Let’s say that in 1997, as a young man, I robbed a bank. No one was hurt, but I got away with a substantial amount of money. I saved and invested the money and never again committed a crime. I got married to a wonderful woman. Together we had a son, who now is 12 and an honor student. My wife is a successful real estate professional, so I stay at home, caring for my son and running the household. The stolen money gave me my foothold in the American economy. But now it’s 2013, and an arrest on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol led to the discovery of my long-ago crime. Should I be prosecuted, or does the fact that I built a model family exempt me from punishment for my crime?
Now try this question: How is this different from the situation facing Jorge Penate, who broke U.S. immigration law when he entered the United States in 1997, as reported in the Dec. 30 Metro story “A family’s uncertain future”?