(because if we’re going to build buhdy’s “Big Picture,” this is an essential part of it! (promoted 2:18 PM EST) – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
When ancient Christian theologians began examining the system of eternal rewards and punishments manifested in the concepts of heaven and hell, they were soon faced with a conundrum. What would the fates be of those virtuous souls who had lived and died long before Christ’s earthy arrival, or those who died in infancy before baptism? They neither qualified for heavenly inclusion nor deserved condemnation to hell.
The wise biblical scholars decided that there existed a place that was neither heaven nor hell. …A place for the righteous unsaved called Limbo, somewhere between heavenly bliss and the tortures of eternal damnation.
Today in the United States there exists for millions of foreign-born legal residents a different kind of Limbo. A legal limbo for those who have not been afforded the full rights and privileges guaranteed by citizenship but are spared the daily hell of the living as outcasts as undocumented immigrants.
Perhaps the cruelest part about Legal Resident Limbo is that most who live there, not unlike the un-baptized infants of the “Inferno,” have no idea that they have not reached the Promised Land. They go about their daily lives believing that, unlike the undocumented, their status assures them some protections against unwarranted detention, lack of due process, or deportation.
Most believe that if they commit minor infractions of the law they will be afforded the same privileges of all Americans. They believe that if convicted of a minor offense, once paying their debt to society, will be free to go on with their lives.
They do not to live in fear of being pulled over at traffic stops or calling for emergency assistance. They’re legal residents after all; they have no reason to fear the law.
Yet for many, they are living in a Limbo of false security.
In 1996 Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and a dramatic erosion of due process and civil liberties protection for noncitizens began.
Expanding the grounds for deportation and redefining what constitutes an aggravated felony when committed by noncitizens, the 1996 law subjected many long-term immigrants to mandatory detention and automatic deportation for relatively insignificant crimes such as shoplifting or marijuana possession.
Today, in our current climate of fear and intolerance, these laws are now being applied retroactively, forcing many first time offenders and those who were found guilty of youthful indiscretions, in some cases, many decades ago, to be expelled.
“Monica” has been a legal permanent resident in U.S.for 24 years. Born in Bolivia, she moved here at the age of three. She was a good student and daughter, and received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. But like many young people, she made a mistake in her youth. She got arrested once on a minor drug charge for picking up drugs for a friend before a night on the town. The crime was minor, and resulted in nothing more “accommodation ticket” as its penalty. “Monica” then went on with her life.
Yet, Six years later, upon returning from a family vacation, she was detained for the same prior drug charge. She is currently in detention, facing deportation for a crime she had already paid the price for.
These stories are becoming all too common as the concept of due process disappears for those living in immigration Limbo.