Category Archives: immigration
(To read PART I, go HERE.)
Te Encontraré – PART II
~Sin papeles, pero con amor~
Sitting in my little blue Chevrolet on that mild August night, Carlos decided to trust me with a secret. At the end of that first day together, having spent every last dollar of his paycheck on me, he seemed reluctant to get out of the car and say goodnight.
“Tengo que decirte algo,” he said suddenly.
I looked at him, waited for him to say more.
He clasped and unclasped his hands. He looked at his lap, looked back at me.
“Estoy sin papeles.”
Without papers? What papers? What in the world did that mean?
It may seem impossible that I should be so naive, that I didn’t know, but that goes to show how very different our lives were. Earlier that year I read T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain – felt compassion for the immigrant in the story, and then promptly forgot all about it upon returning it to the library. Carlos did not have the luxury of reading such a story and then forgetting about it – he was living it.
I needed more of an explanation to fully understand what it meant to be “illegal”, (today’s preferred term, “undocumented”, wasn’t used as much back then.)
How was it that a stamp inside a little paper booklet to cross an invisible man-made line could matter that much? He explained in more detail what his situation meant for him and how he had come to be “without papers”, then he said,
“Do you still want to see me?”
His eyes, the color of wet earth, searched mine, as if seeking the answer before I spoke it.
“Yes…it’s okay,” I said. Knowing this about him didn’t change my feelings – If anything, I liked him a little more for his honesty and for trusting me.
“It’s okay?” he said in disbelief.
“Yes, it’s okay,” I smiled.
“Okay,” he smiled back, sighing, an obvious weight lifted.
We kissed goodnight and he climbed the stairs to his brother’s apartment. I sat in the darkness, watched the moths flutter in and out of the beam of my headlights, free to go wherever they wished.
“Borders are scratched across the hearts of men, by strangers with a calm, judicial pen, and when the borders bleed we watch with dread the lines of ink along the map turn red.” – Marya Mannes
Go Read: PART III
American flags are out in full force this weekend – And thanks to Hurricane Earl passing off the coast, the red, white and blue, snapped proudly in the wind.
While I was taking photos, I noticed the juxtaposition of this flag and a sign that made me smile.
Okay, maybe I’m easily amused, but the way “NACHOS” is written up there, as if there is nothing more American than that, it made me happy.
Actually, if you’re interested to know, nachos have a good story behind them.
From Wikipedia: Nachos originated in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, at a restaurant called the Victory Club, owned by Rodolfo De Los Santos. One day in 1943, the wives of ten to twelve U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip, and arrived at the restaurant after it had closed for the day. The maître d’, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, invented a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, added longhorn cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, and added sliced jalapeño peppers. He served the dish, calling it Nacho’s especiales – meaning something like “Nacho’s special dish” in Spanish.
Anaya went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses the original recipe. He also opened his own restaurant, “Nacho’s Restaurant”, in Piedras Negras. Anaya’s original recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook.
The popularity of the dish swiftly spread throughout Texas. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1949, from the book A Taste of Texas. Waitress Carmen Rocha is credited with introducing the dish to Los Angeles at El Cholo Mexican restaurant in 1959.
So there you have it. Nachos may not have been invented without some hungry gringas and an ingenious Mexican. You see, gente? This is what can happen when we all try to get along.
(Warning: Video is not politically correct and contains adult language. Don’t watch if you can’t take a joke.)
As a result of the recent Draconian law, SB-1070, passed in Arizona which legalizes racial profiling, there has been a lot of buzz about boycotting the state. But just how does one boycott the state of Arizona?
According to netstate.com, “Arizona’s agricultural output is pretty evenly distributed between crops and livestock. About 47% of Arizona’s agricultural production is in livestock. The other 53% is in crops. In terms of revenue generated, Arizona’s top five agricultural products are cattle and calves, lettuce, dairy products, cotton, and hay.”
These aren’t exactly easy products to boycott since labels don’t always tell us the origin, for example, if I buy a T-shirt, there is no way for me to know where the cotton used to make it originated from.
Arizona also manufactures things such as electronic equipment, but again, which ones?
When trying to think up companies from Arizona, most Americans will come up immediately with Arizona Beverages, the makers of Arizona Iced Tea – but they would be wrong. Fearing this wrong assumption, the New York based company has even put a message up on their website.
There are a lot of famous companies that really are headquartered in Arizona though, such as Fender, P.F. Chang’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Best Western, PetSmart and U-Haul – but it doesn’t make sense to boycott these name brands either since this will hurt more than Arizona. It will hurt the company owners, who may not even be in favor of the new law, and because these companies have locations across the country, it will hurt all their other employees and their families who are already struggling in this economy.
