When Speaking Out Can Be Political Suicide

I am spitting-nails-furious. Through a friend’s post on Facebook, I just read this article in today’s New York Times:

Plea to Obama Led to an Immigrant’s Arrest

Here are the opening paragraphs:

The letter appealing to President Obama was written in frustration in January, by a woman who saw her family reflected in his. She was a white United States citizen married to an African man, and the couple — college-educated professionals in Manhattan — were stymied in their long legal battle to keep him in the country.

Could the president help, asked the woman, Caroline Jamieson, a marketing executive. She described the impasse that confronted her husband, Hervé Fonkou Takoulo, a citizen of Cameroon with an outstanding deportation order from a failed bid for asylum.

The response came on June 3, when two immigration agents stopped Mr. Takoulo, 34, in front of the couple’s East Village apartment building. He says one agent asked him, “Did you write a letter to President Obama?”

When he acknowledged that his wife had, he was handcuffed and sent to an immigration jail in New Jersey for deportation.

But on Thursday night, Mr. Takoulo was just as suddenly released, after Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had been questioned about the case by The New York Times.

Long story short, Caroline Jamieson and Hervé Fonkou Takoulo aren’t out of the woods just yet.

Nevertheless, I’m sure that the couple is grateful to the reporter Nina Bernstein and The New York Times for stepping in. In their situation, I’d be as well.

But how many of us write letters/sign petitions/make phone calls on behalf of our loved ones, or the loved one of another?

And quite frankly, how many of us are in a similar situation to Caroline and Hervé, and have not received any help from The New York Times so far, and probably won’t in the future?

Right now, I’m thinking about my show, The Deportee’s Wife. With each performance of my show, am I reducing R’s chances for possibly obtaining his U.S. permanent residency in the future? Am I on some ICE watch list? Is my website monitored? Is this blog monitored?

Are all of us vocal and visible members in the pro-immigration movement running a risk for our loved ones seeking U.S. residency in the future?

And after something like Hervé and Caroline’s story, don’t you dare tell me that I’m being too paranoid.


15 thoughts on “When Speaking Out Can Be Political Suicide

  1. Giselle,

    I can almost assure you that both you and I are on an ICE watch list. I’ve chased them down working in the media, and literally have taunted them on the airwaves. It’s probably destroyed my chances of getting a visa for my wife. I’m now told the papers are “lost” somewhere between Mexico and Juarez.

    I could stop, but I won’t. I’ve seen way to damn many cases of their B.S. abuse. I won’t shut my mouth up under any circumstances. They’ll have to put me six feet under before I drink a cup of “STFU.”

    Keep fighting! The more we expose these clowns, the more grassroots support we gain from the masses, and a threat to the jack-booted thugs authority frightens them.



    1. Ah, Ben, your energy (and your typos!) make me smile:) Thank you always for your support and for your great company in this struggle. La lucha sigue!


    1. So true, Border Explorer! I really feel that if people don’t call Obama out in an appropriate manner on this issue for fear of appearing racist, then it is just as bad as the birthers who stand by the idea that Obama wasn’t born in the US. Both sides are operating out of a powerful, paralyzing and deep-seated fear.

      Thanks again for your comment, TDW


  2. I worry for you. We both do, even though you probably don’t want us to. But I’ve learned that all of us gotta do what we gotta do, and hang the consequences, you know?

    Te amo.


  3. You are not being paranoid. We have to keep looking over our shoulders; this limits our right to free speech and our desire to create networks & support systems of people in similar situations. In Lak’ech


  4. I hope you see the irony – actually it’s something worse than irony – in your case and the other case, in which you are both trying to go through proper channels to procure residency. You try to comply, you suffer, and you wait, and ultimately may be denied, but you are in the “front door” process, and this makes you honorable, at least.

    Contrast your methods with the illegal border-crosser who has no respect for his target host-country, no intention of assimilating, no intention of embracing the American way of things. Not only is he content to enter illegally, and not only is he content to live in the USA illegally, but he actually feels entitled to all great things here without any sacrifice of citizenship: free healthcare, the ability to work for money, and many others.

    I have always wondered why those like you, who seek to use the “front door” to enter the country, with all its risks, are not the MOST vocal in favor of the Arizona law (perhaps you are). If I were attempting to be an honest entrant, I would despise the millions of illegals who show open contempt for the rule of law and root for their forced exit.


    1. H, my recommendation would be that you read the rest of my blog before you make any snap judgements.
      Thanks, TDW


    2. Perhaps I am misunderstanding this but the majority of the American spouses met their partners while that partner was “illegally” trying to make a living in their host-country. I’m grateful my husband crossed the border to make a better life for his children and family and suffer the indignities that he did. We would not have met otherwise. Now that we’ve married, I can’t change his position in life so we are prepared to move south before he gets deported so that I’ll have some control over our destiny but I don’t feel that it makes us any different than anyone else out there.


      1. Hey Krystal,

        Thanks for sharing some of your story. I’d like to think that at the end of the day R and I are also just like everyone else. For me, however, that feeling that I don’t have some control over our destiny, due to the U.S. govt’s broken immigration policies can really kill me on some days. Good luck with the move! Saludos,


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