On this Father's Day, while men across the land generate enthusiasm for a tie, or a clock in the form of a golf ball, illegal immigrants get a much juicier present from the New York Times in the form of a tear-jerker of an op-ed column. For the Times, there is, palpably, no subject that cannot be turned into an ode to illegality.
In Impounded Fathers, Edwidge Danticat tells the stories of various fathers arrested and deported in ways that separated them from their families.
- There is the father from Honduras who was imprisoned, then deported, after a routine traffic stop in Miami. He was forced to leave behind his wife, who was also detained by immigration officials, and his 5- and 7-year-old sons, who were placed in foster care.
- The father from Panama, a cleaning contractor in his 50s, who had lived and worked in the United States for more than 19 years. One morning, he woke to the sound of loud banging on his door. He went to answer it and was greeted by armed immigration agents. His 10-year asylum case had been denied without notice. He was handcuffed and brought to jail.
- The father from Argentina who moves his wife and children from house to house hoping to remain one step ahead of the immigration raids.
- The Guatemalan, Mexican and Chinese fathers who have quietly sought sanctuary from deportation at churches across the United States.
- The Haitian father who left for work one morning, was picked up outside his apartment and was deported before he got a chance to say goodbye to his infant daughter and his wife.
Danticat refers to these people as "casualties" of beefed up enforcement. She never bothers to inform us of who these fathers are: people who are illegally in the United States, who broke the law in coming or staying here. Danticant concludes by alleging that American-born children of these people have been "abandoned by their country."
Ms. Danticat, the fault lies not with a government securing its borders and enforcing its statutes, but with the fathers who put their families unity at risk by breaking the law.
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