In Christine Neumann-Ortiz’s Aug. 26 column, “Immigration reform delays are hurting families,” she listed some people she knew suffering from the immigration nightmare. Being from Milwaukee, she is probably also aware of Regina Bakala.
A refugee from rape and torture in the Congo, Regina came to the United States in 1997. The evening of March 22, 2005, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) “police” invaded and took Regina from her apartment home in Milwaukee. She spent the next three months incarcerated, separated from her husband and two small children. With the help of Josephe Marie Flynn, School Sisters of Notre Dame, lawyers and the $70,000 given by the good people of Milwaukee, Regina was saved from deportation.
The House Judiciary Committee has approved H.R. 2131, aimed at smoothing the path to citizenship for foreign graduates of U.S. universities and for other immigrants with advanced degrees. This would not have helped Regina. Nor will it be any help to many of the illegal Mexican-American immigrants who are the focus of immigration reform. Where will they find $1,000, let alone $70,000, to navigate the complicated immigration system?
I can hear them. Can you? You sought me, brought me, “bought” me to clean your houses (even in D.C.), to tend your lawns, to clear your restaurant tables, to harvest your crops, to slaughter your animals for meat, to sew in your factories. And now my children may stay while I must go?
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