The Immigration Issue Revisited

In the last month, I received these responses to a blog piece I posted on May 4, 2006 called “Unfounded Fears Drive Anti-Immigrant Movement.” While most responses to my blog have been positive, from time to time I like to post the negative reactions. It’s important to see the level of dialogue on this (at times very low). Any typos or grammatical errors I’ve left in the letters. I also have my responses at the end of each letter.

I stumbled upon your site and your views of illegal immigrants and those who are against them being here. There are extremists on both sides of this issue that is true. There are the Mexicans filled with hate and disdain for our country and our language and our culture and they just want to take for themselves and have no interest in assimilating into our culture. There are Mexicans who think we STOLE the southern states from them which is preposterous because we paid a hefty sum during the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty for those parts of the US now known as California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. There are just as many racists on the side of illegal aliens as there are in the groups fighting them.

In the middle you have regular Americans who see illegal aliens with barely a high school education coming into our country and taking unskilled jobs as if Americans won't do them. Who did those jobs before? Robots? What Americans won't do is live in houses like dogs with 20 people sharing the same home. Americans cannot afford the wages paid to illegals because they pay taxes and they like to live ONE family to a home. Americans don't want Mexicans in their neighborhood living 20 people to a home. This is a stretch on the services for that neighborhood which expects a single family per home and now there are 20 people's waste going into the sewers and 20 people are using electricity and on and on.

Our government already has laws in place that says it is ILLEGAL to cross our borders without permission and enter this country. There is a reason we have immigration laws and that is the right of ANY country, including Mexico. Mexico has stricter immigration laws than the US. Why is it that the US gets criticized for trying to enforce their own immigration laws? How you distort this picture so. This is all regular Americans want and a LOT of us want that. A LOT of us are not extremists. A LOT of us are fed up having to press "1" for English. This looks a lot more like an invasion to us because "your people" refuse to assimilate and learn our language and abide by our laws.

The crime rate among illegal aliens is 2.5 times higher than it is for average Americans. So I think the fear that people have over unknown people flooding into our country is a very well-founded fear. Furthermore, lots of enemies of the US are taking advantage of the sieve of a border we have to the south and planting sleeper cells into our country. So stop trying to make this about discrimination or demonizing of illegals. The facts speak for themselves and the majority of Americans are waking up to this threat and getting active. And that is going to mean a LOT more Hazletons and Farmer's Branches and Escondidos that pass bans on hiring illegals. And then your precious illegals will
have to go home.

If our government passes Amnesty for the millions of illegal criminals who are here, there will be a second American Revolution. Believe it. That is my two cents to you Mr Rodriguez.


Angry American Citizen

There are many ways to expound one’s views. One of them is to amass facts, or just statements as if they were facts, and call that an argument. The root basis of the word “argue,” however, demands clarity, to demonstrate, from the word arg – “to shine, be white, bright, clear” (from Proof and evidence is important for this exchange. Mr. Angry American Citizen you make statements that cannot be supported by evidence. You say, “There are the Mexicans filled with hate and disdain for our country and our language and our culture and they just want to take for themselves and have no interest in assimilating into our culture. There are Mexicans who think we STOLE the southern states from them which is preposterous because we paid a hefty sum during the Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty for those parts of the US now known as California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. There are just as many racists on the side of illegal aliens as there are in the groups fighting them.”

Yes, I’m sure there are Mexicans who have hate and disdain and refuse to assimilate. But most Mexicans in this country (and I’ve lived with them all my life) do not. Yes, there are Mexicans who think the US stole land from Mexico, although this happens to be a historical fact – read about James Polk and the Mexico-US war. The US had no legal or moral basis to invade or take ANY land from Mexico. The Slaveocracy in the US was pushing for more land to spread cotton beyond the Southern states (remember “Manifest Destiny” – a racist doctrine if ever there was one). Texas was the first annexation (it later became a slave state). Mexico did not recognize the annexation – it didn’t have to, it was their land.

