April 27, 2001 to April 27, 2010

On April 26, 2001, R was handcuffed and in a prison uniform, in a jail in the basement of what was then the Chicago INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services.)

On April 27, 2001, I waited four hours to see R for two minutes through a bank teller-sized window with bullet-proof glass.

This was at the Broadview Detention Center in the suburbs of Illinois.

He had handcuffs on. He wasn’t happy to see me. His eyes were very much dead.

After we saw each other, R was driven to O’Hare in a van with other men, and was put on a plane to Ciudad Juárez.

Along with his hands, his feet were handcuffed for the flight as well. And so were both of our hearts.

I turned 40 this past January.

At some point during that month I realized that I spent the majority of my 30’s here in Mexico. Deep regret and deep growth pulsing through me simultaneously.

I refuse to continue to mark these two days every year with glassy eyes and my lips pressed together in a thin, tight line.

I’m thinking that next year we should have some kind of party.

No, I’m serious. Next year will be ten years; 2001-2011. There’s a real symmetry to the numbers for those years.

So apparently for 10 years of marriage, the metal or material is tin. Which sounds like ten.

And next year is the ten-year anniversary for our marriage. Which happened a little over a week before R’s deportation.

The party is a celebration and a memorial. Festive and formal. Open bar and open borders.

I’ll be the one next to R, smile on my lips, drink in my hand, signing the praises of that humble metal, tin.


4 thoughts on “April 27, 2001 to April 27, 2010

  1. What if I broke into your home (looking for a better life for me and my children). Would that give me a right to stay in your house? Then on top of that, what if I demanded that you educate my children, pay for our health care, protect us, feed us and so on? You would think I was crazy! You would call the police to have me arrested and deported from your property. Would you care if I claimed it was to better my children’s future?

    What if I came in and undercut your legal wages by having an employer hire me for slave wages, and not pay taxes and government fees on my wages, which ultimately cost you your job because I was so cheap to hire? And then the government told you, “Hey it was a job Americans wouldn’t do anyways” when the truth is, it was a job your employer wouldn’t pay the legal wages for an American to do.

    I am not anti anything. Just want the country to enforce it’s very basic immigration laws so all Americans have a fair chance to feed their families with livable wages.


    1. Nathan,

      My recommendation is that you read my previous posts. Read the posts by the people and organizations that I have on my blog list.

      Take the time to hear our stories, as if we were someone in your life that you call in the middle of the night when you have a big emergency.

      Think about language, and how every word counts.

      The D’s Wife


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