Monday, November 29, 2004

Those Lucky Immigrants

Headline in the Times: "Bush Picks Immigrant Who Rose to Executive for Commerce Post."

What if you're an immigrant who didn't become the CEO of a major company?

By all reports Virginia Feliz had been a happy 6-year-old before her mother's expulsion [deportation]. Two months later, doctors at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center found that she had a major depressive disorder marked by hyperactivity, nightmares, bed-wetting, frequent crying and fights at school. Now, medical records show, she takes antidepressant drugs and sees a therapist, but the problems persist.

[....] In Brooklyn, similar cases cause concern for Birdette Gardiner-Parkinson, the clinical director at the Caribbean Community Mental Health program at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. In one, she said, an outgoing, academically gifted 12-year-old began failing classes, mutilating herself and having suicidal thoughts after her Colombian father disappeared into removal proceedings. In another case, nightmares and school failure plague the youngest of six children whose father, a cabdriver with 20 years' residence in the United States, was deported to Nigeria six hours after he reported for a green card interview, seemingly for unpaid traffic fines, Ms. Gardiner-Parkinson said.

So maybe they were illegal immigrants, the people who left these children behind. But do you want to be the one to explain to their children why they have to live without a parent? Why it's morally right that they live without a parent?