This is the story of Jose ________.[i] Jose is nearly 60 years old, a husband, father and grandfather – and an illegal immigrant. He came without documentation to Texas from Mexico 40 years ago, and has lived and worked here since that time. Some of his children and all of his grandchildren are American citizens. Jose came illegally. Now we want to deport him. But this isn’t something we haven’t known for 40 years! Jose’s employer knew he was an illegal immigrant. His co-workers knew. People who used the employer’s services knew. Folks who sold him gas and groceries knew. The man who rented him a home knew. I knew. Need I go on adding who knew? Churches. Local law enforcement. Jose benefitted from being here, and we benefitted from his being here.
Now we want to deport him. We didn’t deport him 10 years ago. We didn’t deport him 20 years ago. We didn’t deport him 30 years ago. We didn’t deport him 40 years ago. Now we want to deport him! What of all of us who were complicit in aiding and abetting him? What is our sentence, our fine, our punishment? Shall Jose bear this cross alone, and others of us be free? No, we are all involved and there should be a cross for every one. After 40 years, how about some common sense? How about some compassion? Is that too much to ask? Let him alone.