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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.


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Comments (30)

I agree with you. ... (Below threshold)

I agree with you.

I would also like to know for just how long the family was in the country on a tourist visa?

And, I presume, there's no automated INS system that flags those staying an awful long time on what ought to be a relatively short visit.

Jay, I guess I would give t... (Below threshold)

Jay, I guess I would give them the benefit of the doubt too. I mean if Robert's father was clearly trying to scam the system he would have been aware enough of the rules to lie on the return visa applications. It is ashame the law has been broken in this case. Seems the immigration officials in Massachusetts have a better handle on these laws than the President.

It is a shame that the fami... (Below threshold)

It is a shame that the family is put in such a quandry. I remember getting kicked out of a third world country because of a stupid regulation where I purchased some legal items to export back to the USA. I lost the items, paid a huge fine, and was deported after spending 28 days in a dungeon.

Again, Jay Tea, I agree wit... (Below threshold)

Again, Jay Tea, I agree with you.

The Visa process can't be reduced to a case of who is nice and who isn't nice, in mere terms to void the laws otherwise.

The family was caught in their dishonesty, despite being "nice," the laws still apply, or should. If "nice" is now an excuse for dishonesty (the Visa process and dishonesties involved it are very serious, to my view, but unfortunately, many people abuse the requirements [d'oh] because of...what...arrogance assuming it doesn't matter...disrespect for the conditions...the list is a long one here).

The family was caught in a lie. Church accountant or not, still a lier caught in a lie: violation of Visa terms and conditions, overstaying their Visa terms and conditions, providing false information on a federal document: lying.

THAT's the significant issue here.

So what about the other 9 m... (Below threshold)

So what about the other 9 million (official estimate)
to 20 million (possibly as many as) Jay?


Not only should the visa be... (Below threshold)

Not only should the visa be revoked, but he owes non-resident tuition for the education he received.

There's an old saying in th... (Below threshold)

There's an old saying in the legal profession: hard cases make bad law. I feel sympathy for the kid, and for his family.

But, if you make an exception for him, who else gets an exception? Who decides who gets an exception? What happens to the law after you've shot a thousand holes in it?

Personally, I'd be more than willing to trade this kid and his family for some home-grown loser who thinks he (or she) is entitled to be taken care of without ever having to work.

But, you just can't do that. Not if you want to have a rule of law.

Hmmm.At an average... (Below threshold)


At an average of $15,000 per year for educating minor aged students, that bill is probably pretty high.

I agree Jay, they shouldn't have been allowed back in with a tourist visa. Frankly I don't think they should ever be allowed back in.

And this wink and a nod enforcement of illegal immigration is just simply the biggest scandal there is.

Yep, ed, you are so right a... (Below threshold)

Yep, ed, you are so right about that. It ("this wink and a nod enforcement of illegal immigration) certainly IS "the biggest scandal there is."

It certainly is. The RNC really needs to take notice and Hagel's stupid "guest workers get amnesty and chicken dinners, too" legislation is actually the better of all the very bad proposals, as in, they're all very, very bad.

Really a problem. What bothers me very much about this "wink and nodding" is why it's being routinely censored by many sites and most of media.

Pienso que ellos se merecen... (Below threshold)

Pienso que ellos se merecen ese nuevo permiso como cualquier otra persona, ya que no estan como otros vendiendo drogas ni prostituyendose....
Las leyes cuando los americanos mas lo quieren la ropen sin pensar en nadie, por que son todos unos egoistas hipocritas...

While I respect everyone's ... (Below threshold)

While I respect everyone's right to an opinion, I would strongly suggest that you restrain yourselves from making judgements when you don't have the facts!! As one of Robert's teachers, I am very aware of the situation. Although it is true that Robert arrived on a tourist Visa, his family were APPROVED for R1 and R2 Visas when Robert was attending school! Several US Govt Offices gave Robert's family incorrect information which delayed the finalization of their visa paperwork and then they were given contradictory info from the Dominican Counsulate. There was no deception, "lying", or ignorance involved . . . the Mustafa family simply did as they were instructed by both the US and DR govenments and are being punished for it. Most every news report of this incident has contained some factual errors. Be careful that you have your facts right before making judgements!

Hi!!!I don´t know if... (Below threshold)
Robert Mustafa:

I don´t know if you do know the story of mine, but I´m sure you don´t have any evidence to write this way about me and my family. I got all my letters proving what I´m saying. Another thing is that as servers of God, my family and I would never breake a law of any country. I don´t have anything else to say just to thank you for everything. For the next time, I think you´ll have to find the truth of the things before affecting a family that have not done anything to you. Thank you and at the same time I apologize if I offended you somehow.