The US invasion from 1946 to 1948 led to13,000 US troops killed (most by yellow fever; about 1,700 died in combat). While some 25,000 Mexican troops were killed, more civilians were believed killed, although not counted. Mexico didn’t have the military power, funds, nor government (it was racked with deep divisions) to stop the invasion (this sounds like the US invasion of Iraq, a 12th rate military power, when “shock & awe” was initiated in early 2003). For example, the Mexican army had outdated British weapons from the Napoleonic wars; the US had the most advanced rifles manufactured at the time.

The Treaty of Guadalupe on February 2, 1848 gave the US undisputed control of Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming. That’s about 500,000 square miles. Mexico received US$18,250,000. This amounts to .02 cents a square mile (a rip off, even for those times). Sixty percent of Mexico’s resources were lost in that war; in fact, if Mexico had continued to maintain those resources, today it would be the world’s largest oil producer.

A month before the end of the war, Polk was criticized in a US House of Representatives amendment for “a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States.” I can go on and on – with such personages as Abraham Lincoln, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Thoreau opposing the war (that’s the basis for the money). This all, by the way, sounds so close to what’s happening today with the war in Iraq.

I wanted to start with that since you brought it up. Now let’s get back to immigration and Mexico. Mexicans have been coming here in large numbers since the 1910-1929 Mexican Revolution (and other rebellions during that time). I can get into the details of this struggle as well, but suffice it to say that it had became a genocide by the Mexican government (supported by US manufacturing and government interests) against indigenous people and the poor, who were the majority of the country. My father’s village was destroyed in Guerrero by federal troops while my great-grandmother and grandmother on my mother’s side had to leave their Raramuri native homeland in southern Chihuahua as refugees.

A million people were believed killed in that struggle; another million migrated to the US. Those people and their descendents built homes, railroads, roads, bridges, and picked our produce ever since. They have fought in every war, mostly heroically in the 20th and 21st centuries. During World War II, those of Mexican descent garnered more Medals of Honor than any other ethnic group. They learned English, worked hard, and by the 1960s (due to their heroic participation in Civil Rights for decades) entered colleges and universities in significant numbers.

However, Mexico continued to have massive economic and social crises. The PRI held power in Mexico for more than 70 years – one author called it “the perfect dictatorship.” In the 1960s and 1970s, opposition leaders were killed and jailed in the hundreds (part of Mexico’s “dirty war” that is still being talked about today). Yet, Mexicans in the US continued to work hard, to pay taxes (yes, they pay taxes), become citizens (which my father and mother did), and die in US wars.

However, during the great depression, a massive roundup of Mexicans led to around a million being deported, including US citizens to Mexico. Such repatriations happened in other times as well. Mexicans because of discrimination (do I have to document that as well – there’s enough evidence of this if you care to look into it) were still in the worse schools, worse housing, and worse jobs. During hard times, US government sponsored quest workers’ programs (often called Bracero programs) brought even more Mexicans.

In the social arena, Mexicans fought alongside African Americans, Native Americans, Women, and Whites for the rights of everyone, for peace, against poverty, and for social justice. Nobody gave anybody anything – everything was fought for, even bled for, some even died for this.

Now, after several waves of Mexican migration to the US, mostly because of declining economic situations in Mexico (the roots of which also involve US corporations, Mexican government corruption, and the North American Free Trade Act of 1994), there is another move to declare these people as the problem to our current economic and social ills. Again, more walls are being proposed to divide the two countries, cities are not allowing undocumented people to rent, work or shop in their communities (that’s discrimination pure and simple), and unfounded fears are drilled into our collective minds.

As the US faces its own economic crises (and the war drains more tax dollars as well as lives), Mexicans become the scapegoats again. What’s new?

Is it racist for me to demand a humane and meaningful immigration policy?

Extremists aside (we can agree they exist on all sides), this is about what’s just, imaginative, and fair. As for what Mexico does with its immigration policy, what does that have to do with what I'm saying – as you can see, I’m critical of Mexico’s government and economic policies as well. This is about people – not criminals, not parasites, not “illegals,” but real people with real needs.