So how can you boycott Arizona?
The most popular method being encouraged is to simply not go there, as “The Grand Canyon” state relies heavily on tourism.
Another method now being circulated targets Arizona’s baseball team, The Diamondbacks. The best reasoning for this particular approach is because the owners of the team are reportedly major donors to the Republicans responsible for the law. Other bonuses include the fact that more than 27% of Major League Baseball players are Latino which has helped to generate a huge Latino fan base. Losing Latinos at their games will be a major financial loss. A protest outside Wrigley Field in Chicago where the Diamondbacks are set to play the Cubs, is already being organized.
Meanwhile, Arizona Governor, Janet Brewer has decided to stick her head in the sand and hope for the best. Her recent statement, “I believe it’s not going to have the kind of economic impact that some people think that it might,” shows a shocking amount of ignorance at very recent history in her own state. In 2008 Arizona cracked down on businesses that were found to have hired undocumented immigrants and their economy suffered as a direct result.
(Video from 2008)
Some businesses have already noticed a decline in customers.
Hector Manrique the owner of Taqueria Guadalajara in Phoenix said, “The streets just went empty. Usually on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’re packed. But this weekend was empty like I’d never seen it before… A lot of people told me they’re afraid to go out…”
And with good reason. The first American Citizen has already been mistakenly arrested, handcuffed, transported by van and detained. Abdon, who did not want to give his surname, was released after his wife arrived with his birth certificate at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Phoenix where he was being detained.
I just received this E-mail from Gabe Gonzalez at Immigration For America:
This week, we’ve seen all too clearly what we’re up against. A law sitting on the governor’s desk in Arizona would make police stop anyone they “suspect of being undocumented.” More than that, it gives citizens the right to sue the police if they’re not stopping enough people.
If the governor signs this law, in Arizona you could be detained, legally, just for looking as though you could be an immigrant – in other words, for no reason at all. It’s racial profiling, and it encapsulates the hatred we’re fighting.
This is an “All hands on deck” moment for our movement! Arizona has shown that we cannot wait to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and that’s why we’re holding an emergency strategy call with one of our strongest allies, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, on Thursday, April 22, at 7:15 pm (Spanish language) and at 8:00 pm Eastern (English language), to brief you on the plan going forward into the marches in May.
Congressman Gutierrez will speak about the struggles we’ve faced, and what we can all do to make sure comprehensive immigration reform becomes the law. Congressman Gutierrez knows that we can’t wait any longer to fix our broken system, and he’ll tell us about the ways we’ll win this battle by standing together. I hope you can join him for this critical moment in time.
I have participated in one of these calls before and if this issue is important to you, I encourage you to sign up to participate in this one. It is really easy: Just go to the link below, sign up, and then on the day and time of the conference call, they will call you. You don’t have to do anything. Your phone will ring, you answer it, and then you will automatically be connected so just listen in. That’s all there is to it, so don’t feel at all intimidated.
What’s going on in Arizona is not the type of immigration reform this country needs. The soon-to-be Arizona law, which passed the state House last week and is expected to be signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), states that police can arrest anyone on “reasonable suspicion” that they are an illegal immigrant.
This is flat out racial profiling and it’s wrong. So, what if my family decided to go to the Grand Canyon this summer, (which we sure as hell won’t. I’m not stepping foot in Arizona as long as these sorts of laws are being enforced), and let’s say my husband was just walking around like any other tourist. Just based on his skin color, accent and lack of “proof” to the contrary, they could arrest him because they suspect he’s an illegal immigrant? (He’s a U.S. Citizen by the way.) … How can that be allowed to happen anywhere in the United States? If a legal resident or U.S. Citizen is in fact arrested or detained due to this new law, I hope they sue their pantalones off.
Part of me hopes that immigrants, (both documented and undocumented as they both must now survive in a constant state of paranoia), living in Arizona will simply leave the state and move elsewhere. Maybe Arizona thinks that is what they want, but they will soon realize they have shot themselves in the foot as various industries begin to collapse.
A similar law was passed a few years ago in Prince William County, Virginia. A timely documentary called “9500 Liberty” is on limited release right now. Some time soon it is supposed to premiere on cable television and will also be released on DVD. (In the meantime, watch the trailer below.)
Last week I got an unexpected invitation to an event in Miami which will be at the end of May. I never in a million years thought that my husband would let me go, but I mentioned it to him anyway. He gave me the expected answer of “No y no!” … It’s funny how I feel unappreciated here at home sometimes, yet when there’s any possibility of me going away for a day or two, the family acts as if the entire household would collapse in my absence.
After a day or two my husband couldn’t take any more of my quiet disappointment and he relented. He said I can go! For those of you with machos protectivos, tú sabes que esto es un BIG DEAL.
