This New York Times story about immigrants trying to return home to Mexico is nothing less than infuriating. As if the American government hasn't done enough to violate individual rights and make people's lives more difficult (including the lives of native-born Americans), now it is making their return home an ordeal:
In questioning people leaving the country about illegal contraband, agents frequently find migrants who are not engaged in smuggling but do not have permission to be in the United States. Some with clean records are let go. Others are fingerprinted and photographed for illegal entry and only then allowed to go on their way. Once they are in the government’s database, they face more stringent penalties if they are caught in the United States again.
Immigrants who are found to have criminal records face more aggressive treatment. They are likely to be arrested and then formally deported.
Some question the sense of checking the papers of migrants who are leaving anyway. The criticism comes from those who consider illegal immigrants to be outlaws and those who sympathize with their struggle to improve their lives.
“Why do we want to spend resources apprehending people who are removing themselves anyway?” asked Jennifer Allen of the Border Action Network, a human rights group based in Tucson that aids immigrants in southern Arizona. “I’ve heard of people wanting to leave the country and wondering if they should risk it. It’s in the forefront of people’s minds when they’re deciding to leave.”
Once again, our government has created a dangerous situation where one did not otherwise exist. They've also created yet another opportunity for thuggish government officials to bully everyday people minding their own business.
As she prepared to cross the border recently and join her husband who had crossed months before, Ms. Rios grew anxious, knowing that she did not have her papers in order and that she might be detained. She had entered the country illegally more than a decade ago, as an 11-year-old child clutching her mother’s hand. Now she was returning to a country she barely knew.
“I thought this is what Arizona wanted, for me to leave,” she said as she packed her things in Chandler, Ariz., before heading south. “And I have to worry about them catching me on the way out.”
Well, I feel safer!