one of many apparently) story from the U.S. concerning foreign-born servicemen or their foreign-born relatives. Just to get a grip on the numbers, the Washington Post reports that “An estimated 68,000 active-duty military personnel were born in foreign countries…Nearly half of them are not citizens of the United States.” I didn’t know much about this until recently, but I was shocked to learn that last bit, shouldn’t citizenship be pretty much automatic if you volunteer to fight and die for a country? Apparently Bush has been nice enough to expedite their applications though, so, there’s that.

But never mind. The story here is, for example, that of the wife of Spec. Alex R. Jimenez; she immigrated illegally to the States in 2001 from the Dominican Republic. He “disappeared” in an attack south of Baghdad in May. He volunteered, he fought, he died, and she was threatened with deportation. Does that not seem a little harsh?

Or take the case of Pfc. Armando Soriano, who died three years ago in Iraq, and whose father is being threatened with deportation from the country his son died for. Again, a little insensitive? Just something to chew on.

3) And finally, a little update/ extra info pertaining to that video I posted a while back about a Polish man in the States, Tony Wasilewski, having to see off his wife, Janina, and his son as she was being deported. He may be another example of someone who has a better chance at a happy ending because his story garnered a lot of media attention. It seems he became a U.S. citizen on Tuesday, and hopes that his new status will help him in his fight and in his new role as a prominent voice on immigration issues. Her story, though, is a frustrating one of a technical fumble that snowballed into a nightmare:

Janina Wasilewski, a former Solidarity Movement foot soldier in Poland who escaped to Chicago, learned [in 1994] that her application for political asylum, made in 1988, had been rejected. The reason: Poland was, by 1994, considered safe. At a 1995 federal court hearing, she agreed to leave the country — unknowingly, she says. Because of penalties in federal immigration law for violating such an order, her failure to leave back then torpedoed every other attempt to stave off deportation…[She is] now barred from applying for legal residency for at least 10 years. [italics mine]

Wasilewski is reported as saying that speaking out is the best way he knows to be an American.

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