Volume 18 • Issue 52 | May 12 - 18, 2006

Talking point

The people who really need to be deported

By Wickham Boyle

These past few weeks we have seen throngs of immigrants take to the streets, parks and avenues protesting their rights to remain hard working contributors to the American dream. Even conservative estimates put the figure at upwards of a million for those who demonstrated in L.A., N.Y.C., Chicago and cities in between. We all have our own relationship with immigrants, both recent and from long ago, and certainly value their contributions to our lives as workers or even grandparents. I have had the pleasure of working with an amazing woman named Aggie, who hales from the Dominican Republic. For nearly 17 years Aggie has been our housekeeper and has worked in our home in varying degrees, depending on the vicissitudes of our finances, to help control the dust, clutter and mayhem of a loft inhabited by a family of kids, kittens and working consultants. Aggie has been a remarkable, solid, calm, joyful presence in my life throughout turbulent and loving times. She stayed by my side during the heinous breakup of my relationship with the father of my kids and celebrated my marriage to the man who would become their “daddy” and my life’s love. Aggie always remembers our anniversary and bakes a cake, she loves our cats and gets them to give her “besitos” and even believes they speak “Espanish.”Aggie and I communicate in a melange of my Italian that I try to turn into Spanish, and her English that is still Spanglish. But we communicate deeply enough to have shared tears at the death of my mother and her brother. We have laughed at the antics of children and cats and we have conducted discussions about men, marriage and lately immigration. Aggie is the hardest working, most scrupulous person I have ever encountered. If she says she will do something, she will. If she needs to miss work, she calls. She works long, takes initiative and I offer her raises and am happy to report that I found her other like-minded Downtown residents who enjoy her services.

It was Aggie who asked to be paid, “on the books” and to have taxes withheld. It was Aggie who attended a difficult class to become a citizen, a word that is still difficult for her to pronounce. And in April she succeeded and became a full citizen of the United States. When we had our discussion of immigration she wondered why this country wouldn’t want more hard working people like her. I concurred. Later when I relayed the exchange to my daughter, a very political Columbia student, she had a brilliant, subversive idea. “How come they want to deport the people like Aggie who actually contribute to this country? Why don’t they consider getting rid of all the fathers who don’t pay child support and hide their income or worse have their mothers support them?” Ahhh there’s an idea, a little sketch comedy perhaps, but still I would love to be on the dock when that ship departs with the men, okay I’d include the women too, who do not pay child support for their offspring. Those who think that the country, their spouse, the world owe them a living and they have to do nothing to receive the tender glow of their baby’s love. I can see the boats pulling away, taking this cargo of dead-beat, ne’er-do-wells into the sunset. The ship would sail around attempting to land so they could offload this cargo of non-contributors while back in America the immigrants hardened hands curled around plows, mops, or perched in trees, crouched picking crops would ascend to the ranks of exalted helpers and creators of the American Dream. Now that’s a radical proposal.


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