The arguments had been made: lawyers for 25 or more states claiming President Barrack Obama’s proclamation to help five million or so “illegals” emerge from the shadows and legally remain in the United States was unjustified, and the federal government’s lawyers asserting it was wise, necessary and prudent.

I was in a Brownsville restaurant.

I had attended earlier a rally in support of the president, and there read my poem, “Shadows”, about “illegals” living

in shadows.

Seven people took the table in front of me, six men and one woman.

All but one rumpled man had sleek suits, perfectly styled hair cuts, elegant watches and highly efficient cell and

I-phones.
I stopped at the table and asked, “Are you in town for the court hearing about immigration?”

“Yes,” the youngest man said.

“What side, federal government or the suing states?”

“We’re with the states,” he said.

I should have guessed, but likely the federal lawyers would have exuded the same style

though with the opposite position.

I had hoped that maybe the rumpled lawyer wasn’t with them. Alas, he was.

I went to the restroom, came back, passed their martini-ordering table and took my seat.
My mind jumped, from my salad, fries and flat bread to the seven:

Why, back in the 1840s they would have argued for slavery.
Then, at the turn of that century they would have defended Jim Crow laws, and continued that

into as late as the 1950s.

Mining and manufacturing interests would attract them, too, all to rip the earth and restrict

workers’ rights.

Along the way, they would have opposed women’s right to vote, and into the present, women’s

reproductive rights and gay rights.

In short, they are part of the reactionary, and often racist, side of the United States.

And here they were, in Brownsville, Texas, offering lame reasons why the “illegals,” (almost all

Mexicans) must remain in the shadows…

Jump to Europe in the 1930s, and they would be backing anti-Jewish legislation.
Wherever on the planet there are courts, lawyers can be found who seek to limit human rights

rather than enhance them.

“Just doing their job, hired they are,” one might say.

“Heck, they might not even believe in what they’re arguing,” the person could add.

But I would say they do not have to lawyer on the racist side they touted on the border yesterday.

I progressed with my meal.

They did, too.

I got up to leave, and they did, too.
They went into the winter sun, got into their rental vehicles and drove off.

Had they ever given a moment’s thought to the hundreds of thousands of South Texans, yes,

“illegals,” who were hard at work from San Antonio south, thousands within miles of their table?

– Healthcare workers, especially for the elderly.
– Roofers.

– Mechanics.

– Medical assistants.

– Gardeners.

– Workers of many other jobs, and often going to school.

– Food service workers.

Likely not.

Fat checks and expense accounts they had gained – all in an effort to keep the faceless “illegeals”

in shadows.

Home, later, I wondered why I had not returned to their table to berate their work.
I wondered why I had not tipped their food and drinks into their laps.
Yes, I thought about both actions – again, when home.
So, so polite I am, so, so polite the “illegals,” and so, so cruel and detached the lawyers and their

clients scattered among the suing states.

…a universal, a global issue, haves wishing to keep it all, those under them, wanting a fair

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Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, mid-January 2015

Author: Gene Novogrodsky

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, a Brownsville resident for nearly three decades, writes North American border slices, from eastern Canada to central Mexico, and in between. He is one of the founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum in San Benito. He sometimes participates with the informal Resaca Writers Group in Brownsville. He prefers, however, to read to two or three attentive listeners – when asked!

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