The Tucson Weekly features some of the best coverage of border issues–particularly immigration, legal and not–of any paper around. So I pounced on the October 27, 2005 issue with “Marta’s Story” on the cover. Go read it; it won’t take long.
There’s lots of discussion about who should be allowed into the United States, lots of laws in effect and under consideration about how a foreign national should qualify for work and citizenship. I wish I could figure out a way to write those laws so that people like Maria and Isaac Cruz Olguín and their son Isaiah, Raúl Cruz Uribe, and the unnamed young relative with them, could all become U.S. citizens for the asking.
Because they’re the people I want living down the street from me, the people I want on my local school board, the teachers and cops and nurses and PTA members I want for my community. They’re already citizens of the nation I want the U.S.A. to be.
They belong to the same nation as Julie Gallagher and Dan McClafferty, who put human life first every workday. They’re citizens of the same country as Sister Kathleen Mary McCarthy of St. Mary’s Hospital, who believes that putting human life before money or law is what her god expects of her. Theirs is the country I want to live in.
There are people who respond to Marta’s story by saying, “She shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Why should my tax dollars go to help her? They keep sneaking across because they know we’ll take care of them. If we let more of them die, maybe the rest would get the idea and stay home.” Those are the aliens in my ideal country. Those are the undesireables.
But I would let them stay, too. All I’d ask of them is that they learn the native language of that nation: the language of respect and reverence for other lives.