Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

From Strangers to Friends: Where Is the Opportunity for Forgiveness?

Magazine article Sojourners Magazine

From Strangers to Friends: Where Is the Opportunity for Forgiveness?

Article excerpt

LAST WEEK MY wife called me about a close friend from Mexico named Ignacio whose 21-year-old son, lose, was in jail, charged with DUI and possession of a con trolled substance. As a result of the arrest, Jose was subject to a Border Patrol hold. If convicted, lose will serve his time and then be deported to Mexico, a country where he has never lived, separated from his wife, 3-year-old daughter, and parents.

What could we do to keep Jose from being deported? Since he is married to a U.S. citizen, he may be able to apply for a waiver, depending on the seriousness of his conviction. However, through the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, people can be stripped of their residency status or barred from ever becoming a legal resident by committing a crime involving drugs or "moral turpitude," which includes nearly every offense. At the same time, the ability of immigration officers and judges to offer forgiveness to the truly deserving has been severely limited.

The law puts tremendous discretion in the hands of prosecutors. Immigrants too often must rely for their defense on public defender systems, which are overwhelmed, underfunded, and often unable to resolve criminal charges through more constructive avenues such as drug treatment, community service, and training, which could allow immigrants to pay their debt to society and reintegrate as productive members. In contemporary America, justice too often requires hard cash. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.