Monday, December 04, 2006

Sen. Thompson and Wife Sascha Makes National News

The odd story of the federal government trying to deport the wife of Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson (D - Norcross) made the Sunday's New York Times. Sascha Herrera, originally from Columbia, missed an immigration hearing back in 2005 because the notice and other case related documents were sent to an incorrect address. She married Sen. Thompson, a strong proponent of the rights of immigrants, earlier this year.

Because Sascha married a U.S. citizen, she should be allowed to stay here. But because the missed hearing occurred before the marriage, the government is taking the inflexible stance that she should be deported. If she is deported, it might be ten years before she could re-enter the United States.

Observers of this case and other immigration cases call the system "byzantine" and difficult to deal with. Perhaps fellow State Senator Sam Zamarripa said it best:

“It’s a very, very onerous system,” said State Senator Sam Zamarripa, a Democrat who was the first Hispanic elected to the Georgia Senate. “If the wife of a state senator can’t handle it, how can we expect people who are working in our labor force to handle the bureaucracy?”

“This is going to take a U.S. congressman or a senator to step in,” Mr. Zamarripa said. “To say, let’s wait a minute. Let’s think about this. This is a good person who deserves to be in this country.”

Sen. Thompson also says that his wife is a victim of a "notorio" that claimed he could do more for her than he actually could. He charged her $1300.00 for his "services."

In the state of Georgia, notaries public are little more than a glorified witness to signatures. There is little else they can do. Contrast this with other states, such as Florida, where notaries can actually perform marriage services.

Sen. Thompson has been a wonderful, truly progressive force in the state senate. He has a bright future in Georgia politics if he wants it. I can't say that I know his wife, Sascha. But Curt has a reputation for associating himself only with good people. Of all the things for INS to be worried about, I feel sure that Sascha Herrera is the very least among them.

It would be highly appropriate for officials, both Democrat and Republican, to step in and help the Thompsons. Hopefully there will a quick, reasonable resolution to this matter shortly.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting comments that are positive about Senator Thompson. I have known Curt since he was in 9th grade. He is a great guy and there are obvious misunderstandings surrounding his wife's immigration status. Reading some of the skewed opinions of him and his wife on the internet has been difficult.

Speaking on the rights of Americans, what happened to innocent until proven guilty? Most newspapers and blogs are not even running the full story. Have they reviewed her case? Do they know the details? I am just glad to see that not everyone is attacking them prior to getting the facts.

Button Gwinnett said...

Thankfully Anon, Buzz at Peach Pundit blogged on the AJC's release that the judge has set aside his order for deportation. All it took was a little time to bring the circumstances of Sascha's case to light.

As far a few people around the blogosphere making light of the situation, consider the sources. The ones I've seen are radical anti-immigrant forces. And then a supporter of Mark Taylor's who wanted "the big guy" to get credit for having exacted his revenge on Curt for supporting Cathy Cox. In other words, we aren't exactly talking about smart people.

Voyager said...

I am sorry, but you all have it wrong. Sascha Herrera did not file a for a legal stay in the United States. What exactly is a "notario"? A notary? So if she was here on a visa (student?) and it was going to expire, then she was responsible for leaving the country. We can't continue to write the laws specifically for individuals and not appy them to the general public- it makes no sense. I am a life-long Democrat and I feel sorry for people who ente this country illegally, but the bottom line is the law, and she broke it by a) not following up on her immigration application, b) running away from judicial hearing, and c) marrying a gringo so she could stay here. Okay, marrying Curt Thompson wasn't illegal, but her status was. And she did the last resort. It's pathetic. If everyone is an "exception" then the law has no teeth. We'll just "roll our own" and "devil take the hindmost." Let's face it, we cannot sustain the level of immigration- both legal and illegal- that we are following. We are going to wreck our country and our environment. The United States cannot be the World's life boat. Just look at Iraq if you want evidence. They'll be coming here next. Mark my words.

Button Gwinnett said...

Voyager, I'm sure that I did a good job of explaining the situation. But you do know that the only reason why she was going to be deported was for a technicality, right? And it was a technicality that she says was caused by a "notorio."

She's entitled to stay here by virtue of the fact that she married an American citizen. I'm not surprised that some will look askance at her marriage to Curt. But from mutual friends of Curt's and mine, this is a legit marriage. Take that for whatever its worth........

Throw out the fact that Curt is a state senator. I would make the same argument for one of my Indian or Korean neighbors. I don't think there needs to be exceptions. I think we need to apply common sense to a situation like this.

I'm just becoming informed about this myself, but if I have it right, a notorio in Hispanic countries is a lawyer. There are "notorios" here in the States that have taken advantage of immigrants who might be confused such a lawyer with a notary public.

If what she says is true, the only thing you can really fault Sascha for is being duped by someone presenting himself as a lawyer knowledgeable in the affairs of immigrants, which he wasn't. In fact, he was so inept at what he was doing that he couldn't even get her address correct.

Fortunately, the federal judge saw the case for what it was. Sascha committed no crime. But this "notorio" likely was practicing law without a license, which is a crime. And it was this judge's recommendation to give Sascha a chance to correct her status, and that the "notorio" should be prosecuted if possible.

