GOOD

At this point, the debate over immigration in the United States is less a conversation than an interminable morass. We hear the same arguments time and again: We can’t grant illegal immigrants citizenship because they’ve broken the law by coming here. If we do, we’re rewarding criminals, and so on.

I’m not going to take on that or any other anti-amnesty argument here; experts and legal scholars are better equipped to do battle in that arena. Instead, I’m just going to tell a story about a friend of mine. And no, he’s not an illegal immigrant. But I’m beginning to wonder if it might be in his best interests to become one.

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File this under "Good to Know": Western Union can get your cash to a refugee in need as easily as you can pull money out of an ATM. Even if your refugee friend has no bank account or I.D. The catch is, you have to get it to the right branch.

Even after Samy was arrested and then released, it would be weeks before he could get home to the refugee camp. Which is why I’d insisted on sending him a little money—the equivalent of $90 U.S., which would be enough to charter a private car back to the camp and bribe Thai authorities if he got stopped on the way.

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For over a month now, Samy has been stuck in the city of Chiang Mai. Broke, alone, at constant risk of deportation, and bored out of his mind, he sits in a room, waiting for a friend to bring him enough money to charter a van back to his home in the refugee camp.

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Last week, Samy was arrested by the Thai police.

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