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Mad tea party
Question of the Day
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Master of the surreal that he was, even Lewis Carroll would have had a hard time imagining the utterly bizarre scenes that Americans are now living through in this rabbit hole of immigration reform, a strange world where Mad Hatter politicians gleefully chatter nonsense as they declare night to be day and amnesty to be punishment.
Nothing is what it seems to be in this land where barriers at the border grow and shrink, as “walls,” “fences” or “obstacles” morph from material to virtual and stretch between two miles to more than 700 miles depending on who’s talking on which hour of the day. In the shimmering Day-Glo dreamland of American politics “oppressed” and “terrified” populations “living in the shadows” march vividly in the street by the millions angrily waving foreign flags as they demand rights and privileges accorded to citizens.
Even the arithmetic of demography is tinged with the psychedelic hue of an LSD-trip, where 30 million or more people dissolve into a less alarming number of 14 million, then 12 million and finally down to just 7 million illegal immigrants. And the giggling, tittering politicos admit they don’t really have the foggiest clue as to how many are really here at all, but that’s apparently beside the point.
But perhaps the surest sign that we are now truly through the looking glass is that illegal-immigrant street-gang members are now seeking to invoke asylum laws and be allowed to remain in the United States — because they are gang members.
Gerson Alvarado-Veliz, a 23-year-old illegal immigrant gang member from Guatemala, is arguing that he should not be deported back home — again — since he faces persecution there as a result of his gang affiliation here.
Alvarado-Veliz has bounced back and forth between Guatemala and the United States since he was a small child, dropping out of school at the age of 14 in Southern California to sell dope and join a street gang.
“I used to feel good doing evil,” he told a reporter.
And he broadcast that pride in his criminal trade, engraving his body with gang tattoos that celebrated the murder of his gang’s enemies and inked on his neck the slogan that said trust no woman (although he used a profane term instead of the word woman). His criminal record in America is standard street gang fare: arrests for crack cocaine possession, thefts and drug sales.
In his homeland of Guatemala, Alvarado-Veliz has been arrested at least four times, according to news reports, but he insists that those busts are all trumped charges and the products of forced confessions.
After supposedly being threatened by members of a vigilante “death squad” in his home country, Alvarado-Veliz said he had no choice but to break back into the United States — where he was arrested again on a dope and theft charges, as well as driving with a suspended license (raising the question of how an illegal immigrant got a driver’s license).
Facing deportation yet again, Alvarado-Veliz told the judge that he is now a reformed man who will likely be killed if he is sent back home. “I’m talking about my life,” he told the judge.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
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