Monday, December 27, 2010


Immigration has been in the news a lot lately--especially how to stop illegal immigration or whether to let kids brought here when young go to college instead of being deported.

Recently, the shelter provided us volunteers with training on immigration laws and how they affect battered women.

Most female immigrants at the shelter (and elsewhere) don't want to return to their native country, especially those who are doing relatively well and want their children to grow up in the US of A. They came here for a reason, usually to better their lives, but sometimes because they were in love.

Saddest of all are the women threatened with having to return home. One, for example, who was abused in her own country, fled here, settled down. Another who fell in love via the Internet and found, to her horror, that her "wonderful" boyfriend had plans for her that included making her his sex slave (for profit), not marriage.

Worst of all are those women who flee abusive situations in a foreign country, arrive in America with a temporary work visa and end up in another abusive situation. They may have kids and be told by their abuser that they and their children will be reported to U.S. Immigration and sent back home. Their partner may steal and hide their visa so they cannot get green papers.

Some countries automatically imprison anyone deported. This means that when some women return home they will be separated from their children for a year or more and the kids may end up in substandard care. In other countries their culture or law demand that they return to the same family system that abused or used them in the first place.

So, illegal immigration is a simple issue. Just send them back, right?

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