MICHAEL: I need you to sign here and here.
ALEXANDRA: Is this the form where I sign off on your vasectomy? No?! Of course not. Because ONLY WOMEN HAVE TO HAVE WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THEIR HUSBANDS TO UNDERGO SURGICAL STERILIZATION.
MICHAEL: That’s not a national policy, Alex. Yet. Though I, too, share in your anger over being asked to do so. Still, we need to shelve the war on reproductive rights for a few hours. This is our application to sponsor an immigrant family.
ALEXANDRA: Oh! Like setting up a GoFundMe for a particular family? Or is it like those Sally Struthers commercials from when we were kids. They were haunting — photos of starving children that seemed to always air immediately following a “Where’s the Beef” commercial. I still think of those gaunt faces every time I see flies.
MICHAEL: No. We are applying to FOSTER a family. In our home. To be their permanent residence. To feed them. To support them financially.
ALEXANDRA: Oh! Like a Resistance Airbnb! I like it! For how long? A long weekend? Five days?
MICHAEL: No Alex. Indefinitely. Did you know that some migrants have to wait FOUR YEARS for their initial interview? Most active deportation cases have been pending for 718 days and still remain unresolved. In Jersey, it’s more like 1000 days. 1000 days in an ICE warehouse, Alex. While on the other side of those freezing cinder block walls, we’re hoovering hotdogs, setting off fireworks, and making memes about the Great Airport Battle of 1812. It’s as vapid as debating if we’re team Tay Tay or if we side with the Biebs.
ALEXANDRA: Hashtag I stand with Taylor. Appropriative or not, her latest video with Billy Porter is fire. And sometimes I need a break, Michael. I NEED to occasionally argue about vapid, meaningless things while drinking cold, malted beverages. Besides not every entertainment industry beef is meaningless. Black Ariel much?
MICHAEL: You heard the imam at the last rally. We aren’t doing enough. Calls aren’t enough. Donations aren’t enough. We’re living through a humanitarian crisis. Sponsoring migrants is the next obvious step.
ALEXANDRA: In our oh-so-spacious 870-square feet? How would that even work, Michael?
MICHAEL: Remember our first apartment in Washington Heights? That sweet rent-controlled studio with all the natural light?
ALEXANDRA: I will never forget cleaning out the broken crack vials before moving in. We laughed as we recounted that sweet old Cuban landlord saying, “I don’t understand why the previous tenant kept shorting me on rent.”
MICHAEL: Remember what else that landlord said when he offered us the place instead of to one of the less-affluent families in the building? “Take over his lease. I want more nice white people in my building instead of all these Dominicans.” How many times have we benefitted from our privilege and the marginalization of immigrants?
ALEXANDRA: It wasn’t THAT great an apartment. The kitchen was so small that neither the fridge nor the oven had room enough to open fully.
MICHAEL: But it was safe, Alex. It was affordable and a block from the express train. It was an embarrassment of riches compared to how these people are living ON OUR SOIL. How they are being treated IN OUR NAME. Every one of those apartments in every one of those buildings was packed with migrants. What population density do you suppose the new census report will show? What kind of representation will they have? Maybe I can’t fix that but…
ALEXANDRA: We were all so young then. Kittery was just a kitten — leaping from the pedestal sink to the top of the bathroom door then lying in wait to pounce on our heads. And because the place was so small, there was no place she couldn’t reach in a single leap.
MICHAEL: And there was no place in Manhattan we couldn’t reach in under an hour living next to that express stop. It made your entire career possible. It made the way we live today possible. Do you remember our neighbors upstairs?
ALEXANDRA: I do.
MICHAEL: A family of seven in the exact same floor plan. Every evening we’d hear them move the furniture from the middle of the rooms to make sleeping space…
ALEXANDRA: And every morning they’d move it back.
MICHAEL: This place is twice the size that one was.
ALEXANDRA: I saw those AOC tweets, too. I scrolled through the screenshots from that Facebook group. I tried to listen to that seven minutes of children crying and had a full-fledged panic attack. But… a family? Indefinitely?
MICHAEL: You and I are both WAY too self-absorbed to care for a kid or kids on our own. A family makes the most sense.
ALEXANDRA: What happened to, “I could never share my living space with a child?”
MICHAEL: Same thing as happened to your, “After Mia Hamm retires, I’m never watching soccer again.” Times change, Alex. People have to evolve, adapt. Like strep bacteria in the face of hand sanitizer or Justin Amash in the face of the “death spiral” of the Republican Party.
ALEXANDRA: Can we really afford it? I mean… say we DO move forward. How much are we responsible for? We can barely afford our own insurance. How do we pay another family’s medical bills?
MICHAEL: Can we afford not to? Morally, I mean? I’m a Jew, Alex. As the hashtag says, never again is now. We have to do something.
ALEXANDRA: Going to the Lights for Liberty rally doesn’t count? You don’t think the protests will make a difference?
MICHAEL: As much as wearing an enamel pin of Marsha P. Johnson on your END RACISM T-shirt will make a difference for trans women of color.
MICHAEL: No. I’m not saying stop. I love every one of your political tees. I love that you carry a bag of battery-operated candles with you everywhere in case of an impromptu vigil. And I especially love that your bag and tees are all ethically sourced. I’m just saying that the line between enough and not enough keeps moving.
ALEXANDRA: And I love that you want to do more, Michael. Your heart is bigger than the Epstein coverup. You and I both know this problem isn’t going away any time soon. But neither is Nancy Pelosi.
MICHAEL: With this nation’s birthday having just passed, I keep thinking, “Of the people. By the people. For the people.” Ultimately, it’s on us, Alex.
ALEXANDRA: You know that’s from the Gettysburg Address, not the Declaration of Independence, right? You’re lucky you aren’t famous enough to get memed.
Learn more about the Asylum Sponsorship Project.