BTW, I probably disagree with Curt and with a lot of my fellow Democrats on some immigration issues. I'm not for an open door policy for people who come to this country illegally. I am all for securing our country first, and encouraging those who wish to live here to come here legally.

Button Gwinnett said...

P.S. I meant to say that I'm "not" sure that I explained the situation correctly.

voyager said...

button gwinnet (good user name, btw),

I will agree on the dupe part about Sascha Herrera-Thompson(?). But that doesn't excuse her legal status. If you hire an inept lawyer and are convicted in a court of law, the verdict is still good until it is appealed and overruled. I think that is another aspect of the law that this case illustrates: if I have money, connections, wherewithal, etc., I can manipulate the legal system until I either exhaust my finances, get the verdict I want, or lose all of my appeals. In other words, the law is totally negotiable depending on an individual's circumstances and the "luck of the draw" in your judge. Sascha Herrera sends a mixed message to me as a Democrat, because she successfully gamed the immigration laws of the United States. Whether she loves Curt Thompson and vice versa is basically immaterial to me, she stilled gamed the U.S. immigration law to her advantage. As such, she is a microcosm of what goes on every day in the United States and it is WRONG. You have to extrapolate what she did and see it in a thousand (actually more) cases. I am sure she is a very pleasant person, but I wonder about the basic morals of someone who hides out when she has been sent more than one legal summons. If I am hiding from the police, who have a legitimate right to apprehend me, then I am implying that it is okay to disobey the law. I am glad she turned herself in, at least. However, Her actions are a political discredit to her husband.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...where to begin.

Sascha was originally seeking political asylum when she saw the notorio. She did not finalize her paperwork however because she got a student visa. She currently attends college in GA and has a valid GA driver's license. The notorio filed the paperwork anyway. None of the notices went to her residence. They were sent to the notorio. She was here legally even before marrying Curt.

Why did she hide when she found out the government was looking for her? Hmmm. I am sure she hid because she was scared. I am middle-class woman in her 30's who has never been in trouble with the law. I imagine that if the cops showed up at my house looking for me and I wasn't there at the time. I would not go home until I knew what was going on. I would freak OUT! Was hiding the best move given her husband's position? Probably not but at this point you must remember they are just PEOPLE. Trapped in circumstances they cannot believe.

BTW, I am not a Democrat. I am a friend of Curt's (despite his politics). To imply that their marriage is not valid with the Gringo comments. How rude!

Remember, they went to court. The case was heard. The mistakes of all parties were brought to light: The Thompsons, the notorio and the government. The reason we have a court system is so everyone gets their day in court. Good thing we cannot be convicted by the court of public opinion. Thank God we are in America.

Voyager said...

I tried to post a reply to Anonymous yesterday, but it didn't post. I hope it isn't censorship, because that means you aren't open to criticism. I will part with one last remark about Sascha Herrera: If we keep allowing people to immigrate to the United States in large numbers (which we continue to do) then we can only blame ourselves for failing to recognize the danger of overpopulation, overdevelopment, and the exploitation of illegal immigrant workers by employers (especially in the Southeast, e.g. Georgia). Think about the Ford Plant that is closing in Atlanta. 4,000 jobs got outsourced to China. Now you have a "labor surplus" in Atlanta that these well-paid auto workers constitute. I imagine they are now finding life difficaut. That is the present and the future.

Button Gwinnett said...

Voyager, sometimes Blogger takes an unexpected hiatus. This seems to occur more often now that I've switched to Blogger Beta.

I appreciate your point of view even when it's not the same as mine, perhaps even moreso when it isn't. Life wouldn't be much fun if we all agreed on everything. And not much would get solved either.

You're welcome here anytime.


Different Anonymous said...

Sascha Thompson is fine! I've met her a couple times because since they've been married, she's been at her husband's side at community meeting after meeting! Haven't seen them around since this news.

The criticism against them is ridiculous! Since when could a spouse of a US citizen be referred to as illegal?!?!

Anonymous said...

ok, lets star by the begining of everything. This is how the story truly goes: she moved to the USA in 2003. she lived with her dad she got a student visa so she could mantain her status. she started working at the local hispanic newspapers after working illegaly at other places(restaurants, bars, catering companies, etc.)becasue as far as i know students are not allowed to work but in campus a maximun of 20 to 25 hours. I know for fact she had problems with a "noraty" but she knew wht her status was. she was aware of it. Aware of the fact that she had applye to get the assylum. then later on not having news about it her Student visa was about to expire and she needed to fin a solution ASAP. Now so you can understad how the story takes place between sascha and curt here i go with mr. curt. in first place Button Gwinnett if you really know Mr. Curt you know that marriage is a set up. He needed a wife(you if you really know him, you know why) she needed the papers. Perfect match. she gave up her personal life but she got the papers. in his case he has always had a hidden side so he is used to it. before that she would not assit to Kenessaw she would go to Kaplan by (rosswell rd) an institute that was able to maintain her status by her talking english clases.
think a bout it! now tell me this wasn't set up. i have all the reasons and all the facts to say this, i wont publish all teh fact but just so everyone ones that it is not fair that while there is a lot more people out ther trying to solve their situation of not being deported there are this ridicululos cases down here where being apolititcian hast do to a lot with imigration. you can get around and be safe...not fair!