Yearning to Breathe Free

Superhero vigilantism is on the rise in this country, but not all vigilantes have costumes and powers.  These individuals crop up in any walk of life where the proper authorities cannot or will not maintain the safety and order that it is their responsibility to provide.  And occasionally, these vigilantes actually organize.  One such group is the so-called “Minute Men,” who have positioned themselves along the U.S./Mexican border, hoping to prevent illegal aliens from entering the country.

This is obviously a hot-button issue, and one which I hold close to my heart: as you all know, I’m an immigrant myself, born and raised in Canada.  So I, more than most, can see just how complex the problem is.  On the one hand, these Minute Men are armed subversives, taking the law into their own hands.  On the other, immigration laws exist for a reason, and in their own warped way, the Minute Men are trying to uphold those laws, a noble effort, regardless of their own personal motivations.

Let’s take a moment to explore the plight of the immigrants.  Leaving aside the inherent illegality of their actions, it is hard not to empathize with the bulk of those who desire to come to our nation.  After all, was this nation not founded on the notion of finding a new life and a new home?  It is a great nation that welcomes an immigrant like myself with open arms, and even though I was not born in the U.S., I now refer to it as “my home” and “my country” without compunction.  Indeed, as Emma Lazarus once said, America was built on the backs of the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  These poor souls often come to our land in the hopes of building a better life for themselves, and to ensure a better life for their loved ones.  A noble effort to be sure.  And their journey is mired by law enforcement on both sides of the border, corrupt coyotes who would cheat them out of their meager life savings, and the aforementioned Minute Men.

But as much as I personally empathize with these illegals, their actions cannot be excused.  Countless problems are caused by illegal immigration, ranging from economic to criminal.  This is why a process for legal immigration exists, for all its faults.  But on top of the traditional dangers associated with crossing illegally into our borders, new ones have begun to emerge.

As crime-fighting vigilantes and their criminal counterparts proliferate in America and abroad, the number of people seeking refuge from them increases as well.  Though they are undeniably misguided, most of the masked vigilantes patrolling our fair cities are at least well-meaning.  Though there are reports of a group of heroic Mexican vigilantes known as “Los Luchadores,” they are exceptions that prove the rule: most of Mexico’s costumed vigilantes are as openly corrupt as your average federale.  And after living under the heel of their hometown supervillains, contending with the likes of the Minute Men would look like a walk in the park.

And we haven’t even considered the fact that some of these illegals have superhuman abilities themselves.  Teleportation and invisibility are just two power sets that make crossing our poorly-patrolled border that much easier.  There is an urban legend in many southwestern cities of a modern-day underground railroad, bringing the disenfranchised from Mexico to the Unites States, helmed by a woman calling herself La Coyote Salvador.  It is said she possess mystical powers to help evade predators both human and beast, and has helped many illegals reach U.S. soil. Once upon a time, I would have regarded such a concept laughable, but I’m starting to believe that those rumors are true.

But even powers do not necessarily ensure a successful border crossing, as a young Minute Man named Randall Bailey proved a few weeks ago. While patrolling the border southwest of Corpus Christi, Texas, Mr. Bailey spotted something flying high in the sky from the south.  “At first I thought it was a bird, for sure,” Bailey asserted in a recent interview, “but it didn’t seem to fly right.”  Upon closer inspection, Bailey realized he was seeing a man with the power of flight crossing the border from above.  “My instinct just kicked in, you know?”  Bailey proceeded to aim his rifle into the sky and fire.

The flying man was a Mexico City native named Jose Romero.  Reportedly, Romero had been pressed into service by the Medina drug cartel.  Wanting out of that life, Romero sought refuge in our United States of America.  A day after Randall Bailey shot Romero down, he posted an inflammatory photo on his Facebook page.  It showed Bailey, grinning ear to ear, his rifle over his shoulder, standing above Jose Romero’s fallen corpse, whose body was pulverized on impact.  Bailey is currently on trial for first degree murder.  “I ain’t sorry for what I did,” Bailey maintains.  “He trespassed.  America’s my home, not his.”

I fear that stories like those of Randall Bailey and Jose Romero are just the beginning.  How long before the Minute Men recruit the services of more powerful, more lethal vigilantes to serve alongside them?  How long before border crossing becomes a game of kill or be killed?  And how long before that game stretches further than just the borders?

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