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What's Spanish for "fait accompli?"

This morning's Boston Herald has the sad story of Mario Rodas, 19, a Guatemalan who graduated from Chelsea High School with honors last year. It seems that Mr. Rodas and his family came to the United States seven years ago on temporary visas, but didn't bother to go home. Now the government has caught up with them, and is looking to send them back.

It's hard to not feel sympathy for Mr. Rodas. He really hasn't done anything actively wrong. He didn't sneak across the border, he simply tagged along with his parents when they came to the United States legally (the article doesn't state what kind of visas they had or when they expired, but they were clearly temporary ones).

Mr. Rodas sounds like a decent guy, and I do feel sorry for him. I have no desire to leave the United States, either. But there are a few questions the article doesn't address:

1) Did the family come to the United States and just decide to stay, or was that their intention all along, and they lied on their original, temporary visas?

2) Has anyone in the family taken any steps towards legalizing and making permanent their residency, or have they just been going on "under the radar" and hoping no one would notice?

3) What has Mr. Rodas been doing since he graduated high school last year? Has he been working illegally?

There are right ways and wrong ways to become a permanent resident of the United States. It's not easy, but it's a hell of a lot easier than in pretty much any other nation on earth. Mr. Rodas and his family have had numerous opportunities to comply with the law, and apparently chose not to avail themselves of any of them.

One of the few things that stuck with me from sex education was an aphorism about birth control: "hope is not a method." This was followed up by "do you know what you call people who use 'hope' as their primary form of birth control? Parents."

Hope also isn't a good immigration strategy. It works well for millions, it seems, but it comes with no guarantees. And if you're one of those it doesn't work for, my sympathies for you diminish tremendously.

Because just like there's no such thing as "a little pregnant," there's no such thing as "a little illegal."

Comments (15)

My only quibble is with poi... (Below threshold)

My only quibble is with point number one. I feel it irrelevent. Once they broke the law it doesn't matter what their intentions were.

On point 2, if they were going through the processes and tried I'd be more lenient. I've been through the almost 10 year cycle to gain citizenship and it can be frustrating. It's quite sad to see Congress completly stripping citizenship of any meaning.

This latest vote by Congress on this plan pretty much makes all those classes, all those lectures, all the things we were led to believe about being an American citizen was just a bunch of baloney.

I remember the day I took the oath and became a citizen. I was extremly proud. Now, it pretty much all meaningless and I was simply a fool for believing it.

There are problems with the immigration process. It NEEDS to be reformed and improved. But this amnesty program is just going to lead to more illegals who are willing to hide out until the next amnesty happens.

I checked how my Senator voted. He is a Republican. He is up for re-election this year and he will not get my vote. I've written to say as much. He has an independant opponent who is not as conservative as I like, but at the moment he is more conservative than my Republican Senator.

I am far from being alone in this stewing anger at this latest action.

This is an example of how t... (Below threshold)

This is an example of how to boil a frog. Because this particular young man and his family got away with a crime for an amount of time, we now begin to feel sympathy.

They broke the law. Why does it have to be MY problem now?

The Kennedy's have a far better lifestyle than I. Were I to break into the Kennedy compound in Hyannis, how long would I have to hold out before someone would feel sorry for me and let me become a Kennedy and enjoy their lifestyle? Would anyone feel sorry for me after, say, ten years?

Hmmmm.Frankly I ha... (Below threshold)


Frankly I have little sympathy, so deport hiim and his family.

The term "illegal" is so ju... (Below threshold)

The term "illegal" is so judgemental. I'm sure they just "doing jobs Americans won't do".

Seriously, the gov't lied to us in 1986. Their lying again today.

The only way for true reform is to keep their lying feet to the fire.

I say let him go, or at lea... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I say let him go, or at least give him the opportunity to come back quickly on a student's visa...He seems like a good kid, a bookish honors student who came here when he was 12..What was supposed he to do, get back on an airplane without his family, when he was 13? He and his family cooperated willingly with the authorities, when they were seeking a fugitive..Meanwhile scores of Central American youth in American gangs who would never cooperate with authorities, and are whole lot more trouble to catch, may never be deported.

Life's a bitch. Guatemala ... (Below threshold)

Life's a bitch. Guatemala needs more people him, anyway. He could probably be president down there with that kind of education.

