Every week, Danny M. Lavery and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: immigration and in-laws.
Daniel Lavery: The answer is never, you tell them never, you do not ever give these people any information that they could use to hurt you, which they have made pretty clear they WOULD use to hurt you
Nicole Cliffe: Absolutely not
Not their business
Daniel Lavery: Anyone who asks you if you “have your papers” does not have your best interests at heart
Nicole Cliffe: it’s only your business and your partner’s business and “what a thing to say” is perfectly adequate
Daniel Lavery: what a fascist thing to say!
Nicole Cliffe: people are MONSTERS, asking people questions like that
Daniel Lavery: just casually dropping “where are your papers?” over dinner like Christoph Waltz at the farmer’s dinner table in Inglorious Basterds
Nicole Cliffe: truly, truly outrageous
Daniel Lavery: I mean, the bigger concern here, for me, is that this LW seems to feel like this is something she’s withholding from a group of people who ought to know by virtue of being her future in-laws
Nicole Cliffe: It has nothing to do with them, she is not asking them for any immigration assistance
Daniel Lavery: this is not like — “Oh, my partner and I plan on never having kids, and I don’t know how we’ll break it to their parents”
never tell them, lie to them if you have to cheerfully and with a clear conscience
Nicole Cliffe: i would not ask a dog if he had his papers
and not just bc dogs cannot talk
Daniel Lavery: it was a hostile remark designed to make the LW feel panicked and scared, and like she’s not as good as the rest of the family
“Obviously WE have a perfect right to be here — explain yourself to me”
not that it would have been okay if he worked for the government in the Documents Processing Department
Nicole Cliffe: Nope!
Daniel Lavery: I really hope you and your partner can talk a little bit about what this might look like once you two are married
because there is almost certainly a racist/xenophobic component to this family dynamic that I think would be present regardless of your document status
Nicole Cliffe: The LW definitely feels like she is a problem instead of a person, in this letter
Daniel Lavery: and I’m glad your partner is prepared to look after your interests and seek out ways to protect and defend you
but I just worry about the idea of your spending a lot of time with these people
I don’t want to assume the LW isn’t already well-resourced but just in case I’m going to include a link to the national immigration law center here.
but your partner’s family have made it really clear that, at best, they want to extend to you some sort of token “good immigrant” status at the expense of other immigrants
those are not people you should trust further than you can throw
Nicole Cliffe: Ughhhh I’m still reeling at this question
Not surprised, JUST MAD
Daniel Lavery: Protect yourself, do not expose you or your family members to unnecessary threats by random people who think they have the right to demand information about your “papers” by virtue of where they were born
I hope someone takes a minute to remind them the Sensenbrenner bill died in the Senate a long time ago
I suppose my final thought here would be that even if you don’t care to take into account the foundational, imperial violence of the USA, the fact that its borders have expanded due to military invasion, and the history of racist nativism in the context of immigration
it’s still true that immigration status isn’t handled by your partner’s uncle just because he was born in a certain state and is idly curious and hostile
Nicole Cliffe: Amen to that.
Daniel Lavery: he has no right to this information, never give it to him, look after yourself
and in general, if you ever find yourself asking another person “Where are your papers,” you are a villain
Nicole Cliffe: it’s not a question that I get asked as a white immigrant; the racial lines are very clear there
Daniel Lavery: unless it’s like, taking a ticket stub at the movie
Nicole Cliffe: no one has assumed I did not belong in their space or asked intrusive questions about EXACTLY HOW I GOT HERE, YOUNG LADY
Daniel Lavery: remember going to the movies?
the last movie i saw in theaters was The Boy II, by the way
do you remember what yours was?
Nicole Cliffe: also a reminder that the spigot on “legal” immigration has been turned almost all the way off and I certainly would not have gotten my original work visa in today’s nation
I saw Endgame, I HAVE CHILDREN. Remember when you asked me if I had seen the new Star Wars yet and I said “no bc of the kids” and you said “I never thought you would do that to me”
You were right to do it
Daniel Lavery: I was so hurt
that you would use basic information about your own life
to remind me that I forgot basic information about your life
Nicole Cliffe: TO BE FAIR it’s more that we would have to wait until like 6:30pm to see a movie and you know how sleepy I get
I have gone to bed in the full swing of a party I am throwing and just said “please do not break anything and close the door behind you, stay as long as you want”
I missed a small, relaxed semi-orgy once, which transpired after I had gone to bed
I am a good hostess
I’m glad they had a good time
I was extremely asleep
Also I pre-ordered The Boy II, should I watch it today while I work?
The first movie brought me such intense joy
Daniel Lavery: bless you
yes, do, it’s very odd