Ask a Mexican: Illegal and Lovin' It

What if you don't want papers?

Dear Mexican: I'm an illegal alien. Got here on a tourist visa and stayed for a job. My gabacho employer knows about it and doesn't give a crap. I don't apologize about it, because ever since I can remember, the U.S.A. has meddled around in other countries' business like it owns the world. That, at least in my mind, gives me the right to be here and do a decent, reasonable man's labor with muchos huevos—labor that nobody else will do. Why won't gabachos? A myriad of reasons, from snobbism to plain old laziness to greed, none of them to be discussed here. I don't get in trouble, I work my culo off, and I get good money for it.

Now, to my point: I don't give a caca about amnesty or, as they like to call it these days, "a pathway to legal citizenship." With the status quo, I get to be here and have a good job without having to quit being what I have always been, cherishing what I have always cherished, or acting as I always have—as a Mexican. I'm the same exact person I have been, only a few 100 miles north and with better life chances. —Some Chihuahuan

Dear Wab: Heavy lies the sombrero, amigo. I'm glad you're enjoying life as an illegal, but few of your fellow undocumented do—what else explains the 2006 amnesty marches, the fear of escalating migra raids, and the healthy market for fraudulent documents establishing some type of legal residency? Your question does brush up against an interesting, related phenomenon: the legal Mexicans who can become American citizens but don't. A March 2007 Pew Hispanic Center report revealed that only 35 percent of eligible Mexicans had naturalized their status in 2005, an improvement from 20 percent in 1995; compare that with the 77, 71, and 69 percent rates for legal immigrants from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe/Canada, respectively, for 2005. Researcher Jeffrey S. Passel wrote that wabs notched the abysmally low rate because "so many have low education levels, high poverty and other characteristics that are associated with low citizenship levels." Wait a minute: I always hear anti-immigrant pendejos claim that LEGAL immigrants are grateful Americans, while ILLEGAL immigrants are unworthy of citizenship. Yet the Mexican example shows that it's the illegals agitating to improve their citizenship status, while the legals learn the American way and become complacent in their station. Know Nothings: Care to explain the difference?

A Mexican-born colleague of ours recently became incensed about a staff-party invitation that called for invitees to bring margaritas or margarita mix to our Mexican-themed potluck. He said Mexicans drink tequila instead of margaritas and that Mexicans don't eat chips, either. He was also upset about the adjective "Mexican" used with a lowercase m. Were we accurate, or is he being oversensitive? —Clueless in California

Dear Gabacho: Tell the wab to shut up. So maybe Mexicans don't consume margaritas and tortilla chips as much as, say, pan dulce and huitlacoche—who cares? Both gabacho faves have their roots with Mexicans entrepreneurs who took authentically Mexican products to create an Americanized hybrid; he should celebrate these feats instead of whining like Lou Dobbs. I'll only fault your staff for using the lowercase on "Mexican"—stylebooks require upper-case letters at the beginning of nationalities or movements even when adjectivized (Americanized, or Know Nothing–esque) and lower case for races or peoples (gabacho, negritos, and pendejos).

 
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