the illegal immigrant debate is one we hear about and scuffle over quite passionately here in texas. this isn’t just a debate that the politicians argue over on the television; no, this is a question that the lady behind you in line at the tom thumb is likely to ask while you’re waiting to check out. i suppose it’s most likely ‘cause this is a debate that is near and dear to the heart of tejas – and her border with mexico.
frankly, i’m tired of the whole mess. i know that the operative word in illegal immigration is illegal. i also know that i live under a government that can't safely and effectively evacuate it's own citizens during a major thunderstorm, much less figure out how to safely and effectively evacuate a few million people it can't even locate. and iffin’ you think illegal immigrants are easy to spot, i’ve got proof that they aren’t. i’ve witnessed a whole mess of police who drive by bands of day laborers every day over on cooper street and they don't stop or nuthin. of course, maybe they’ve already checked those boys’ credentials.
i still maintain that instead of a great big wall across the texico border, we should just build a big ol’ walmart. that way, the mexicans could just work there for american wages and all the texans could shop and visit with them during the day, and then the workers can just go back home to mexico after an honest days work. it sounds like a win-win to me. but, when i offerd this proposal to an anglo friend of mine, she scolded me. "you know what your problem is, micki? when you think of illegals you just think of the sweet little ol' grandma selling tamales on the street corner. you aren't thinkin' about the drunken criminals who whore themselves and suck up our tax dollars." i had to admit that she had a point.
c’mon, i’m a native texan. i’ve grown up with lots of mexicans as both friends and as family members ... some probably a tad more legal than others, truth be told. very few of them were drunkards, and i don’t know of a one that was a whore. hey let’s face it; i’ve also grown up surrounded by a deep and abiding ambivalence towards the issue. in fact, i would venture to say it wasn’t until after 9/11 that people around these parts started to seriously argue the issue – this, once we were reminded that illegal immigrants aren’t always mexicans.
but heck, how are we baffled anglos supposed to solve this commotion? there’s isn’t even a cohesive argument within the hispanic community. a dear friend of mine -- who is, for the record, a legal immigrant -- recently told me that there is quite a bit of tension between “legals” and “illegals” because those who pay to be here feel that those who don’t give them a bad name, while those who are here illegally feel entitled to feelings of camaraderie that sometimes just aren’t there. confused enough yet?
i hafta admit that i’m even more confused and disheartened by the issue now that i’m catholic. i recently visited a catholic church that was made up of mostly non-english speaking immigrants. i would be a liar iffin i didn’t admit that as i scanned the faces of these catholic brothers and sisters i wondered how many were illegals. and then i wondered, who would jesus deport? especially considering that several may even share his name.