The struggle to find an equitable and humane resolution regarding immigrants, vetting, legality, and on and on is a wildfire raging through America. Do you have any idea of anything near a solution? Nothing is simple, nothing can be easy.
In my teaching days when about 70% of our school were Hispanic, no questions were asked. Our students were there to be taught, loved, encouraged, and see growth in their languages.
Even so, given our goals, we still found so many reasons to worry: The parents were afraid.
One mother came for parent conferences, and between us, we had enough language to communicate. The problem, and it is a mighty big problem, was that this mother was here illegally, but her husband had a green card. He held the threat of turning her in IF she disobeyed him. He had a job, brought in money, which he drank away with his buddies, giving her a minute amount to care for her family.
He beat her, threatened her, and told her that if she reported this abuse, he would call authorities, who would take her away from her children. AND sadly this was true.
What to do? I escorted her to our bilingual assistant, who handled these type of cases. What happened? I'll never know.
Another case involved sexual molestation. In illegal immigrants, there is always a family member who knows a cousin who can vouch for the this person. In this case, a man "Red", with rare red hair for Mexicans, claimed to be a relative of someone's brother-in-law. He would move from place to place. Why?
He wasn't known by anyone, sadly, and this was where evil existed. Red sexually molested boys, eight years old and under. About the time this was discovered, Red had run to another community. One of those boys was in my class, along with others in our school.
This hit me in my chest, full force. Why had I missed the signs? Why had the family not seen it? In a one-bedroom apartment filled with twenty people, parents held two jobs or more. Someone had to watch the kids, and Red was an obvious choice.
This precious boy didn't show up for school from that time to the end of school. Where did he go? What happened? The fact that authorities were on his trail
meant that Red's capture was imminent.
I shared this with teachers in the lounge, some of whom were from Mexico, shared my dismay of his escape. They looked at each other, and one said, "Oh, he won't escape. Communities like this are connected through friends and relatives. Once he stops and tries to do this again, men will take him out to desert mountains. They will beat the crap out of him, and then each father of those boys he abused will take machetes to finish the job."
What could be said, just a silent nod of agreement. I would do this too. Justice meted out by those hurt solved Red's problems.
Dear Father in Heaven, what would have happened if all this information had been available? Would he have been vetted and caught? And what about this poor woman under an abusive husband's control? What will happen now?
I will never know. Wish I did. What could be done? What would be done? Will rioting in the streets and breaking windows of small businesses effect change?
All I can do is shake my head now. Back then I did what I could.