Yesterday I went to my local municipality city hall court to accompany my Brazilian housekeeping friends caught without a license and yes, without proper documentation.
We waited a lot with a great deal of anxiety. The matter from the beginning always had an undertone of money. According to a paper we were handed upon passing through metal detectors said that we would be fined between $250 up to $5,000. We were certainly not getting out of this unscathed.
Our lawyer arrived and with an air of know-how he greeted us and went about seeking people behind closed doors.
We picked out seats in a room crowded with speeders, drunk drivers, and other such violators. I wondered how many faced another trial with an immigration court after this one.
Our lawyer reappeared with a triumphant smile. We would only have to pay for not having a license. $787 and change. After two days in the county jail and this fine, I’m sure we have learned our lesson. But for those who say that immigrants have a free ride, I just want to vouch for the opinion that I think they pay through the nose.
Next month, the stakes go up. Stay tuned friends and pray if you have an ounce of compassion.
When I told Alex Mandes, the EFCA Hispanic Ministries Director, about the situation, that my housekeepers had gotten arrested, and now could face the possibility of deportation. He smirked and said, “You’re the felon.”
And indeed, I hired them without asking the question because I feared the answer. But to hear Alex say it so directly, “You’re the felon.” I am the criminal. I am the lawbreaker. For just a moment, I felt defensive and defenseless at the same time. As a Christian, knowing what I know now, how much they needed the work to pay for the surgeries and treatment for her thyroid and her swelling eye, how she had to send money home to take care of her aging parents, how her heart had been wounded by other Christians — would I still have had them clean my house?
Would I break the law again? Would you?