Immigrants, with legal documents or not, are guests in the country unless they become citizens with all the rights and responsibilities that conveys. Therefore they are subject to deportation no matter how many years they have been in the country. Under the current circumstances the Department of Homeland Security (former INS) has almost limitless authority over the deportation cases.
As immigrants in a foreign land, people must start thinking about the hard questions especially concerning their children and their family situation.
At a meeting recently held by people concerned with the problems the immigrant population is currently facing several issues were raised.
In case of deportation, how are the children born here affected?
One possibility is that under the US law, children might end up under the guardianship of the state, unless the parents have made some provision for them.
Therefore it is advisable that the parents think of a person they trust in order to appoint him/her as temporary guardian.
This step is necessary not only before the law, but also for medical reasons. In most cases a signed medical release is required for a child to have proper medical attention, especially when a particular treatment or surgery is needed.
Another matter to consider is when the breadwinner of the family is deported. The family not only faces severe economic restrains, but also any assets the family has will require the signature of the deported one in order to be used.
If the family is paying for a house or a car those items cannot be sold without the written consent of the owner. The same applies to moneys at the bank or salaries owed to the worker.
One of the tasks ahead both for immigrants and those who want to help them is to find the legal ways to help protect the defenseless immigrant community.
Urge any and all immigrants to take the necessary steps to provide legal resources for their family.
Maybe the churches and organizations can provide spaces where these affairs can be explained and even some forms can be available for people to fill.
In general when people arrive to the country they go through difficult times trying to get jobs and buy the things they first need. After a while there is such abundance that people go crazy buying and spending and no steps are taken toward building a future.
When they want to go back to their countries they are so deep into debt that there is no way they can feel free to leave.
This is the time to review your personal circumstances and what your resources are. Even if you remain in the country, a new approach about how you do things may be needed.
In future editions we will try to provide more and better information. Meanwhile think and use your better judgment to make decisions.
According to theologian Henri Nouwen, hospitality is the creation of a space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Therefore, the hospitality relationship is triangular, including host, stranger, and God. Unfortunately in the modern Western world hospitality has changed and it has turned into a monetary relationship. In a country where God is invoked even in the dollar bills, we violate the trust and our obligation to each other. Our individualism is cutting us off from what it real, true and sacred in life and we can conveniently forget that we all are strangers and sojourners in the land of God.