DEAR READERS: Rather than me punk ustedes with a prank, I give you the cruelest joke of all — ex-congressman and eternal Know Nothing Tom Tancredo! In return for him graciously allowing us to debate in Denver last year, I've allowed him to answer two questions of my picking, with no editorial interference from me save my intro and conclusion (so all the wacky stats he pulls out are his and his alone).
See you at the end of the columna, for my Good Mexican of the Week. Take it, Tom!
DEAR MEXICAN: Why do legal Mexican immigrants feel the need to make sure their criminal counterparts stay here and receive things they, the legal immigrant, had to work so hard to receive legally?
Insert Derogatory Nickname About Me Here, Hopefully Something Witty
DEAR AMERICAN: I suspect the question may be a sardonic one. It subtly suggests that critics of illegal entry like myself wrongly consider all illegal aliens “criminals” while legal Mexican immigrants do not see them that way. I think that suggestion is an oversimplification and an attempt at stereotyping.
Actually, the idea that all Americans of Mexican descent welcome illegal interlopers is a misconception created by a fawning liberal media and advocacy organizations with a political agenda. Second-, third- and fourth-generation Mexican immigrants are divided on the question of welcoming all illegal border jumpers, and it's dangerous to overgeneralize about their views.
Many legal immigrants — and even many U.S.-born citizens of Mexican heritage — have a grandfather or aunt or uncle who also arrived illegally a decade ago or in the 1970s.
Few immigrants of any nationality want to see a relative or good neighbor deported. But this natural sympathy can be stretched only so far. That sympathy does not extend to the criminal class among the illegal alien population, which is estimated to be as high as 10 percent. About 25 percent of convicted felons in the Phoenix jail are illegal aliens, and we do know that in the Tucson sector of the Border Patrol, about 15 percent of the border trespassers apprehended have criminal records — criminal records in the United States!
Yes, anyone who crosses the border without authorization is breaking the law, and, if apprehended anywhere inside the U.S., can and should be deported whether or not they have broken other laws. This happens to be not only my opinion, but the opinion of about 75 percent of the American public. It is also the view of thousands of legal Mexican immigrants and Latino citizens who see good jobs being lost to illegal persons who will work for less.
So, let's acknowledge that the views of legal Mexican residents are complex and run the gamut. Stereotyping them as having a single view is not flattering to them or to the poser of the question.
DEAR MEXICAN: Why do Mexican radio DJs insist on having that Mickey Mouse high-pitched voice and automated laughter track? Do they assume that most Mexican listeners are so stupid that they have to be reminded when to laugh and that we need a childlike character to induce the laughter? Just seems silly and wrong to me.
DEAR AMERICAN: First off, that voice isn't actually Mickey Mouse — it's an illegal alien impersonator who offered to do the voice-over cheaper than Mickey would.
And the reason they play the high-pitched voice isn't because migrant workers are obtuse; it's just that oftentimes, they can't hear the substance of the original joke over the sounds of the nail guns and clanking plates at the construction sites and restaurants where they are illegally working.
GOOD MEXICAN OF THE WEEK! OK, cabrones: It's your Mexican again! Wasn't Tom fun? OK, maybe not, and that's why we have the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, which challenges Tancredo and his ilk every step of the paseo with stats, rallies and undocumented college students obtaining their degrees. Support the mensches at coloradoimmigrant.org.
ASK THE MEXICAN