Saludos Mi Familia de San Vicente de Paúl,
One of my friends in the house has an ankle monitor. Immigration uses ankle monitors to keep track of people in another way besides detention. And no matter your thoughts on ankle monitors as an idea or practice, I just want to invite us to focus on this specific monitor attached to this specific ankle.
It’s exasperating and taking a toll because it’s a 24/7, parasitic reminder that he’s not free.
He works two jobs from 6am to midnight with 3 hours of rest in between; that totals 15-hour days on his feet. Yesterday, I was watching novellas with his wife and young son just now when he came through the bedroom door. After handing us a box of chicken tacos from the place he cooks (because he’s just great), he laid down on their bed and pushed the ankle monitor up, revealing a big sore, red, puffy, nasty blister (una ampolla). We all cringed and made an audible “Ugh!” or “Aye!” when we saw it. He suddenly seemed so vulnerable lying there.
“I’ll think there’s stuff upstairs. I’m going. Medicine.” I said, eyes still on it. Spanish is hard when I’m stressed. I took the stairs two-at-a-time, swung open the closet, found band-aids, medicine, and some tape for tomorrow, and brought it back downstairs.
As his wife began cleaning it, he winced and yelled into the pillow.
We all know that feeling don’t we? We’ve all had blisters before. But I could ALWAYS take my shoes off. I could ALWAYS wear a different pair — heck, I could buy a new pair if I wanted.
He can’t take this off.
If he attempts to change it somehow, it will alert ICE, and it could appear that he’s tampering with it which would mean criminal charges, detention, or deportation.
He can’t take this off.
It’s “just” a blister. But it’s so much more. And that’s what’s bothering me right now. He can’t take it off.
I’m sitting on my bed, and I’m wondering, will it get infected? Why is the world this way? I’m also wondering, what did I really just witness?
In the simplest terms – this whole thing just really upset me.
Tomorrow I’ll go get some of those blister band-aids.
Tinamarie Stolz is a Campus Minister at St. Joseph’s University and a parishioner at St. Vincent De Paul in Germantown. She is spending the summer at the Oakland Catholic Worker in Oakland, California. Check back for more updates.