Sunday, October 08, 2006

A's clinch ALDS, poor people's lives don't measurably improve

The celebration of the A's landmark, hex-breaking ALDS win was somewhat muted last Friday at the detention center at Lancaster. I had signed up to go volunteer there (despite having no training) well before the playoffs schedule was set. When the day came, what I really wanted to do was stay home and watch the game, but I figured that might make the A's lose. I certainly didn't want that on my conscience, let alone flaking on the the people at the detention center.

Reiterating again that I have no training and can't speak about immigration law with any sort of authority, I did want to share the story of one man I met there.
Jose was 4 years old in 1986 when his family fled the civil war in El Salvador. [As a brief refresher, Central American civil wars, particulary during that time period, typically feature corrupt and brutal governments armed and supported by the United States.] The family did not apply for asylum, but managed to obtain work permits and, for the most part, green cards. Jose let his work permit expire, which means he is no longer able to apply for green card, at least not from within the country. Effectively, it meant that despite living here nearly his entire life, raising a 6-year-old son, and having no criminal record, Jose was in the country illegally.

Earlier this year, Jose bought a stereo system for his car off the street. He was pulled over for running a stop sign [which is apparently still against the law in some parts of Los Angeles]. The police officer saw the stereo under the driver's seat, and immediately booked Jose on grand theft auto. With no evidence to support the charge, the prosecutor lowered it to possession of stolen property. Jose was convicted. Now he's in a Lancaster jail, awaiting deportation to a economically depressed country that is in no way his home. Jose said he had no gang affiliation, but is afraid of the gang violence that the U.S. exported to El Salvador in the last two decades.

So what did the lawyer tell him his options were? One was to try to win some international awards for his sketches and get legal status under a provision generally reserved for Olympic athletes. The other was to ask for voluntary removal, which, if he were to get it, might make it easier for him to get a visa to come visit in the future.
Go A's.


Alicia said...

Go Tigers!

Koland said...

Jon, I think the key to the A's success this year will be you staying as far away from them as possible.

Please stop discussing the A's any further, as your "Go A's" statement has likely tendered a heartbraking defeat in game 1.

Kathy Schrenk said...

Wow, this koland knows his stuff!

Also, go Mets.

Kathy Schrenk said...

P.S. I think I personally have a lot more ability, due to my upbringing, than Jon to jinx the A's.

joc said...

good post. awful story. nice juxtaposition. i'm glad you're volunteering there.

Nemesis of Evil said...

The A's lost 5-1 today, but outscored the Tigers 1-0 in innings that I was not ignoring the clinic training to watch MLB GameDay on my computer. (Was it at obvious on t.v. that Jerry Crawford was absolutely screwing Zito while giving Robertson balls off the plate? Honestly, that was Tim Tschida-esque.)

However, as far as jinxes go, no one will ever top my sister, who in Game 7 of the 2003 ALDS, with Pedro on the mound, began baking a cake to celebrate the impending Red Sox victory.