Archives: Seasons 1-5
Segment | Government

The Border Between Them

One family. Two countries. OC Register columnist Yvette Cabrera brings us the story of how one family has been torn apart by federal immigration policy.

LEAVE A COMMENT Leave Comment  

i just watched your presentation on the plight of children and parents separated by the immigration dilemma. i'm only writing to let you know that there is a constituency for relief of families like this. your panel is right: there is no relief to be had from congress...there is no leadership and our country is polarized by the hateful rhetoric and the feeling people have of threat from our borders. but there are many who care. some of us lucky citizens, whose ancestors arrived as undocumented persons long ago, wish we could help and have hearts that hurt for people like the morales family members. maybe you can pass this along to the family. tell them that we love them and hope that they can forgive the selfishness that makes their lives so difficult. and that i, and others like me, hope that they endure and persist until their family is reunited and happy again. judith rael


I was appalled at how one-sided and unobjective Cabrera's piece was. It wasn't reporting - it was a personal plea for one family. Her entire piece was aimed to tug heartstrings, not to inform. For shame!

Fact: the Morales couple came to this country illegally. They knew when they came they could be deported. Just because they managed to go undetected for 19 years doesn't make them less criminal. It just means they got away with it for too long.

Fact: their sons are free to go live with them in Mexico at any time, but they don't want to. Apparently, the free education and myriad other services and programs that keep them fed and housed (with my tax dollars, no doubt) are more important to them than living with their parents. How about a THANK YOU from them? Didn't hear that once....only complaints that they can't live here on their terms. They should count their lucky stars they get to stay here!

Fact: the richest man in the WORLD is Mexican Carlos Slim Helu....don't tell me there aren't jobs and opportunities in Mexico. It's time the US quit kow-towing to the Mexican government and demand that they and Senor Helu take responsibility for their own people.

Fact: Cabrera conveniently failed to mention WHY the Morales were deported. One isn't shipped home while mowing the lawn. They committed a crime of some sort to get on the radar. Why wasn't that mentioned?

Fact: the idea that the US needs illegal immigrants to do jobs 'Americans won't do' is a complete lie. There has never been a nanny/gardener/housekeeper/farm worker shortage in America.

Americans won't do jobs that don't pay living wages. Illegals who come to this country to do these jobs for sub-standard pay undermine EVERYONE'S chance at an economic recovery. They absolutely do not help it!

Cabrera's piece was designed to make viewers feel sorry for the Morales but it had the opposite effect on me. Her lack of professionalism as a journalist is yet another reason we can't seem to solve any of our nation's problems - we cannot count on those who are supposed to be objective and non-biased to present us the facts, free of their own political opinions.

She kept reiterating how important it was that American voters not 'get too emotional' about this issue, but her entire reason the Morales should be allowed to live in the US together seems to boil down to: because they want to. As my mom used to say: 'people in hell want ice water.'

This family should be grateful for the chance their sons have and the years they spent living in the US. The fact that the man referred to himself as a Mexican, and that neither of them picked up one word of English during the two decades they lived here just shows me they are not the kind of immigrants the US wants or needs. They call themselves Mexicans and should stay in Mexico. Their ungrateful children should be forced to go live there with them!


I was appalled to see all the "facts" you listed. Well actually not really appalled because I've heard them a million times repeated before, I'm just amazed that you actually believe what you listed to be true. These "facts" that you believe are the work of cultural hegemony, hence why you repeat them here. They are simply a set of accepted beliefs created by certain media outlets, certain conservative elected officials and reproduced through those who are lazy and do not try to search for the reasons thing happen.
In regards to the younger brothers education, housing and food you mentioned how they are using your "tax dollars, no doubt." From this I will assume (which is probably not a good idea, but anyway) that what you meant is that the part of the family currently living here are using the Welfare system. In actuality, that is not the case. And for future reference, there are more "white" people on welfare than people of "color" (read a book). Yes, of course education is "free" here, funded by tax payers so you are correct in that aspect of your argument (pretty obvious though).
Also, your other "fact" is that Cabrera did not mention why they were deported. The reason for which they were deported was because they tried to file for residency. The lawyer they hired exploited them. He told them they could file for residency so they believed him but in reality that was not the case. He took as much money as he could from them and after they lost their case they received the Order of Deportation letter in the mail. They were not involved in any criminal behavior as you presumed. (In my point of view, the lawyer should have been jailed instead).
Also, you mention your belief that the US could do without "illegal immigrants." This indicates your belief that "Americans" will take the low wage jobs. It simply is not true. During the restructuring period/re-industrialization, middle class jobs were obliterated and many low wage jobs were created. No one wanted those jobs so the US went into Mexico to recruit people to come take those jobs because they were vital to the economic flow. There was not quota in place for people coming into the US from the Western Hemisphere, therefore technically, people from Latin America should be able to move freely back and forth between their homeland and the US. This was put in place systematically.
I can talk about the flaws in your argument forever but I'd rather address the obvious.
I know the Morales family personally and thus, I know their struggle and the type of people, such as yourself, that they have had to deal with. It is a shame you believe the lies imposed on you through cultural hegemony. It would be beneficial to you to read a couple books regarding US and Latin American relations and learn the true US history