The real suffering of Americans is not coming from Mexicans – the War in Iraq is draining around $10 billion a month. It’s already surpassed the cost of the Vietnam War. There are also large businesses willing to pay Mexicans hardly anything, and forcing some of them into hovels with 20 people (no, most Mexicans don't love to live like this). Target the corporations, making billions off their backs. They are the ones determining the pay and conditions of work. Americans should have these jobs (but they are not being sought, and most would not accept such conditions). The point is businesses who rely on cheap labor (in the US as well as places like Mexico, Honduras, Vietnam, and other places) won’t be fair and equitable. They are more than willing to keep Americans out of the turkey farms, produce farms, service jobs, and sweat shops to have Mexican and other cheap labor.

Don’t blame the Mexicans. Blame the system that has created these conditions that hurt US citizens as well as Mexicans without documents. We waste energy, relationships, our own sense of decency, as well as any progress, when we turn against each other.


I just read your article. Your logic is twisted and as I would expect you bring out the tired, old race card. I've lived in Las Vegas since 1979 and have met many fine Mexican people, polite, English speaking, hard working, generous and overall the ideal American citizen.

The fact is we cannot handle 3,000,000, THREE MILLION people entering the country illegally every year. It is a tragedy that will be America's undoing. I love this country and don't want it to be another Mexico. I greet people I meet with a smile no matter who they are but lately my smile is received with glares of hate from hispanics. This invasion and my stance to preserve my American way of life is making me hated by hordes of people that don't even belong here and their supporters.

I've have struggled greatly to get where I am, even dug graves with a pick and shovel in my younger years for next to no money. After a life time of effort, with the American dream almost within my grasp I am about to see it yanked out from under my feet.

Please stop with the racism ploy, nobody is buying anymore, it's been worn out from misuse. I love experiencing different cultures but I don't want them shoved down my throat.

I have NO idea how you can justify 30 million people with no identity being here, it's a plague of biblical proportions!

I’m sorry, but I didn’t bring in the “Race Card.” It showed up among the Minutemen who amassed on the border with signs attacking Mexicans and people speaking Spanish; in some cases, there was unfurling of Nazi flags. It came from radio and TV talk show hosts, and on internet sites (look it up – you’ll see what I mean). I agree – “race” as a concept is a waste of time, divisive, and totally ridiculous. But when it pops up, it has to be challenged. I don’t hate so-called Caucasions, nor do I believe in any superior race or nation. But that’s what’s coming down the pike. Because you seem to be in denial of this does not mean it’s doesn’t exist.

The fact you even decried 30 million people with “no identity” being in the US as a plague is indicative of your own misinformation. There are around 12 million undocumented people in the US, not 30 million. While most of them are from Mexico, many come from Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, the Mid- East, and even Europe (and don’t forget the Canadians who come and go pretty much as they please).

Where did the 30 million come from? Well it happens to be the number often given for how many people of Mexican descent are in this country. However, most of them have been here for generations, are US citizens, pay taxes, and even send their sons and daughters to war. Do you mean this is a plague? If so, this is racist.

The fact is Mexicans coming here do not make it another Mexico. They have been doing this for more than 150 years (and for tens of thousands of years as indigenous people). They contribute positively to US culture, economy, and life. As you say, most are fine, generous, hard-working and ideal citizens. So what if US culture changes because of them – that’s what US culture has always done. We wouldn’t have cowboy culture, lowrider cars, burritos, and salsa (it’s all part of US culture) if it weren’t for Mexicans (every group has contributed equally important aspects that we all enjoy in one form or another).

If we want to stop poor people (and that is who’s coming, not an invading army) from migrating to the US, we have to help end poverty in the world. Instead, we send out US products, US factories, McDonald’s, Wal-Marts, our “way of life,” and there a corresponding increase in poverty (yes, governments and business interests in the poor countries also contribute). And when things don’t work out our way, we send in the military. Listen, we are the number one military power in the world – this is something we should never use irresponsibly and only to help the world. In Iraq, for example, we’ve only created a holy mess.

