Monday, March 27, 2006

Acting in Reliance

Lets say that you start cheating on your exams in the 1st grade. You know you shouldn't, but you do. The teachers just don't seem to care. Your fellow students not only don't care, but seem impressed. You get great grades.

This continues year after year all the way through high school. Finally, in you Senior year, you get caught, and the entire history comes to light. The school says you can't graduate, and that you have to start over again in 1st grade. The cheating was wrong, the success was unearned, and the other students who didn't cheat had an unfair disadvantage. But no one would suggest that the punishment was appropriate.

A 19 year old woman is told by her parents that she can't go on to college. She expects to follow in her mom's footsteps washing toilets in the local tourist hotel. A man tells her that there are greater opportunities for her if she can only come up with $2000. She crosses the border into California illegally. She starts out washing toilets in a tourist hotel, but works her way up. In the meantime she takes classes at a local jr college. She falls in love, marries, has kids, purchases a home, and makes a life for her family. Fifteen years later, there is a raid by the INS and they tell her she has to go back to Mexico.

Coming across the border was wrong, her success was only possible because of her illegal behavior, and others left behind in Mexico going through the regular channels to come to the US had an unfair disadvantage. But no one can possibly think she should go back to Mexico.

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