Your Federal Tax Dollars Hard at Work

This sad, sad -- and true -- story will make you glad that Homeland Security is looking out for us all....NOT.

Once upon a time there was a hard-working Mexican citizen, living illegally in the United States with his wife and two school-age kids. Let's call him Luis. He'd never been in trouble with the law; he worked hard as a carpenter and eventually was able to set up his own carpentry shop. He hired some other Mexican citizens, also here illegally and without work authorization, to help out in the shop. Luis' wife also worked in his shop. By all accounts, Luis did good work and treated his workers well. He even paid federal and state taxes for himself and his workers, though because the social-security numbers were false, nobody would be able to claim a penny from the government in benefits.

One day someone called the ICE (Immigration Control and Enforcement, the new INS) tip line and told them that Luis was employing illegal aliens. ICE promptly launched a six-month investigation into Luis and his carpentry shop, sending undercover agents to the shop to talk to Luis and surreptitiously taking pictures of his employees. ICE even recruited one of Luis' workers to act as an informant, complete with body wire.

Ultimately, the federal government charged Luis with, among other things, the felony offense of "harboring" illegal aliens by employing them in his carpentry shop. One of the eight aliens he is charged with harboring is HIS WIFE, the mother of his (now three -- they have a newborn daughter) children. After all, Luis not only employed her but also sheltered her in his house and occasionally drove her to work.

After it filed charges against Luis, the government deported most of his employees. Now, however, in preparation for Luis' trial, they have brought the employees back to the United States (at taxpayer expense) on special one-year visas AND given them authorization to work here. Apparently it's okay for illegal aliens to work here as long as they're useful to the federal government.

Luis, meanwhile, is on house arrest and cannot work to support his family or even leave his home for enough time to make arrangements to rent out his carpentry tools, which are sitting, unused, in storage. He wonders whether he can get permission from the government to take his elementary-school-age daughter to the library for a few hours each week, as recommended by her summer-school teacher. Luis' arrest and the six months he spent in jail have been hard on his daughter, and her schoolwork has suffered.

I can't tell you how many person-hours the government has spent investigating and persecuting -- I mean, prosecuting -- this poor man and his family. How much money it has wasted, and how much venom it has spat, in trying to make this guy out to be Homeland Security priority number one. Shit.

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