Fruit of the poisoned tree

I’ve had my share of fun at Lawrence, Massachusetts’ expense. I’ve called it “the armpit of the Bay State,” among other things. Every now and then, though, I hear something that makes me think there’s hope for the city. Most of the time, though, I end up having my hopes dashed.

Robert Mustafa was an outstanding student at troubled Lawrence High School. He was going into his senior year with a 3.96 grade average, 40th in his class of 396. He actually scored enough credits to graduate, but wanted another year to better prepare himself for college. He came here from the Dominican Republic without speaking English, but within four months of enrolling in school passed the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Test on his first try.

But before he entered his last year of school, he and his family returned to the Dominican Republic for the summer. His father, a church accountant, made one fatal mistake while filling out the visa forms to return: he admitted that his son had attended school in the US previously — something not allowed on the “tourist” visa Robert was in the country under before. When it was discovered that he had violated the terms of that prior visa, immigration officials revoked all the family’s visas.

Now, I don’t think that Robert and his family pose some grave threat to national security or our economy. On the contrary — they sound like exactly the kind of immigrants we should be welcoming. I think that he and his family could be potentially tremendous assets to the United States.

But that doesn’t change the fundamental fact that they did break the law. The law is clear — if you’re a tourist, you’re only allowed to stay for a short time, and are NOT entitled to various services, such as education. I find it hard to believe that they did this through ignorance, but I’ll grant them the benefit of the doubt and say it was inadvertent. But the fact remains — they broke the law, and there must be no rewarding of lawbreakers if our immigration laws are to mean anything. The line has been trampled on for so long, it must be reasserted — and reasserted firmly, in every case.

Sail away, sail away, sail away...
"I'm gonna sue you for not stopping me!"

30 Comments

  1. steve sturm October 30, 2005
  2. DaveD October 30, 2005
  3. Jeff Watson October 30, 2005
  4. -S- October 30, 2005
  5. Mark October 30, 2005
  6. Maytagtwin October 30, 2005
  7. Jay October 30, 2005
  8. ed October 30, 2005
  9. -S- October 31, 2005
  10. Jenny November 11, 2005
  11. Tider November 11, 2005
  12. Robert Mustafa November 11, 2005
  13. Samira Blanco November 11, 2005
  14. Gabriela Paulino November 11, 2005
  15. Laura Regus November 11, 2005
  16. Marta November 11, 2005
  17. jonathan lantigua November 11, 2005
  18. Jonathan Perez November 11, 2005
  19. Jonathan Lantigua and juan e ventura November 11, 2005
  20. chivo November 11, 2005
  21. Yesenia November 11, 2005
  22. Laura Regus November 11, 2005
  23. Jonathan Lantigua November 11, 2005
  24. Robert Mustafa November 11, 2005
  25. Karina Polanco November 11, 2005
  26. Jay Tea November 11, 2005
  27. pedro November 11, 2005
  28. Robert Mustafa November 12, 2005
  29. Marta November 12, 2005
  30. kenya duran November 13, 2005