The Talking Dog

June 20, 2010, The way it is

First off, happy Father's Day to those readers for whom said is applicable; familia TD will be doing a circuit that we hope will take us to see both Mrs. TD's and TD's father, and I think I'll be able to do it notwithstanding a grueling 45+ mile completion of yesterday's Joe Kleinerman 12-hour run (and yes, I certainly did say hi to Frank the proprietor of the Run Dangerously site by introducing myself as a fellow 47year old New York area attorney with a blog who runs ultra races; Frank is a tad more accomplished than I at ultra-running, and his blog is a great resource on the subject).

And moving right along with the way it is here in America in 2010, under alleged Democrat (and my college classmate) Barack Obama, who has carried on all of the inanities of his predecessors and in some cases to new levels, we give you this cautionary tale of an illegal immigrant (he lost an asylum application, notwithstanding his later marriage to an American citizen) who was picked up by immigration authorities... wait for it... after his wife wrote a letter to President Obama asking to intervene to alleviate their plight

It looks like the subject immigrant Hervé Fonkou Takoulo, 34, of Cameroonian origin, who is a trained engineer, will not face immediate deportation and may even get a work permit... but could it be because his wife Caroline Jamieson also managed to get the intervention of The New York Times, and the couple are seemingly upscale residents of Manhattan? But in a way, the denoument is more interesting and maybe more troubling-- we see a prompt reversal of a cold-hearted bureaucratic decision made because the people making such decisions have desensitized themselves to... everything, because the American public demands cruelty in the administration of our laws, and this is especially so with immigration laws where the people involved are likely not to be White. We don't see it because the underlying decision, a discretionary refusal to reopen an earlier asylum case based on a change in circumstances (marriage to a citizen) was deemed "wrong" or "incorrect" in some way-- but because the Government was caught doing something egregious, in this case, using a citizen's letter to the President seeking redress as a lead to pick up a non-dangerous immigration law violator.

We're somewhat fortunate that in some cases, such as that alluded to in my recent post regarding the recusal of a GTMO habeas judge, the Government, at least at present, often discloses its own misconduct, even as it simultaneously argues that its misconduct should have no consequences (except to the poor schmucks it impacts adversely, of course). But at least it's something. In this Takuolo case, it appears it was something of a self-disclosure and a newspaper intervention and an overall embarrassment-- a rather ad hoc administration of laws, all things told... and it does lead me to conclude we have one set of laws for Manhattanites with connections and the ability to get The New York Times involved... and another set of laws for everyone else.

In a nation where seemingly everything is against the law, but what matters at a practical level are enforcement decisions, and those enforcement decisions appear to be administered quite harshly depending on who you are, one fears that the ability to get prompt publicity for your plight should really not be the determining factor. But it seems... that's... the way it is.