So I went from deep disappointment to absolute joy within minutes, but it didn’t take long for the anxiety to set in. Now I was SCARED. Why would I be scared to go? There are many reasons. For a shy person, taking this trip is stepping out of my comfort zone in a million ways.
So, that’s how I had been feeling over the weekend. SCARED. Excited, but scared.
Well, yesterday I went to Mass and the homily that the Padre gave was about “miedo” (fear). He said some rather inspiring things. The one quote I latched on to was “Viva tu vida sin miedo.” (Live your life without fear). The “Viva tu vida” is rather catchy in Spanish.
Of course, I can’t even have a religious experience without interruption. The Padre turns to the congregation and says, after a dramatic pause, ¿De qué tienes miedo tú? (Of what are YOU afraid of?)
There was silence as people pondered the question… and then, from the back of the church, a man’s voice with a very strong Mexican accent replies to the rhetorical question…
There was quite a bit of laughter and it took awhile for it to die down so the Padre could go on with the message but the Padre seemed to have a sense of humor about it.
The Teabaggers are complete imbeciles. I would laugh at them but it’s just depressing.
First of all, boycotting Mexico will just harm their economy, causing there to be even less jobs available, which will send more undocumented immigrants over the border in search of work. That seems rather counter productive. Second, yes, please, respect our country – Speak English.
The past couple days I have been visiting websites talking about the immigration march I went to in D.C. on Sunday. Some of the blogs I’ve come across are run by ignorant, xenophobic racists.
One of the worst websites I came across was Youth for Western Civilization. After reading William L. Houston’s extremely biased and vile “report” of the immigration march, I was filled with so much sadness for the ignorance that fills his young head.
I tried to comment multiple times. I presented intelligent arguments, and for this, my comments were deleted. I suppose those who run the website are too cowardly and ignorant to respond to factual truth. Meanwhile, they eagerly publish racist ranting comments which are written by people who obviously do not know how to turn off the CAPS lock.
Well, I will not be silenced. So William, and all the rest of you – I’m calling you out on my own blog and you can not delete me here. I will have my say, (even if it is just throwing pearls to swine.) And because you tried to shut me up, I will yell it even louder.
You went to the march/rally with the sole intent of finding “evidence” to jibe with your own misguided beliefs. You took photos of people waving non-U.S. flags just so you could call them unpatriotic. You and I both know, those people were in the minority and that the vast majority of the 200,000+ people proudly waved AMERICAN flags… Besides, even if people showed pride in their roots, how is it wrong? Is it any different than the Republicans who wave Israeli flags, (or worse, Confederate flags), or Caucasians who wear “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” T-shirts?
Second, those with Che Guevara shirts and things of that nature were also few in numbers. I saw ONE person and I was there for several hours. You must have really gotten a lot of exercise walking through the crowd and searching these people out.
In any crowd and at any event, at any gathering of any race or political party, you are going to find people with a different agenda. This rally was full of peaceful, hopeful people and you know it.
You say, “This wasn’t a spontatneous [sic] outburst of American patriotism like you see at the Tea Parties. Rather, it was tens of thousands of people waving small American flags (which the organizers provided them with) … because they want something in return, namely, American citizenship and access to taxpayer subsidized public services.”
You also say, “Some Latino demonstraters [sic] had bigoted, anti- European signs. There were signs at the rally which claimed that North America is a “Bronze Continent” that belongs to Indians and Latinos. There were others which claimed that Europeans were illegal immigrants.”
You are railing against the Latinos at the rally for being bigoted which is the epitome of irony. You also praise Teabaggers for their patriotism. Do I even have to explain how ridiculous that is? So, Latinos are bigots in your mind for suggesting a historically true fact, (that North America was stolen from the Indigenous people), yet Teabaggers, who are absolutely vile racists who most recently shouted “N*gg*r” and spit on a Black Congressman, are cool with you? … You are so far down the wrong path that even a top-of-the-line GPS couldn’t help you find your way back to reality.
Lastly, about that video you shot of people unintentionally walking over a little U.S. flag on the ground… You say:
“As we were leaving, we noticed Latino demonstrators walking over a discarded American flag on the sidewalk. We shot some video of those patriotic Americans which we will share on YouTube.”
Did you ever consider that perhaps the little flag slipped out of someone’s hand, (perhaps a child’s), accidentally, and it was totally unbeknownst to the person who dropped it? The people who are walking over it are not stomping on it, they simply fail to notice it is there. How does that make them unpatriotic? … You, on the other hand, saw your beloved flag on the ground being trampled. Not only did you leave it there, but you watched, and you took the time to video tape it. What does that make you?