Karin Fernandez had problems in Honduras.
She was two months pregnant, and the baby's father was gone. She had only a ninth-grade education and no work.
But her aunt in New Bedford offered a solution: Come to Massachusetts. Have the baby here. Work in the leather goods factory where it's easy to find a job.
"I was in a really ugly crisis," said Fernandez, 19.
In late 2005 she paid a smuggler $4,500 to bring her over the border. She made it to New Bedford and to the factory where the managers were said not to care if their employees' documents were fake.
She started at $7.50 an hour, no benefits, cutting material for special military backpacks.
She followed the factory's strict rules, including a ban on snacking at work stations. Working at Michael Bianco Inc. was tough, but she was grateful for the job. She couldn't come close to making $300 a week in her homeland. Here she had money to feed her daughter, now 9 months old, and to send half her salary to her mother in Honduras.
She was one of 327 workers picked up at the factory that morning, unable to prove they were in the country legally.
"I cried," she said. "I begged them to let me go because I have a daughter."
She was held until 7 Tuesday night, then released to care for her child.
By yesterday afternoon, 60 of the workers taken into custody at the factory Tuesday had been released on humanitarian grounds, for example, if they had children with nobody else to care for them.
I have several questions about this. First off, this pregnant young woman who could not make anywhere near $300 per week in Honduras managed to scrape together $4500 to pay a smuggler to help her break our laws by entering our country illegially? If she could get $4500 why didn't she stay in Honduras and keep working that job?
Secondly, she is let go to take care of her daughter. Where the heck is the dear auntie who encouraged her to become a criminal in the first place. Also if she had no one to take care of her child, who was taking care of the child while she was at her illegial job.
Since when did a child become a get out of jail free card or a green card? We need to stop coddling these foreign invaders and start charging them with child endangerment if they try to use a child as an excuse to stay here. My dear wife and I have three children. I am under no illusion that if we were arrested for anything that we would be released to care for our children. Besides our personal belief system that laws should be obeyed, we stay out of trouble so that we will be here to care for our children. That is what good parents do.
If I were to take a child with me to a robbery, or a murder, or even a high speed chase through town once I was caught and charged you can bet that child endangerment charges would be added onto my list of offenses. But an illegal alien brings a child with them while partaking in an illegal invasion of the United States and we treat them like that child makes them special.
If the illegals who were arrested last week are worried about their children then reunite them with those children on the boat home. Or place the kids in a foster home while the parents do time to pay for their crimes. If her baby doesn't recognise her when she finally gets out, tough. She made the decision to break our laws. She even went so far as to pay someone to help her break our laws and she put her child into a dangerous position because of those choices. Now that she has been caught she wants special treatment. Sorry honey, that is the price you pay for being a criminal.