Are YOU legal?   Leave a comment

Last night at about 8pmish I went out to retrieve signs from my porch in support of John Avalos for Mayor, a friend had thrown them over the gate.
What I saw was horrifying! An older Latina, a woman sitting on the ground bleeding profusely, from where I could not tell. She did not speak English. Luckily, a man kneeling next to her was able to talk with her. He was to her trying to reach her daughter on his cell phone, unsuccessfully. She was refusing a ride to the hospital.
As she sat bleeding my first question without really thinking was “is she legal”? The man asked her if she was legal, she was. I called 911, there was no reason not to and many reasons to call. I thanked him for staying with her and he thanked me for calling and I think for asking the question and off he went into the night, before the ambulance arrived, was he legal? The question of legality makes me cry.
What would I have done for her, what could he have done for her if she was undocumented or he was undocumented? I imagined all the scenarios of helping her up, taking her into my house, bathing her, calling for her family and calling my doctor friends to help her. What if she had a head injury, a quiet bleed? What if she died in my house? Would her family hate me? How would I explain myself? Why is it that in the U.S. we must wonder first if you are legal and then call the ambulance? Pi-ti-ful, that is what my grandmother would say.

My partner when out to help her while we waited for the ambulance and I remained on the phone. He gave her a wet cloth to mop her bleeding face, picked up her strewn items and waited. The ambulance arrived quickly and took her to the General. Her daughter arrived just after she was put into the ambulance, but before it sped off. I was thankful for that. It must have been quite frightening for her. I was frightened.
To be a citizen of the U.S., to have grown up here without these ignorant rules for most of my life and to now have to think, “are you legal” before calling for help is an indictment of U.S. policy on immigration and sickens me.

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Posted August 22, 2011 by sarahdorrance in Thinking

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