It's an election year. And the economy is as bad as anyone we know can remember (even if the recession is allegedly over). It's that time again — time to blame immigrants for our problems (unless, of course, you're a Republican trying to reach centrist voters).

Of course, the Juan who washes your car/mows your lawn/takes care of your mom/parks your car/fries up your burger — he's cool. We're talking about those other immigrants, the undefined brown masses who traipse across the border, drop “anchor babies” and soak up entitlements.

Except that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the border “is more secure than ever” and that illegal immigration is down 17 percent.

Even the oft-touted notion of a violent border region — one that inspired Arizona's controversial law that encourages cops to determine the immigration status of people they stop — has little basis in fact.

All that certainly doesn't jive with the right-wing, AM-talk-radio vision of the border as a lawless land of unwashed invaders.

Let us tell you something: We grew up along the border. We've reported on the Minutemen from the desert lands east of San Diego. The brown masses, the anchor babies, the criminals, the terrorists — they have never shown their faces to us.

And still, you know better. People like our commenter du jour, Woody McBreairty, clearly an expert in U.S.-Mexico border relations, say our fence with Mexico is an “open border:”

Our borders are wide open – not to mention the gang members and drugsters who have turned our borders & border towns into war zones – politicians are good at lying & making excuses, but not at solving our problems which keep getting worse.

Wide open?

What's your first-person border experience? Comment below.

LA Weekly