Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prominient Illegal Alien Is Appointed New York Consul, Finally Gets Arrested

I just came across a wonderful Associated Press story about the diaspora politics that goes on in many U.S. cities: Paraguay named illegal immigrant to consular post.

As an aside, the terms "illegal immigrant" and "undocumented immigrant," both of which the AP uses in this story, infuriate me. By law, no immigrant may be illegal, and all legal immigrants have documentation. The correct term for an alien who lives in the U.S. without permission is "illegal alien."

Having gotten that off my chest, here are the key quotes:

Paraguay named an undocumented U.S. immigrant to run its consulate in New York, discovering his illegal status only when the man returned home to get his diplomatic papers and was denied a U.S. visa.

Paraguay's foreign ministry acknowledged Wednesday that it was a mistake to name Augusto Noguera as the consulate's "first official," but said President Fernando Lugo annulled the decision as soon as he was informed of the U.S. Embassy's visa denial.

A wise decision by President Lugo. So what did Mr. Noguera do after his appointment was annulled? He tried to sneak back into El Norte and became a consular case himself.

Despite the visa denial, Noguera tried to return to his wife and three U.S.-born children, ages 10, 9 and 3, by crossing into the U.S. near Tijuana, Mexico, was detained by U.S. officials and is being held in Chula Vista, California, [Vice Foreign Minister Manuel Maria] Caceres said.

Paraguay's Los Angeles consul, Ruben Benitez, is arranging legal assistance for Noguera and making sure his family has what it needs. "We are watching closely so that Noguera has a fair process," Caceres said.

Why did the President of Paraguay make this appointment in the first place?

Noguera had been in the U.S. for about 17 years, working in construction and becoming a pillar of New York's 20,000-strong Paraguayan community, said Rep. Elvis Balbuena of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party, who had lobbied for Lugo to name Noguera to the post.

Noguera has been active in the party's committee in New York as well as the Centro Paraguayo, a community center in the city's Flushing district. Paraguayans who promised to support Lugo during his presidential campaign wanted Noguera to run the consulate, Baluena told the AP.

-- snip --

"Augusto Noguera was always active in the Paraguayan community, in the Liberal Party and the Centro Paraguayo. Everyone knew him as a community activist," [Dionisio Recalde, a fellow Authentic Radical Liberty Party member in New York] said.

And the icing on this cake of favor-trading and irony?

[Senator] Balbuena has called for [President] Lugo to expel the U.S. consular official who denied the visa.

Sure, why not expel him? He's the only one in this situation who did nothing illegal, dumb, or unethical.

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