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Illegal Entry

Clayton Hackett is an attorney in South Texas, a place growing more dystopian by the hour. This is his second appearance in Daily Science Fiction. Otherwise, his work has most recently been published in B-Cubed Press' Alternative Apocalypse anthology. More information is available at claytonhackett.com or via Twitter: @hackett.

The child was alone, sent by parents desperate to save their son before tragedy struck. Wrapped in cloth, placed not in a basket in a river, but in an escape vessel large enough for only one. A refugee from an impending crisis that inevitably would lead to the destruction of the child's home. Desperate parents launched him from their planet, knowing they would never see him again, but with a hope that he could survive the cold vacuum of space and land somewhere safe. Did they know they were setting him on a path to the land of the free?
You think you've heard this story before. It used to be, we liked the idea of the small-town farmer in middle America with the Very Rural English last name rescuing the orphaned child, raising it as their own. The child was taught values and morals, and grew up to save the planet over and over again (by most accounts), the greatest benefit to humanity, to the world.
But that was all bullshit, some story a couple of guys made up to sell funny books.
How many of these middle-America farmers now wear red hats? Chant "lock her up"? Are happy to see children locked in cages, ready to be deported?
The story today, the child still lands on a small farm, but it's not some quiet affair. The escape vessel would have created an explosion as it entered the atmosphere. Remember that meteorite over Siberia that exploded like a nuclear blast? A small pod careening into our planet, it's not the kind of thing that would have happened stealthily.
The explosion in the sky draws a lot of attention. People are afraid of this alien child and are pissed that their windows were broken. Somebody calls ICE.
The child has already been separated from its parents.
The child is taken into custody. The child is kept in a cage, away from daylight. The child is given a hearing, where the infant, who can't even sit up, is asked a series of questions by attorneys from the government.
"Are you seeking asylum? Is it unsafe where you came from?"
The child doesn’t answer, except to cry.
The court orders the child to be deported back to its home. We can't help everybody.
We can't even help ourselves, apparently.
Of course, we don't have the technology to actually send the child back to where it came from (never mind that the place no longer exists except as a debris field), but that doesn't matter. We do have the technology to put it back into space.
The child is placed back into its escape pod, and the pod is part of the payload on a private rocket leaving a launch pad in Brownsville, Texas.
When the rocket enters orbit, it releases the tiny escape pod, gently pushing the little basket in some direction that may or may not be the direction that it came from.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, November 11th, 2019

Author Comments

The photographs from the border have broken me, especially of Oscar Ramirez Martinez and his daughter. If you are able, please consider donating to RAICES or the organization of your choice.

- Clayton Hackett
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