Parental Indiscretions

Two parents in New Hampshire are finding themselves subject to a bit more attention than they would like — and both of them bring up some bigger issues.

In Weare, New Hampshire (home town of Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter), a father discovered that his 15-year-old daughter was a bit more grown up than he liked — grown up enough to have sex with her 17-year-old boyfriend. He was outraged, and stormed on to the school grounds to confront the boy. Several bruises and a couple stitches later, the boy is a bit worse for wear and the father is facing assault charges. Further, authorities are weighing statutory rape charges against the boy.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe chose to highlight a woman in Manchester who’s in a spot of legal trouble. She’s an immigrant, but a legal one — came her from the Dominican Republic on a green card, worked hard, had a couple of kids with a fellow Dominican immigrant (but didn’t bother to marry), then did something stupid — she got involved in selling forged Social Security cards.

Now, when she was on the verge of getting her citizenship, she’s facing deportation.

I feel sympathy for her. She didn’t seek out the opportunity to get into the faked documents business; she was set up and ratted out by a “friend” who had been caught with fake papers, and was cooperating with police to ease her own punishment.

But that doesn’t mitigate the fact that when asked, she not only knew where to get her hands on fake papers, but actually obtained them for the so-called friend. She had the choice of getting involved or not in illegal activity, and she made the wrong choice.

Although in her case, I have a couple of doubts about her deportation. If we take the Boston Globe story at face value (always a very sketchy proposition — I can almost smell the unreported details in this account, ones that would put Ms. Nunez in a less than saintly light), the crux of her deportation hangs on whether her selling two fake Social Security cards to the same person a week apart constitutes a single crime or two separate crimes. (I’d also be curious to see if she sold them “at cost,” or made any money off the deal. I also wonder if she was offered leniency in exchange for turning in the person who supplied her with the fake cards, and if she refused. Pity the reporter was more interested in a sob story than things like facts.)

Under those circumstances, I have no problem with deporting her. She didn’t just “do a favor for a friend,” she got into the business, and she chose to protect the real bad guy here, the one who was making the fake cards. The price for those two choices ought to be severe. Deportation certainly seems about right.

But if my suspicions are incorrect, I think that she should have been given enough of a break to lump the two instances into a single charge.

I’ll be very interested to see if the Globe story inspires anyone else to do some digging into the matter — someone with more resources than I. There are a lot of unanswered questions here, ones that could put this tale in full context.

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