Wednesday, November 9, 2005
The mention of this blasted enclave of the former Yugoslavia brings to mind the slaughter of thousands of civilians and a U.S. bombing campaign in 1999 to end the horror of "ethnic cleansing."
It now also makes us wonder what has become of a deported illegal immigrant from Sanilac County and her three American-born children.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent 45-year-old Marije Berishaj and her children, Geta, 13; Lazer, 12; and Clinton, 5, back to Kosovo, a war-torn country where United Nations troops, including those from the U.S., still are needed to keep an uneasy peace.
Justice in this case was far too blind.
But the law, after all, is the law. Marije Berishaj arrived in the U.S. in 1991. Her passport expired in 1995. She was unemployed here, collected government benefits, and didn't have a visa or a green card for work that would have allowed her to stay here legally.
An immigration law judge ordered her deported on Oct. 21.
Wanting to keep the family together, she took her three children with her.
That's what is really sad about this family's saga.
The three kids, by all legal and cultural definitions born citizens of this country, were sent to a war-torn and dangerous place where most children end their schooling in the fifth grade.
No matter what mom and dad did or didn't do to earn deportation, these children surely didn't deserve the fate they got.
Doesn't the Department of Homeland Security have bigger fish to fry?
And how does the department's new get-tough stance on illegal immigrants square with estimates that there are 10 million or more illegal aliens among us right now?
We sure don't see trainloads of aliens heading to our borders so they can be booted out of our country.
But then, such a massive action probably would have a huge impact on the underground market for cheap labor.
So we allow our federal agents to kick underage American citizens' moms out of the country while everybody winks at the gardeners, the housekeepers and the sweatshop workers who'll gladly work for low pay and no benefits if it means at crack at the American Dream.
However illegal that may be.
Marije Berishaj's real crime appears to be unemployment.
That, and the boneheaded comment her husband, Martin Berishaj, apparently made when demanding more Social Security money for his disability. He allegedly told a federal worker she should have been in the World Trade Center when terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
He was kicked out of the country in 2002.
Now, tragically, the family may be back together.
In Dakovico, Kosovo.
Two former illegal immigrants who didn't bother to fly under Department of Homeland Security radar.
And their three little U.S. citizens.
The Homeland Security apparatus worked perfectly.
Lady Justice was truly blind.
But nobody has an answer for the one stinging question that remains.
What about the children?
- Our View is the editorial opinion of The Bay City Times, as determined by the newspaper's editorial board, which includes the editorial page editor, the editor and the publisher.