Sanctuary, Continued

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the storming of a church in Copenhagen in order to arrest for extradition Iraqis who were seeking – but denied – asylum in Denmark.  I wrote about the sense of outrage amongst an interesting variety of persons at the police’s violation of a church space, and the associated unstated idea of sanctuary

So it was interesting to see an article in the county newspaper here on a local sanctuary situation that has dragged on now for over two years.  The article isn’t very helpful other than providing a sympathetic face and  a complex and sad story without giving enough background information for the user to really form much of an opinion.  She entered the country illegally, which to many people is grounds enough for deportation.  Law has been broken, person must be punished/deported, end of story.  Making the case that her flight is justified on grounds of safety or some other mitigating circumstance sure isn’t done very well in this story.  Ultimately, we’re left with the image of a woman who is hoping that an exception will be made for her.  But if the exception is made for, what of the thousands or millions of others in similar situations? 

She’s been living on this church’s property for roughly two years.  Who knows how long her legal appeals will take to work through.  Undoubtedly at least another two years, probably a lot longer.  In the meantime, she can’t really do anything except sit there and wait, afraid to leave on the off chance that INS is waiting to nab her and extradite her. 

How many family members are here in the US?  All of them?  Is there anyone left back in Mexico to help her?  What about the children?  Is it reasonable to argue that the children’s lives will be devastated at this point if their mother is deported?  This woman broke the law – that much at least is clear.  But is the observing of this particular law worth the associated problems it is likely to cause?  No, it’s not a pretty picture either way.  She can’t live in a church forever.  It’s not good for the family to be separated, and after the father has achieved naturalization, it seems obvious he doesn’t want to go live in another country.  Should he have thought about that before marrying her?  Should she have?  And what is the best solution at this point? 

I don’t know.  But it seems clear that simply going by the law on it’s own is only a partial solution at best.  How do we take into account the disintegrating situation in Mexico?  Should we?  Thoughts? 

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