Ask a Mexican on Coming to America Legally

Why don't Mexicans get green cards and come into the United States legally? After talking to people who have, the process is not hard and only takes a maximum of three years. By coming in illegally, they are taking the jobs from legal Mexican citizens and taking advantage of the U.S. social welfare systems. This causes increased taxes, not to mention the increased costs of all types of insurance. These costs are forced onto all legal citizens, including Mexicans. Do the Mexicans that cross the border illegally have any respect for people or their own culture?

Shane the Shooter

Who says Mexicans don't come here legally? The Pew Hispanic Center shows that nearly half of the 11.4 million Mexican immigrants in el Norte are legal, with about un terced of that half permanent residents and the remainder 16 percent . . . that's a lot of Mexicans with green cards! But factor in all the other immigrants wanting to get their micas, and the pie-en-el-cielo scenario you paint of folks going through the process within three years is as laughable as Mitt Romney reconsidering a presidential run. I know people whose green-card applications have been held up for over a decade because of the backlog of cases. And like I've said many times in this columna and elsewhere, no one's going to wait for a superfluous piece of paper when you're starving and salvation is just a couple of thousand miles, a bus ride, and some evil human smugglers away. As for the rest of your babble? Babadas.

What's up with the scorpion symbol? I've seen it on the rear window of many a lowrider truck and I'm baffled by what it means. One of my pocho friends says it has something to do with drug smuggling. Is that true?

Gabacho de Albuquerque

I seriously doubt the truck where you saw a scorpion on was of the lowrider genre — those are driven by Chicanos who usually leave their windows clean so that everyone can see the car club trophy on the back of their seat. What you saw was a truck or a giant SUV driven by a paisa — a Mexican term for a hillbilly. And more likely than not, that paisa is from the state of Durango, where the alacrán is a symbol of pride given its desert, mountainous landscape. That said, narcos have appropriated the scorpion for the obvious, menacing reason, just like they've done the same to Tweety Bird and Santa Muerte — but to say everyone who puts those stickers on the back of their trucks is a drug dealer is like saying everyone who wears pointy boots is a pendejo. Oh, wait . . .

Buy this book!: Just out from the University of Arizona Press: Our Sacred Maiz Is Our Mother: Indigenity and Belonging in the Americas by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, professor of Mexican American and Raza Studies at the University of Arizona. It's an awesome treatise on the importance of corn in the Americas, combining history with ethnography, cultural studies, and a bunch of desmadre. Buy, buy, compra!

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano