There is a provision in our law which makes me dismayed whenever I encounter it. It allows those who are deported a remote chance to return (after lengthy months and years of paperwork) if there is a really extreme hardship shown, not to them, but to a family member as a result of their absence, and then only if that family member is a US citizen or resident.
For example, let’s assume an infant female was brought by her parents into this country illegally. Their daughter grew up in the US and is now an adult, but out of status. If she is caught and deported, she may be able to return if she shows that her continued exile will cause an extreme hardship to a US immediate family member.
So, in the example above, let’s assume she is married to a US citizen. If she can show that her husband will suffer extreme hardship if she remains in exile, she may be able to return (after months or years of paperwork). However, if her husband is neither a US citizen nor resident, or is she is single, she can not return no matter how much hardship her exile is causing her. Thus, despite famine, civil war or other calamities in her home country, or on-hold personal relationships, education, profession or business she may have in the US, our laws will not allow her back because the extreme hardship is affecting her and not a related US citizen or resident.
In other words, we care only if someone of our own, who is a US citizen or resident, is affected, but, we do not care if she is the one devastated, no matter how extreme the hardship is to her. It is almost as if others cannot be worth caring about regardless of what may happen to them if they are exiled indefinitely.
This law was enacted by a Congress many of whose members are proud of their Christian traditions. But, to my knowledge, those traditions are supposed to teach us not to be so self absorbed that we accept for others extreme hardships that we find too onerous for our own to endure.