Thank you for your tax dollars.... NO, SHOVE EM' UP - - biggot I'm pretty sure their parents worked hard enough to pay your lazy butt's taxes and social security through retirement. Pretty sure your ancestors immigrated here, probably killed their ancestors in the process.


Your comments and tone are unfortunate, and likely represent a decent cross section of our population. Ignorant and arrogant can be a dangerous combination.

Just to clarify for any other viewers or readers, and as is clearly noted in the piece, that deportation action can be initiated when you legally seek a change of status. The Morales', after 19 years of stay, went to apply for a change of status, so your statement of 'fact' above is incorrect. This status request can trigger deportation in some cases, and no crime need be committed. Your listed facts are emotional rhetoric, ironically what you accused the reporter of.
If you study a bit further you will find that it is not rationale to equate the 'nations problems' with mexican immigrant workers. This does make a convenient scape goat for the simpleminded population. The problems of any nation are usually much more complex and opaque. Think of Jews in the post WWI distraught and economically crushed Germany. Leaders needed a scape goat to rally the nation to vote for extremism; and it worked.

I hear your passion for this country, and I am typical white guy citizen myself, but I have traveled the world. I have also sponsored indonesian workers a decade ago, H1Bs, and married a Venezuelan woman. All done legally, yes, however my involvement with the world population around me has given me a broader perspective on this issue and the human element. This human element is what the reporter was trying to present. Immigration is after all a human topic.

I don't agree with the conclusions you draw, but that would be expected by now. I can tell you that every person I have ever met on welfare is a citizen. Now you might think that is obvious, but think about that when you are implying US workers are being pushed out of their jobs by lower wage immigrant workers. If we were discussing root cause it would likely be in the greed of the corporations hiring or abusing those folks, or the laziness of those not willing to take work when hand outs are available at the welfare office.

Some argue the influx of crime from Mexico, but again if WE the nation didn't create such a huge demand for cocaine, methamphetamine, and marihuana then the cartels wouldn't be profitable or powerful. Some even say that our lust for consumption has created the waring cartel problem in Mexico. Think of the notion that our partying and indulgent elite have created a crime syndicate more powerful than an entire government. How would you feel about that country as a neighbor? Bring us your drugs, but not your hard working split families.

The US has many hypocritical policies and internationally has earned its often poor reputation, which for some puts us in a hated category. These issues of greed, and international policy are the real dangerous of this great country. Immigration is a complex topic, and it is for other developing countries as well. Take a look at Food Inc, the documentary. It has only a side note about immigration in it, and its mostly about the food industry, but its makes some great observations related to your comments.


Way to go boys, to be strong! Hope one of you decides to grow up and make laws to change things and do not listen to racists and bigots who have no kindness compassion or caring for fellow humans in need. Do not become hardened by believing we all think like them.


sometimes I think it is so easy to speak of something that doesnt effect your personnel life. I think there are so many good points on both sides but, after the points have been stated, you go home to your family kiss them goodnight and thats it. There is another part of this immigration that I hardly hear of. It my situation, where me and my boys where homeless and where taken in by undocumented immigrate family. Givin another chance. I was unable to keep a job because of my sons health issues. I had a chance to look at the American dream thru diffrent eyes. To make a long story short, i married the man who lifted my family up.To find that he would not be able to get his status due to our marriage. Six yrs later his is deported. Now we are once again close to loosing every thing. We are not looking for a hand out, just a way to become legal. Ten years is the sentence. How long do they give rapist? i am 40 yrs old, i will be 47 when my husband can apply to come back then it will take another 5-8 years for him to come back, so that is more like 18yrs. thats not fair. There are all kind of stories out there. At the end of the day immigration needs to be reformed

Program Support