The Never Ending Story

By: Alexandra Kells

Immigration is a controversial issue here in the United States. How do we enforce the law if many immigrants are not a part of the system? Many immigrants that come here illegally cross the southern border from Mexico. They come to the U.S. because they are hoping for something better. Unfortunately, many of them do not get the opportunities they are searching for. Some get low paying jobs that no one else will take and eek out a living to raise their children here, with the chances and privileges they never got. This is the story of one such woman.
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This is the story of Luisa Martinez

Luisa is from a small indigenous population in Oaxaca, Mexico. As a young mother, she left her home country to join her husband who was already living in America. Luisa brought her son and daughter with her.

Four years later, Luisa had another daughter; who was born in the U.S. and is a natural citizen. In 1997, the family was advised by a lawyer to become legal citizens. However, this advice came too late and by the time the couple applied to have their pending deportation status suspended, the law allowing them to do so had changed. In 2000, Luisa was told that it would be impossible for her to get a relief order allowing her to stay. Having separated from her husband, Luisa was the only one left to support her children.

In September of 2000, Luisa was ordered to a meeting at the Immigration office, only to find out that the meeting would have to be rescheduled. All she got was radio silence for the next seven years.

2006 brought a letter from immigration to Luisa's eldest daughter. When she went to the office to inquire about what she should do, she was arrested and deported. Her younger brother was deported only a year later, leaving Luisa and her youngest, Elena, on their own. Elena was deeply upset by the separation, so much so that she was later diagnosed with PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Luisa was granted a stay of removal until May of this year in order to support Elena. However, her request for a renewal of her pardon was denied and Luisa is now facing the prospect of her own deportation. This will quite possibly re-trigger Elena's trauma and she would likely loose her opportunity to go to college and her budding musical career. Luisa is still in America, but she has no way to know how much longer she can stay.

She's not the only one

Unfortunately, Luisa is one of many immigrants living in fear of our government, and she's certainly not the first woman living in this country to face a punishment she did not earn. Perhaps one of the most well know examples of Luisa's predicament is a story that started in a little town called Salem. The story is by no means a simple one. Historians today are still not sure who to blame for such sudden panic, except the fear of God. In the well known book (now a motion picture), The Crucible, townspeople are hanged for witchcraft based on nothing but the accusations of their neighbors and the dramatic fits of a teen-aged girl.

A man by the name of John Proctor is accused of witchcraft and in the end is sentenced to death. In one last desperate attempt to save Proctor, the local reverend pleads with John to write and sign a confession so that they ca nail it to the church doors and save him. However, John is not willing to stain his name with a crime he did not commit, and John cannot be spared. The entire community lived in fear that somehow they will be next, even when they have done nothing wrong.

Illegal immigrants live in fear that one day their name will be called and they will be sent back to a land that is not their home. They guard their names and hope that no one with turn on them. These plights are similarly depicted in The Crucible, though witches are perhaps better received now than immigrants are.