Thursday, October 15, 2009

the face of politics

If you've read me here or elsewhere, you may remember that my office is in the library. We have a cafe on the main floor of the library, and because of the open design of the library, I can hear and smell happenings--good happenings--when I'm in my office. Carlos has been my coffee guy the whole time I've worked here (this is my fourth year). He knows my two favorite drinks--javalance (think frappaccino but better) and peppermint mocha. We've been known to shoot the shit from time to time, and from that I learned things like: his best friend and her daughter live with him so that he can help look after the little girl, he had emergency surgery in the spring when his appendix burst, he hasn't seen his mother in Mexico in ten years, and he's worked at the College for 18 years.

One thing we never talked about was his immigration status. I never thought about it.

Yesterday, Carlos and at least nine other employees of our food service company (we contract out) were terminated, effective immediately, because they are undocumented immigrants. In language that I don't particularly like, they are here illegally.

Immigration is one of those hot-button issues. It doesn't matter what you think about it. I don't care to argue about it, actually. It's one thing when it's an issue you're debating. It's another thing when that issue has a face, the face of someone you know and like.


Shanna said...

Ouch, that sucks. Poor guy (and his coworkers).

Tonja said...

Teryn, I think that most issues that are debated these days have to be done faceless - taking things personal gets in the way of making informed, logical decisions that will apply to an entire group of people. This is the hard part, because as soon as we take the face off of the problem, we forget that there are real people involved - people that we know and love and have real issues to face. I am very sorry about Carlos - he was a great Cafe Dude.