Other articles by the same author
Other articles by this author
- What's on Tap: July 24-July 30 updated
Javier*, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, just got back from Guatemala 10 days ago. He had been deported a year and a half ago after he lost the case for his papers. Everybody knew he would come back. He is a noble man who would never abandon his wife and three beautiful children.
It was not free though. He paid $3,700 to the smugglers who guided him through the barren lands of Texas. His first attempt was a failure. He was arrested and flown back to Guatemala. The very next day, after picking up money from his house in Guatemala, he was on the road again—headed due north. The second attempt was a success. A portion of his cash, hard-earned in the fields of America, went to the Zetas, who are the true police of the frontera, and also mass murderers and drug-traffickers.
Who wouldn’t have come back though? His family was here in Grand Rapids, heck, so was his job. Subsistence farming in his mountain village where people run around without shoes was not exactly worth bringing his family back to. When he considered staying in Guatemala to make a living there, he had to ask himself, "Is there any money left in handpicking corn here in Guatemala when in Iowa the machines do all the work and import it to Guatemala, tariff-free?" No, was the answer.
Now he is here, and he is glowing. Yes, glowing. A man reunited with his wife, like a soldier returning from a foreign war. Javier is a free-spirited rebel. He didn’t submit to subsistence farming; he chose the braver road. He reminds me of the rebels who fought the Redcoats and established the land of the free and the home of the brave. If we close the door to immigrants, no matter the color of their skin, we close the door to our own freedom, and enslave ourselves again to the rule of the few who do not represent us.
Three-thousand seven-hundred dollars went to the pirates of the mainland—thieves, thugs, murderers, and mercenaries. Couldn't these huge sums of money, along with the money spent on deportation flights, a wall, and hoards of border patrol police be better spent elsewhere? Why don’t we pocket that cash, make a small pile in our empty treasury, and earn some new citizens who know the value of work, family, bravery, and freedom?
I am an immigrant and I demand equal treatment to Hispanics as was afforded to my German ancestors, for we are the land where all men are created equal. If we legislate otherwise, we become the lands I thought we left behind.
Get on your horse, Revere, there is a war to fight—a revolution at that! It is time to think anew for our country in crisis. I believe we can swallow the pig that our little python took a hold of 325 years ago. I believe we can be the country that breaks the rules and believes in the righteous rule breakers. If you do not know your history, it is “last call” because things are swirling and those who missed the boat are going to find themselves standing out in the cold, without a hope. We need immigrants.
Disclosure: *Name has been changed to protect identity.
Benjamin Siekmeier works in the non-profit sector of Grand Rapids, MI where he promotes educational programs and encourages families. In his free-time he surfs, snowboards, plays soccer, skateboards, and hits home runs in softball. He loves his beautiful wife Ale, loves to dance, and loves kids.