Friday, October 05, 2007
The prevailing attitudes of white supremacy in the U.S., fueled by TV and radio hate talks shows and the Bush administration's agenda to enrich corporations at any cost, have increased the harassments and hate crimes at the northern and southern borders.
Well-known illegal immigrant to be deported.
A west suburban woman who became one of the public faces of the immigration debate is now about to be deported. Teresa Figueroa is a wife, a mom and much beloved in her community, but she also broke the Law.
The case of Teresa Figueroa raises many of the issues fundamental to the immigration debate. It has received public attention, but not with the white-hot intensity of some others.
Figueroa came to the U.S. from her native Mexico eight years ago. To stay, she said she followed an understood practice. She bought a resident-alien card. It had another woman's name and social security number on it. Teresa was later arrested, did some jail time and was ordered deported.
"One makes mistakes when one doesn't know," she said.
Figueroa said she is remorseful about her mistake, but she does not consider herself a criminal, nor do the people who know her, or the governor, who pardoned her.
She has worked, paid taxes, owns a home, and is adored in her church where she is a lay leader. She became one of the faces of the immigration debate and sought to head off deportation.
"What I'm asking for is actually the opportunity to show I have contributed to this country and that I am not a criminal," she said.
Figueroa began her fight to avoid deportation three years ago. All of her appeals have now been denied. On Thursday, she was told to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, which she did, and provide proof that she's purchased a plane ticket to Mexico, which she has. She said she accepts the deportation decision, but wishes it could have turned out differently.
"Obviously it's not easy. It's very hard. Obviously it's something that affects people deeply, profoundly," said Figueroa.
She said she had been invited to accept sanctuary in a church during her deportation fight, but she declined, in order to demonstrate her desire to comply with the law.
Now she will leave family here but will join other family members in her native country.
"I know they're waiting for me, and I think the doors are open," she said.
It is not clear exactly when Figueroa will leave the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement won't discuss individual cases. But documents say she must depart by the end of the month. That is a month earlier than had been set before.
Figueroa was the subject of a Luis Gutierrez-sponsored private bill in Congress, but the bill has not been called.