By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Dear Readers: I'm turning over the column this week to those who think America can stop the Reconquista. The following are contributions from the winners of my challenge to Know Nothings a couple semanas back asking people to explain in 100 words or less how they can hate the illegal Mexican while loving the legal one without mentioning culture.
Here are the winners, each granted the amnesty of his own paragraph:
I, Know Nothing, do solemnly swear that I love my legal Mexican amigos but hate my illegal Mexican amigos. This love-hate relationship is based upon my deep respect for the letter of the law. As proof, I offer my sworn testimony that I have never broken any law: I have never exceeded a speed limit, never crossed a street mid-block, and never committed any acts of sodomy with my lovely wife.
[Mexican note: The man above lives in Utah.]
Keeping Mexicans as second-class citizens denies them and their children many of the rights they deserve. In my experience with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the schools, I met many children who could not participate in activities because they did not want to expose their families to deportation.
I don't care about culture—rather, I find lots to admire and celebrate in cultural change that has come. As for the law, I don't like that it is not followed, but not all law is equally important. In San Francisco, we don't follow lots of laws we don't agree with or like. Is there some chance that respect for the law is lost? Yes. But who doesn't cross against a light if there are no vehicles coming and no kids near? Rules are necessary, but, like hot sauce on my burrito, best applied lightly.
Hating an illegal immigrant person (physical and/or cultural identity) is different from hating that person's choice to break the law when legal options were available, or hating the desperate circumstance that drove that person to break the law when legal options were not available. Breaking immigration law is more than sneaking across the border. That first illegal act becomes an illegal lifestyle by necessity. To work, to obtain goods and services, to own a motor vehicle and obtain a license to drive it, etc., one must steal an identity and a Social Security number. There has to be a better way.
I want immigration laws enforced to help my norte soccer teams be beaten less by shorter guys who know the beautiful game better than we lame latecomers. And to help hold back my sagging stomach against my flavor-attack cravings for verdad Mexican food. And maybe the aching eight-year failures of President Rove won't glow so brightly watching hard-working construction campesinos, cuando revuelven to the drug wars "away, down there" ferociously fueled by Americans' dope appetites.
Since I am a Southerner, the last group you can make fun of without recriminations [Mexican note: He forgot Guatemalans], it would be easy to label me a racist and be done with it, but I am one who despises illegal immigration but embrace and welcome the legal immigrant. The only reason I despise the illegal immigrant is because they lower pay for both legal immigrants and citizens alike. That's the only concern that I have about them. Culture? In America? Our entire culture is merely repackaged from the very immigrants that have been coming to these shores since the Pilgrims (Puritan bastards) landed.