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On reflection

A volunteer’s view from Tijuana: The long, uncertain slog to ‘the other side’

Part 2 of 2

Note from the author: This series is based on a long face-to-face interview with Sharon resident Abby Nathanson, clarifications she provided in response to emailed questions, as well as photos, statistics, and several articles Abby sent to enrich my piece. Finally, my understanding of the asylum process was augmented by news articles on Tijuana and immigration at the southern border.

 

A volunteer’s view from Tijuana: The long, uncertain slog to ‘the other side’

Part 1 of 2

Note from the author: This series is based on a long face-to-face interview with Sharon resident Abby Nathanson, clarifications she provided in response to emailed questions, as well as photos, statistics, and several articles Abby sent to enrich my piece. Finally, my understanding of the asylum process was augmented by news articles on Tijuana and immigration at the southern border.

 

The back of the line

I admit it. I probably don’t realize how often I should be asking a question until suddenly I’m stunned by the answer. This is what happened when I read “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen,” by Jose Antonio Vargas, a successful journalist, immigration activist, and perhaps our most famous undocumented American. For years, I’ve heard people complain: They don’t have a problem with immigrants, what they mind is the ones who’ve come here illegally. Why don’t these people play by the rules and go to the back of the line? 

The realities of being an undocumented immigrant today in the USA

I admit it. I probably don’t realize how often I should be asking a question until suddenly I’m stunned by the answer. This is what happened when I read “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen,” by Jose Antonio Vargas, a successful journalist, immigration activist, and perhaps our most famous undocumented American. For years, I’ve heard people complain: They don’t have a problem with immigrants, what they mind is the ones who’ve come here illegally. Why don’t these people play by the rules and go to the back of the line? 

The citizenship question: Trump’s pet project

On Jan. 15, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to add its controversial question about citizenship status to the 2020 Census. As the judge declared in his ruling, the citizenship question could dissuade more than 24 million residents from filling out the census. The Trump administration is expected to appeal the decision, with the U.S. Supreme Court making its decision before June.

The joys of learning to be a hospice volunteer

Hospice teams accompanied my mother, an aunt and uncle, and both my husband’s parents during their last months, keeping them pain-free and comfortable, which helped them focus on relationships with family and die in dignity and peace. Although these family members lived in Virginia, Ohio and California, and hospice is a locally run organization, in every case the hospice philosophy of working with both the patients and their loved ones was as evident as was the quiet dedication and care of its professionals and volunteers.

Locking the door behind us

Soon after my husband and I bought our home in Sharon almost 20 years ago, I went to Town Hall to buy a transfer station permit. Enthusiastic about our little house in the woods, I told the selectmen’s secretary that I hoped the area would stay exactly as we’d found it. The woman gave me a hard look: “All you New Yorkers, as soon as you come up here, you want to lock the door behind you.”

A nice country for well-heeled white men

For a little over a week, the hearings, the stunted FBI investigation, and the final Senate vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court blotted out my upset from Trump’s Zero Tolerance Immigration Policy, and the story of the traumatized four-year old who remains separated from his mother, or the immigrant teenagers lined up like prisoners in a vast tent city in West Texas. Instead I was consumed by the appalling machinations aimed at confirming a white male judge with a record of conservative rulings and an apparent history of drinking and sexual aggressiveness. 

Locking the door behind us

Soon after my husband and I bought our home in Sharon almost 20 years ago, I went to Town Hall to buy a transfer station permit. Enthusiastic about our little house in the woods, I told the selectmen’s secretary that I hoped the area would stay exactly as we’d found it. The woman gave me a hard look: “All you New Yorkers, as soon as you come up here, you want to lock the door behind you.”