Kicked out on the curb
September 1, 2012
Imagine this: After six agonizing months, you go to your mailbox and see that it has finally arrived.
“Here it is,” you think as your heart races. “Please …”
Like so many anxious mailbox moments: a college acceptance letter, lab results from the doctor, a letter from the mortgage company … you open the letter with your breath held and fingers crossed. “Dear …” the letter reads, “We are sorry to inform you that your application for green card residency has been denied. You have one month to leave the United States.”
Now I want you to imagine this: You are a handsome, well-educated British man in your 30s, married to a beautiful, industrious woman from Argentina. You have two small sons who were born and educated in the United States. The children are legal U.S. citizens.
Now imagine that you and your spouse have been living in the U.S. legally for 13 years, paying taxes and jumping through every legal hoop required to continue living here. Not only are you both employed by two very well-known and respected companies in Colorado, but your closest friends, co-workers and interests are here. You’ve built a life here, and you’ve done everything right.
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This is not the story of strangers in a far-away place but that of a local family here in the Roaring Fork Valley. As I write this letter, they are making final preparations to board a flight to Europe in the morning. You may think that they can return to their home countries, but Argentina is experiencing worse economic conditions than us, and England has no career opportunities for them. So they must flee like refugees to a European country where they don’t even speak their language.
What you would tell your American children? How would you explain such a thing? What would you feel? Undoubtedly, you would feel great sadness and anger at this injustice and rightfully so.
Where is the so-called “Great Melting Pot” now? Isn’t that what made this country great in the first place? Wasn’t it different ideas and cultures that made us unique? Why do we make it so difficult for parents of American children, who have been contributing to our society, who happened to be born in another country – to get a break?
I have no rational answer to the last question. It is merely unfair and unjust. If we are truly to be called the land of opportunity, the land of liberty and justice for all, it is time to seriously come to terms with immigration reform. Good people deserve a chance in this country, but unfortunately, that chance was denied.
Ben and Essie Whittaker are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. They were an irreplaceable addition to our community, and they will be sorely missed. From all of your friends at Blazing Adventures, we wish you nothing but the best. May God bless your new adventure.