Verolution

"In response to your recent CNN articles, I am 100% against everything you stand for…I don’t respect illegals, and I certainly want our president, weak as he may be, to continue to deport each and every illegal and every child of every illegal. Drivers licenses and tuition for illegals?!…You’re in MY country. Adapt. If you want respect, adapt to OUR ways…" - Lawrence F.

I’m always amazed when I see comments like these. People are pretty worked up over the growth of the Latino community and the role that immigration played in fueling it. Many of them can talk your ear off about that. And yet, not many of them seem to know any flesh-and-blood Latinos. If they did, they would know how ridiculous it is to treat U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants as if they are one and the same. Besides, they seem to put a lot of stock in what it means to be an American. So shouldn’t they be able to recognize Americans when they see them?

There is some good news, though. Some readers figured out the difference between U.S Latino citizens and illegal immigrants and tried to explain it to others:

"Just for the record, not every Latino in America is illegal. Please stop combining us with the minority that came here illegally. I’m sick of being told off for ‘being illegal’ just because I’m Hispanic. My family has been here since the 1600s thank you very much. Longer than most people’s families that tell me to ‘go back to Mexico.’ Ironic isn’t it?" - Iblink

Ah, yes. Go back to Mexico. In the 20 years that I’ve written about immigration, I’ve been told that hundreds of times. I don’t suppose it has anything to do with being Mexican-American?

Apparently, I’m not the only one hearing it. Someone has even taken the experience and put it to music. The result is a profound and provocative song called “Somos Mas Americanos" from one of my favorite Mexican bands, Los Tigres del Norte. It goes like this:

"They have shouted at me a thousand times that I should go back to my country…Because there’s no room for me here…

I want to remind the gringos: I didn’t cross the border, the border crossed me…

And they can call me “invader.” That’s a very frequent mistake…

If we take into account centuries…even if it bothers our neighbors …We are more American.. Than all of the gringos…”

Noting that “America” is actually made up of three continents and not just one, the lyrics declare that — in reality — Mexicans have been “Americans” longer than the descendants of European immigrants. In that sense, Mexican immigrants to the United States are more American than the folks trying to keep them out.

So there. If that sounds harsh, then so be it. A song like this is born of anger, frustration and righteous indignation. Imagine being treated like a second-class citizen on your own home turf.

It does get tiresome. I was born in the United States. The same goes for my parents, three grandparents, and half of my great-grandparents. And I’m supposed to “go back to Mexico”?

What? You mean on vacation? Great idea. Puerto Vallarta is lovely this time of year