Because just like there'... (Below threshold)

Because just like there's no such thing as "a little pregnant," there's no such thing as "a little illegal."

I don't like this analogy, it's too black and white. I think we should really be asking why is a 19 year old high school graduate, who graduated with honors, about to deported because of the mistakes of his parents? If he graduated with honors, that must mean that he's pretty bright and could serve as a productive member of society. So if Mr. Rodas can benefit America by staying within our borders, wouldn't it be wise to keep him here?

If you guys like compromise, I can go that route, too. Instead of deporting Mr. Rodas, find someone of the same age who's unproductive to take his place. There's plenty of American citizens who fit this category, who do nothing but smoke pot, munch down Doritos, and waste their time playing games on an X-Box all day. Why not deport one of them in Mr. Rodas' place?

Hmm, tas, interesting sugge... (Below threshold)

Hmm, tas, interesting suggestion. However if you let the kid stay and deport his family, where do you think he'll send his paycheck?

Do we want to continue the rape of the third-world brain power and keep him? Send him back where he can help his nation of origin. It might stem the exodus of folks from that country.

Crap! I thought "fait accom... (Below threshold)

Crap! I thought "fait accompli" wasSpanich for fait accompli!

...wow, a little buck fever... (Below threshold)

...wow, a little buck fever there.

DrJohn,How about i... (Below threshold)


How about if the Kennedys have always allowed people who were lucky enough to live near them to move on to their compound and enjoy most of the benefits of being a Kennedy?? They do this because they see a benefit in more people aspiring to be Kennedys and believe the cost of stopping people living near them is more than any benefits.

Isn't that a more accurate example??

epador:Hmm, tas... (Below threshold)


Hmm, tas, interesting suggestion. However if you let the kid stay and deport his family, where do you think he'll send his paycheck?

He'll send it to his parents, of course. I don't have a problem with that. Hell, one of my former bosses was from Ecuador whose parents still lived in the country and he gave them an ATM card with full access to his checking account. Parents do a lot for their children... In this particular case, Mr. Rodas parents lived here illegally to get him a good education. It's only right that parents see their appreciation reciporcated.

Do we want to continue the rape of the third-world brain power and keep him? Send him back where he can help his nation of origin. It might stem the exodus of folks from that country.

I hardly see this situation as the US raping a third world nation of brain power. It's not like Mr. Rodas was educated in Guatemalan schools. He was educated and raised in America, and as far as I'm concerned, that makes him pretty American to me. There may be no such thing as being "a little pregnant," but the fact that Mr. Rodas is in America isn't his fault and I think that should be taken into account. If his parents are to be deported, fine, but I don't think we should be deporting the best and brightest people to come out of America's school system because of a mistake their parents made. Like I said, nab a stoner. Stoner's aren't the future of this country. :)

If Mr. Rodas wishes to return to Guatemala, that should be his choice.

I actually know this kid. H... (Below threshold)
Sgt. V:

I actually know this kid. He really IS a great kid. He's got nothing to go back to in Guatemala. He doesn't know anyone there. His English is great now, but his Spanish isn't anymore. Authorities think it's a good idea to deport this kid when Massachusetts has been losing its working age population, and inner city gang violence is at an all time high. The situation is all screwed up. He tried to get papers and was told there would be no way. There just isn't enough spots available for him to get a permanent visa. I say give this kid a break. And if there's another kid that comes up in the future, give him or her a break too. Me and my buddies, we served in Viet Nam. We love the USA. And we're getting ready to retire, just like the rest of the baby-boomers. That means the working age population of the US is shrinking. I know Mario will make a fine upstanding citizen if given a chance. I know we're going to need people like Mario to fund the Social Security System, so that I can get my Social Security when I retire soon.

I don't think is fair to br... (Below threshold)

I don't think is fair to break families apart. People like him deserve the opportunity to legalize their immigration status. Children of undocumented immigrants did not have a choice to come to this country? so they should not be punish for the mistakes of their parents.I believe that the bill recently passed by the Senate is the best way to deal with the broken immigration system.

America is one of the most ... (Below threshold)

America is one of the most difficult countries in the world to get permanent residency if you are not from northwestern Europe. Not the "easiest on planet Earth" Sometimes it takes over 15 years and thousands of dollars.






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