That’s Leonardo DiCaprio’s signature line in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and I know just how he feels. Because, quite literally, as Arnie Grape so succinctly stated it, “I could go at any time”. I just lost round two at the 9th Circuit; my bond has been forfeited (at ICE’s demand); both the ACLU and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s Guild as well as the Center for Constitutional Rights and The Southern Poverty Law Center have turned me down for pro bono assistance of any kind, either because I’m not currently in Federal custody or because my case is complex and sets no precedents.
Note: for all the good the ACLU supposedly does, they don’t give a rat’s ass about helping an individual regardless of how dire his circumstances or how draconian the punishment that person faces (unless it’s the issue de jour and there’s already a lot of press attached to it). The ACLU won’t even return my phone calls after I fulfilled their request that I send them the facts of my case. I am colossally disappointed in the ACLU. Maybe if I can manage to get some national news coverage the ACLU will return my phone calls. Or alternatively, when I'm inevitably arrested by ICE maybe the National Lawyers Guild will represent me. Until then I'm twisting in the wind. Neither organization will be receiving a donation from me this year.
But I digress. Since “I could go at any time,” I thought it wise to converse with my elderly mother (now suffering with Alzheimer’s, God bless her) who in spite of her occasional memory lapses was sharp as a razor on one point. I have no living relatives in Canada! I quickly got my father on the line who just as quickly confirmed in no uncertain terms what my mother had told me, and like my mother, rattled off a lengthy list of dead relatives (followed by the two or three living cousins who all reside in the U.S.).
I think the math is pretty straight forward on this, don’t you? Here’s the equation. Me plus Canada minus everything I’ve ever known and loved = I’m fucked. I’m 51 years old so I don’t think I’m being melodramatic. Shall I forget my children, parents, girlfriend, friends, and familiar places – in short, everything that makes life worth living and start over in a foreign country where I know not a soul? Does that sound realistic?
Candidly, I am tired. This bullshit has sucked up nine years of my life. I have personally written more petitions, briefs and legal motions than a hundred people will ever see in their lifetimes. And for what? I haven’t done anything. Remember, they’re deporting me for a conviction that does not exist and I have yet to have the facts of my case reviewed on their merits. The reason for this is because the Office of Immigration Litigation attorneys representing the DHS, do not want my case tried on its merits because they know they’ll lose and they’ll lose badly. So instead, they fight me on time tolling so they can receive summary affirmances (or the like) insuring the facts of my case will never be read by the judges.
In short, I’ve lived here since 1962 and I’m going to be deported because, through no fault of my own, my paperwork was late??? OIL knows the only way they can win this case is if they keep the facts of the case unheard. The attitude seems to be… “Screw the truth; we want a check in the Win column!” I honestly believe that if more people knew what was really going on it would stop the kind of nonsensical, draconian punishments that are currently being handed out by the system.
Again, I digress. “I could go at any time.” Incidentally, if I try to come back at any time in the future, I’m looking at twenty years in a Federal penitentiary. I guess I won’t be attending my parents’ funerals or the birth of my grandchildren or my son’s graduation from college or anything of any significance for that matter. Occasionally I run into some clown who thoughtlessly remarks that I could be deported to worse places. I ask you, what worse a place is there than a place that separates you from all of your loved ones for the rest of your life? Sounds like hell to me; and I don’t deserve to go to hell.