My niece, meanwhile, was growing up in a middle-class home in Washington state with her two sisters. Her mother is a school bus driver and her dad, the plant manager for a local manufacturer. She met José while in high school, they became sweethearts and moved in together after she graduated.
Working at his aunt's restaurant, José made enough to create a middle-class life for his wife, and within a few years, their daughter. Due to his undocumented status, all three were forced to live in the shadows of the American dream. They could not marry in the states, nor could their little girl, Clara, carry her father's name on her birth certificate.
In 2012, just before Christmas, José got a call from an old friend from Mexico who was going to be in the area the following week and wanted to meet for coffee. José readily agreed, and he and his brother met the friend at a local Denny's.
What José did not know was that his friend was under surveillance by law enforcement for drug trafficking. When the friend was busted, José and his brother were swept up as well and charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics based on their presence at Denny's that afternoon.
When the feds threatened to charge his wife as an accomplice, José accepted the offered plea bargain on the drug charge. In exchange for his guilty plea, he was sentenced to the time served, which at that point was a couple of months. What he could not have known because he was not involved in the trade, nor had he any exposure to law enforcement, was that the 60 days he had served was only the beginning of his problems. He now had a federal drug charge on his record.
So it was no surprise that his conviction on the misdemeanor charges of providing false identification and illegal entry to the states, got him three years and deportation. What was a surprise was what that prison term was to teach him, and the rest of us, about our mercenary prison system and the hell that it has created for non-citizens.
And that is what I would like to share with you below the fold.