Monday, August 22, 2005

Running on empty

HARLINGEN, Texas -- In a storefront courthouse
in the baking-hot Rio Grande Valley, next to a
''beauty academy" and across from a sleepy coffee
shop, US Immigration Judge David Ayala is a study
in effortless efficiency. He pulls blue files one
by one from a tall stack, announces the name of
an undocumented immigrant caught slipping across
the US border, and orders the defendant deported.

There are no cries of protest. The defendants
are nowhere to be found. Other than the thwack of
a stamp and the judge's voice, the only other
sound in the tiny courtroom is the quiet hum of
an air conditioner, as Ayala goes through the
motions before a Department of Homeland Security
prosecutor and a reporter.

Sounds like the opening page of a J. D. Salinger
novel or some other author. Anybody got a better
author to suggest?

Or the opening scene of a 'B' rate movie.

"Goin' thru the motions, sonny, cuz thet's whut
the law sez."

Check it out.