Well As my friend Robert sa... (Below threshold)
Samira Blanco:

Well As my friend Robert said many of you people may judgement without knowing the situation , making comments withou really knowing what is going on. Put yourself in his family's shoes , is hard for them to read and hear such comments. I dont really care what you people think about him , I only know that he is agreat guy that deserved another opportunity

and no i wont excuse if i have offecnd someone , is not me to ask for forgiveness

As a friend of robert i kno... (Below threshold)
Gabriela Paulino:

As a friend of robert i know that he is a great student and that he deserves a second chance. he didn't do anything wrong and i think he should be allow to come back as a u.s resident at least until he finishes college.

I dont understand who are a... (Below threshold)
Laura Regus:

I dont understand who are all these people talking about laws. "Laws" in the US, who are we kidding? How can you say that Robert should not be admitted back to the US, when there is a big population of illegal people here. As one of Roberts friends, I think you are (to those who dont agree with Robert being admitted to the US) so unjust, unfair, and ignorants...how dare you put your opinions without even knowing all the facts. If a mistake was ever done by the Mustafas was trying to give their son an education, or saying the truth. I am very shocked and amazed to see how many people are trying to put out excuses for this case without even knowing the facts behind it...

Did anyone know that this i... (Below threshold)

Did anyone know that this is the country where you lose who you are but never what you are? If you are not from the US OF A you will always be looked down or up upon what your race is, not only from white americans but also from non-americans as well.

My people.... THINK for a moment, if anyone would be doing something illegal...why go to a place where you know you'd be held accountable for!!!!! it makes no sense....

in the US believe it or not... there are some Incompetent people that just don't do their job right!!!! and for whatever reason mis-inform others.....which then suffer the consequences

We all are full of ideas and opinions but an idea or an opinion without something to back it up is just vague

asi q abramos los ojos q pa eso nos dieron dos... al igual q dos oidos para q oigamos mas de lo q hablemos....


hi, I don't know who was th... (Below threshold)
jonathan lantigua:

hi, I don't know who was the clown that put this down about my personal friend robert. I would like to let him know that robert besides being a good student as he stated in his article
is a tremendous friend. In my opinion the person who wrote this article has nothing else to do in his boring life. The next article, that he's going to publish should be about his mom, telling how miserable she was raising him. I want to let you know that robert isn't alone, he has family and friend that are always beside him. Man don't mess with me, I personally recommend you to mess with your mom, or someone related to you. Lastly spend you time in a better way, man!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stop criticizing other aren't related to you.

It's amazing how america... (Below threshold)
Jonathan Perez:

It's amazing how americans could be so blind by convenience. When immigrants work the lowest jobs sometimes for below minimum wages and others benefit from it its not a problem that they are here under whatever circumstance they are. However, as soon as this immigrants are making a name for themselves by obtaining an education and accomplishing more than what is "expected" from them there is a problem. This family was mis-informed of certain details, which lead to complications that should not have taken place. Unfortunately for those of you that are against their return, they have been approved for the necessary visas and they are coming back to the US of A, as they rightfully should. Thank you to all of those that petitioned for this noble cause. May God bless all of you greatly.

I'm disagree with this pe... (Below threshold)
Jonathan Lantigua and juan e ventura:

I'm disagree with this person, that wrote this article about robert, Firstable he should first investigate, and then conclude. This person doesn't know what were the circumtances why robert selfdeported him to Dominican R. Robert should be in this country instead of the punk that wrote this crap, his next article or crap should be about him and his mother raising him, and how miserable she was during that time. He shouldn't criticize, and judge others, without having proofs of what he said. God!!!!!!!!!!!!! this guy is nuts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Mira!!!!!!!!!!!, mamaguevo ... (Below threshold)

Mira!!!!!!!!!!!, mamaguevo que es lo que te pasa, no te me ta con Robert, metete en el culo de tu mama. Maricon cuanto tu estaba escribiendo ese articulo me imagino que tu mujer te lo estaba metiendo. hijo de tu maldita madre tu no encuentra que publicar, si tu no sabes que escribir o publicar publica tu mama en tanga, cabro!!!!!!!!!!!!. Dedicate a limpier toilet publico, y posirga de puerco. Ahora que me recuerdo tu eres un puerco, buen suicio, recuerdale a tu mama limpiarce los patis, deja de publicar sica, puerco. ATT el diablo, mejor conocido como el chivo. Bye!!!!!!!!!!!! tevere en el infierno!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, sucio.

