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Line-Cutters and Illegals

Dear Mexican,

Why do Mexicans always find the need to cut in line? I see this happening in la carnicería, the airport and everywhere else there are Mexicans.

—A Disappointed Mexicana

Dear Mexican,

Although I have great empathy for the plight of illegal aliens and their families, their illegal “cutting in line” ahead of others has resulted in depriving other law-abiding families waiting to legally immigrate of the same entitlements, opportunities and citizenship they so righteously and aggressively defend. At its core, it just isn’t right and cannot be justified with hard work or innocent children. My wife’s brothers and sisters live in near poverty in the Philippines, but they’re waiting so they can become LEGAL immigrants.

—Waiting and Waiting

Dear Wab and Gabacho,

I get this question asked every week, so to Disappointed, Waiting and all other curious minds: Grow some huevos. Mexicans cut in line not because they’re rude but because they have lives to live, places to go. To Disappointed: Are you going to patiently stand there like a pendeja as Mexican after Mexican cuts in front of you? Do what Mexicans do: Cut in front of them. Or at least slash their tires afterward. And Waiting: Let’s be realistic. The only reason Mexicans come into this country illegally is because it’s easy for them — just one hopped border and you’re here. If the Philippines weren’t thousands of miles away, your impoverished in-laws would swim over faster than Mark Spitz. Why wait years and years just because it’s the right way? Waiting to immigrate legally won’t calm those hunger pangs. Besides, entering America illegally, agitating for rights, and watching as a foreign government grants you recognition under pressure isn’t a sin: It’s called the Declaration of Independence.

The following is an oldie-but-goodie picked by The Mexican himself in honor of his illegal cousins who marched last Monday:

Dear Mexican,

What is it about the word illegal that Mexicans don’t understand?

—Mondo Minuteman

Dear Gabacho,

Take your pick, Mondo. Mexicans don’t understand the word illegal, because: a) When paying their gardeners, nannies, busboys and factory workers in cash (and forgetting to withhold payroll taxes), U.S. employers don’t seem to understand the word illegal, so why should Mexicans? b) The Anglo-American trappers and traders whom you and I were taught to admire as tough, self-sufficient frontiersmen and pioneers were among the American Southwest’s first illegals. Who are you calling illegal, gabacho? c) Presidente Bush’s proposal to offer amnesty and a guest-worker program to all illegal immigrants — a move designed to appease his supporters in the business community — means even Republicans don’t understand the word. d) Whether they buy a fake passport or take a citizenship oath, Mexicans will never be more than wetbacks in the eyes of many Americans, so why bother applying for residency? e) Many newspapers require reporters to describe as “undocumented workers” the men and women you call “illegal.” f) Little-known fact: The fragment of poetry on the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” etc.) does not, because of a French engraver’s error, include Emma Lazarus’ rarely cited footnote: “No Mexicans, please.” Fucking French. But the real answer is the word itself. Illegal is an English word; Mexicans speak Spanish — yet you never hear Mexicans whine that their bosses don’t understand such easy Spanish phrases as “pinche puto pendejo baboso,” do you?

Links to Gustavo Arellano’s “¡Ask a Mexican!” column, past and present, can now be found at www.laweekly.com.


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