There has to be a way for US people and the Mexican people to unite and cooperate to make things fair, peaceful, and equitable for everyone. The fears seem to be driving the humanity out of most people. I’m asking for us to be morally and humanely aware and active around this issues – why is this “racist”?


You are so slanted, it is hard to figure out how you don't slide out of bed at night! Get some brains, and start writing INFORMED articles and not racist ones!

What can I say – I’m not supposed to say when something’s “racist,” but people can call me racist all day long. What’s a racist? Someone who believes in a superior race. I don’t even believe in “race.” There are no biological or spiritual foundations for race. However, it does have a basis in history, power, economy, and competition. That is what’s driving the “race card” – poor people, of all colors, cultures, tongues, and cultures, competing for the decreasing number of jobs and other means of survival. Race comes in to divide the people at the bottom. It may affect people all the way to the top, but even the most powerful realize that “race” is really not important. President Bush is no friend of labor or poor people. However, he makes sure he has a Secretary of State who’s Black and an Attorney General who’s Mexican. They just have to be his stooges.

Mexicans are dealt with racism because we are mostly of indigenous heritage (not for being “Spanish,” or so-called Hispanics, since they’re mostly white). This, by the way, makes us a part of this land as much as anyone. Our ancestors have been here for tens of thousands of years. But with the present social climate, now the brown-skinned indigenous people are the “strangers” and “foreigners.” Today there are two million Mayan people from Mexico and Central America living and working in the United States. There are Mixtecos, Zapotecos, Huicholes, Yaquis, Purepechas, and Raramuris among the so-called “illegals.” Many of them speak their own indigenous tongues, not even Spanish. They are related to our beloved “Native Americans” (beloved except when they dare to have casinos, stand up for themselves, or try to break out of their reservations). Even those Mexicans (and most Central Americans) who don’t know their tribal names, languages, or traditions are mostly indigenous.

Now this fact doesn’t make Mexicans better than any one else, nor of a separate race. What this says is they have immense ancestral, historical, cultural, and spiritual ties to these lands.

This is why we have to revisit, re-vision, and re-imagine all our immigration laws and policies. That’s what I’m calling for – not a knee-jerk reaction to build walls (at a cost of billions of tax payers’ dollars), to jail people, split up families, or to exclude them.

What’s racist about that?


How generous are you going to be with the United States of American when the freedom-hating Muslims start taking over? Then you'll understand how the Patiotic American Citizens (white, brown, black, etc...) feel NOW with the invasion and takeover by Mexico, NOT MEXICANS, BUT MEXICO!!!! There's a difference. If you can't understand the difference, you don't deserve to be in the United States of America!!

Muslims taking over? Mexico invading the US? What world are you in, my friend? Muslims are not a threat to the US. They make up a large, responsible, and totally valid faith system. You seem to be linking a whole people to the acts of a very few. That’s patriotic – to lose your mind! These are very important issues that will require some serious information, outreach, ideas, and resolutions. Hysteria just puts you outside the key debates.

Since I understand the difference between sane reactions and insane ones, I’ll stay in this country, thank you.

It’s interesting that these responses seem to peg me as an outsider. I’m born and raised in the United States. I am a renowned writer, organizer, business person, homeowner, family man, and law-abiding person. I also travel extensively and can see many of these issues from a long lens as well as a close one. This should not be at issue. However, I do have ideas that are not just falling in line. I do challenge myself and others to look deeper into the pressing concerns in all our lives. While I welcome any response, including the inane ones, I still challenge all of us to a higher level of dialogue, sharing, and solutions. Simple conclusions to complicated realities will not suffice. Look where it has already taken us.

Somebody mentioned another American revolution. Fine, let’s talk about the imaginative and real parameters of such a prospect, one that truly brings equitable, cooperative, and abundant change in this country, and the world. A real revolution – not just a fight.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.