BLOW ME...then you can writ... (Below threshold)

BLOW ME...then you can write about my immigrant ass and send me back to portugal!!

ok I think theres no need t... (Below threshold)
Laura Regus:

ok I think theres no need to lower ourselves to their level. Theres no need for swearing or mentioning anyones mom. I dont think we should act like this, we are grown ups. If we wanna be taken seriously, we should act as respectful beings. I understand that Robert is our friend and hes being judged unfair, but we have to give him our support in a good way. That people are ignorants is not our fault, we know that he should be allowed to come back and if some people dont want to accept that, then thats just their problem.

man!!!!!!!!!, this guy wrot... (Below threshold)
Jonathan Lantigua:

man!!!!!!!!!, this guy wrote that article to drive us nuts, let stop writting, he wants us to follow his game, and we're baiting the hook. My friends I beg you to stop. Robert do not listen to that punk, man this is crap. "you will be back as USC". that quote is between us, you and me Robert.

I agree with Laura, we don´... (Below threshold)
Robert Mustafa:

I agree with Laura, we don´t have to express ourselves throught that way. It´s just give them the opportunity to say whatever they want about us (Latinos). I really thank you the support that I am receiving. Everything could be solve peacefully. I Love You People...

Hi, I don't know why that m... (Below threshold)
Karina Polanco:

Hi, I don't know why that man put this article in here, if he doesn't know the situation with Mustafa's family. I just only want to say that many people are in the USA with a green card doing nothing and giving problems to the country. But this family just only want to improve the community. They are the kind of people the country needs. When a person is doing okay, always there is a problem that affect it. So I consider that your report about this family is a lack of education, because before doing something you have to now the case and you don't know it.

I apparently neglected to i... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

I apparently neglected to include the link to the newspaper article I drew my information from, but everything I said was drawn from that source.

I stand by what I said: Robert sounds like a hell of a guy, and I think he could be a great asset to any nation he lives in. But if the law was indeed, broken, there must be consequences for that. Our laws are already being seen as a joke; they must mean something, if we are to survive as a nation. And while that might seem unfair in Robert's case, the laws have to be enforced SOMEWHERE.

And to Jenny and Chivo: I don't speak Spanish, so I'm going to presume that what you said was wholeheartedly supportive of me, and you agree with everything I said. Thanks!


Hello, I'm pedro, I wrote s... (Below threshold)

Hello, I'm pedro, I wrote some bad words down a moment ago, I read what Robert wrote, I expressed myself that way, just because the article author hit Robert. I want to apologize, in behaft of me and my friends, including Robert. I want to redeem my self. Friends for give me. ATT el Chivo.

I don´t know if you Jay rea... (Below threshold)
Robert Mustafa:

I don´t know if you Jay read the blogs, but let me tell you something, if we violated the Laws of you country it was with no intention. If we had violated the law as many people said, why did US Inmigration department granted us the Visa, it was because we were right, because we did not violated any law. That´s why I say that you have to study the case before writting about someone. The problem in this case is that they sent me to my country and the consul said whatever he wanted, so, if you did not know the consul called the other, asking me for my passport, apologizing the mistake that he had made, so everything It´s going to be in your imagination. Thank you very much People. The show´s over.

Don't base your staments on... (Below threshold)

Don't base your staments on just one link.... do some more research and ask around before you get to draw any conclusions...

This land wasn't made by pure americans...there's no such thing as pure americans... america is defined as a melting pot, if it weren't for immigrants this land wouldn't exsit (legal or illegal).

Robert's case is not unique, many immigrants are misguided, why?? well, i say it's incompetence, but many other reasons might be involved

again plz do more research before you draw any conclusion...that's to all of us!!!!!

Is easy to earn money by sa... (Below threshold)
kenya duran:

Is easy to earn money by saying lies. Well I know Robert Mustafa and He is a good kid because I never saw him in in house or having problems in school. If you don't know anything about Robert Mustafa, you should first learn and be inform about him and his family before saying this type of things. Well another thing you might think that because his friend know him, we just defense him, but this is not the case. Because yuo should think first about your family, well wrong You don't think about your family because you just talking about others. Is too easy sitting in front of a computer writing a stupid article like this one. I will love to know what you would do is something happem to you and your family?. I think his dad did the right thing because he said the truth. I think nothing wouldn't happen to them if they did said the big lie. I will like to see you in this position, but you are an american person that this will never happen to you.

ME hubiese gustado mucho que su papa hubiese dicho esa mentira para ver lo que ellos hubiense hecho. ME imagino que nada, porque asi es que son. Va que si fuera un vende droga, delicuente de eso de la Broadway le hubiesen dado la visa pero como es una familia trabajadora y honesta le jodieron la vida.
I think if his dad would said that his children were not studing in the USA, nothing like this happen. His family are were honess by saying the trust. Robert good luck we love you and don't dispair that god is with you right now.






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