Nor should I be.
Nor should you.
Once again, the New York Times has published another of its entries into what I call “The Good Illegal Immigrant” files. The “good illegal immigrant” is a contradiction in terms, as much as “the good embezzler” or “the good bigamist.” This ongoing propaganda by the Times as the journalistic vanguard of the open borders mission of the American Left is in its fourth year. These features are stuffed with emotionally manipulative tales and quotes about the travails of residents of the United States who broke the law by coming here, and who continue to stay here, reaping the benefits that are supposed to be reserved to citizens while being nauseatingly self-righteous about it. The Times surpasses itself this time, with “Telling the Truth Wasn’t An Option” by Julissa Arce, illegally in this country from the age of eleven, whose dilemma was finally resolved when she married an American citizen.
It’s convenient that the title itself embodies a rationalization, indeed a couple whoppers from the Ethics Alarms list: #25, The Coercion Myth: “I have no choice!” and #31. The Troublesome Luxury: “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford right now.” Telling the truth is always an option if one has the courage and integrity to be accountable. The headline applies to anyone who is engaged in an ongoing crime, or guilty of a past one, except that in this case, the individual feels uniquely entitled to not only avoid the just consequences of her own actions, but to seek sympathy for her discomfort in doing so.
The focus of Arce’s women’s magazine-style account are her romantic misadventures. Her first serious relationship blew up when she discovered her beloved was cheating on his wife: when she threatened to inform his spouse, the man threatened to call ICE. (Nice judgment in men, there, Julissa…an adulterer, a liar and an extortionist.) She tells us,
After that, it took years for me to share my immigration status again with anyone. The next time was when my father had passed away and I couldn’t travel to Mexico to be with him. In a moment of desperation, I shared my undocumented status with my then-boyfriend. “I can’t be here anymore,” I said, weeping. “I’m going to move back to Mexico.”
The pressures of my immigration status left us with two choices: break up or get married. We chose to elope so we could stay together in the United States. But after saying “I do,” our entire relationship became about filling out paperwork, meeting with lawyers and having interviews with immigration officials to prove our love. We never had a honeymoon. I became a U.S. citizen, but the yearslong process extinguished our romance and we eventually divorced.
Awwww. The tragedy of obeying the law.
The story has a happy ending. Julissa meets a nice, loving man who rationalizaes illegal immigration as much as she did, but she can’t be sure until she comes clean.
Maybe Fernando would run, as had so many others, when he learned the truth: that I had spent more than 10 years undocumented; that I had used fake papers to work at Goldman Sachs…Would it all be too much? Would he ever trust me? Romance may thrive on mystery, but love can’t be built on lies.
“I’ll always wonder what’s behind door number two,” one man had said as he was breaking up with me. He had felt duped, as if I had tricked him into falling in love.
No, he felt that he couldn’t trust her, and, in fact, he couldn’t. Nor can anyone else trust someone whose entire life is proof that she will lie to benefit herself and decieve others when she has decided that she “has no choice.”
When I got back home — and what a glorious word that is, home —
Yuck, gack, yecchh, pooey! Don’t you dare try to manipulate my emotions. Yes, as Dorothy Gale said, “There’s no place like home.” She never said, “There’s no place like the home you broke into and lied to hang around.”
I met Fernando at a quiet bar down the street from my apartment. We sat on a red velvet couch…Then I paused and bit my lip.
“Is everything OK?” he said.
“I have to tell you something,” I said. “I’ll answer your questions but let me finish.”
He sat up. “OK?” he said, but he never let go of my hands.
As the truth flowed from me, backfilling my past, he never looked away, raised an eyebrow, or signaled any judgment.
“That’s it?” he said. “I thought you were going to tell me you killed someone.” He pulled my hand toward his face and kissed it. “Life is complicated.”
Rationalizations #22, The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things,”and #46, The Abuser’s License: “It’s Complicated”! These two are a perfect match!
He didn’t ask where I bought my fake papers, why my parents didn’t fix my immigration status, or why I hadn’t gone back to Mexico if things were so difficult here. Instead, at the end of the night, my future husband asked me the same question he had asked after our first date: “When can I see you again?”