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I do not believe in God, but I believe in the suffering that knotted the Rosary above into being. It came into my fingers from the more skillful fingers of someone indefinitely detained in the slow-grinding cogs of the fragmented machine that is the US immigration system; it came into my hand from the hands of someone who deserves just as much to be free; it was delicately braided from scraps into meaning by a man for whom sunlight is a fading memory, and who is waiting, patiently, for relief.

The past few weeks have been harrowing, and disheartening, and eye-opening, and more. The past few weeks saw my beloved–a green card holder and lawful US resident since the early 90s–detained by ICE upon returning from a conference in Europe, and held without a hearing (or alternatives or freedom or sunlight) since. One of the detainees in his block wove the Rosary above; I cannot believe in God, but I wear it.

My beloved will be released. Unlike the majority of immigrant detainees, we can afford legal counsel, and with such an obvious case, and his repatriation is just a matter of time. But there are tens of thousands of others–the Rosary-maker among them–being held indefinitely and in deplorable conditions, guilty only of being pilgrims too late.

I am guilty of being a citizen of a country that would cage people so cruelly. I believe the latter is worse.

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