Thursday, August 27, 2009
Can we have the change you promised Mr. Obama?
It’s amazing that more people haven’t come around to it, but the Homeland Security are very threatening, at least here in California, NY, Arizona, Texas and Oregon.
I ask you, how many Americans actually carry their passports as proof of citizenship? Yet, this is what is required by the good Sheriff Arpaio, Lou Dobbs, Glen Beck and the Homeland INSecurity department; if you do not have any other picture ID documentation showing that you are a legal person in our country.
The reality is that you and I could be walking down the streets of any city minding our own business, innocent of any crime, but stopped and jailed for being or look like Mexican, Latino and not having the correct documentation showing our citizenship to the USA. This is another case of the dysfunctional and obsolete Immigration system. For millions there are no hope out there.
Jaime Mesa is the father, businessman and Woodside, Queens, resident for 43 years who was detained Aug. 13 by immigration authorities and is in danger of being deported.
"Things are looking up a little," said Jaime Mesa, referring to a temporary stay of his brother's deportation order.
"He is still in jail, but we have had a lot of support from hundreds of people who know Jorge, from friends and elected officials who have written letters or made phone calls on his behalf."
Home, of course, is not in the Colombia of his birth, but in Woodside with his fiancée, Olga Lucía Celis, a U.S. citizen, and their toddler son, Christian Enrique.
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens) has written a letter to Christopher Shanahan, director of the New York field office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in support of Mesa.
"I am strongly appealing to you to release Mr. Mesa while his attorney continues to work his case," Crowley wrote. "He turned his life around and has never encountered a problem since he was a teenager.
"He has become a successful businessman and is the proud father of a 14-month-old child. To deport him would be a hardship for not only him but his entire family."
Held at the Monmouth Correctional Institute in Freehold, N.J., Mesa's major concern is the future of his fiancée and his son.
"My family is my great worry," he said in a telephone interview.
Mesa's predicament stems from a 1981-1983 drug-related sentence. But as Crowley pointed out, in the past 26 years Mesa has never had a problem. More importantly, Mesa has earned the love and respect of all who know him.
"In all the years I have been assisting my constituents, I have never seen such an outpouring of support from the community [like the one] on Mr. Mesa's behalf," Crowley wrote Shanahan.
Like Crowley, Christina Hall, Mesa's lawyer, is amazed at the support her client has received from hundreds of people.
"He was just given a temporary stay of deportation so the Bureau of Immigration Appeals has time to go over the paper work," Hall said. "Monday, I sent them a 30-page addendum with 30 more letters in support of my client."
City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Queens), who is running for public advocate, is outraged at what Mesa and his family are going through.
"I really want to help him. What's happening to Mesa is heartbreaking and wrong," said Gioia, who told the Daily News he is getting in touch with Crowley and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand about Mesa's case. "Breaking up his family and deporting him does not do any good to anybody," Gioia added.
Gillibrand also wrote to the Department of Homeland Security requesting that Mesa be allowed to remain with his family while his appeal is pending, said Glen Caplin, her spokesman.
But it is in the dozens of e-mails that people from Woodside have sent to the Daily News where Mesa's unusual human qualities are best reflected.
"I have lived in Woodside all my life. In the past 16 years I cannot remember a time when Jorge Mesa wasn't around. My entire family has vacationed with him upstate for as long as I can remember and it would not be the same without him," said an e-mail from Jaime Fitzgerald. "He is a hardworking, kind-hearted man and Woodside would be suffering a big loss if he was deported."
Clearly this is the general feeling in Woodside. Let Mesa go home to his family and his community where he belongs.