Ask a Mexican on the Long, Painful Wait for Immigration Reform

A very close friend of mine is supposed to become a U.S. citizen. He was brought here by his parents when he was 9 and has been illegal since then. When the laws changed, he went through a lot of hoops and it really didn't look good for a long while — especially since he was 30 already by the time the law was truly enacted. But somehow, through petitions and an appeal, he somehow has been told he will become a U.S. citizen. That being said, he is still waiting for the day, still working in a dodgy manner, still not driving — his American wife always drives. There's a pallor of emasculation about not being a citizen. He feels second-rate — something I know not because he tells us, but because his wife and I are very close. He takes out his anger and resentment on his wife and marriage and it's caused immense stress. Are there counselors specifically for people who are dealing with the elongation and difficulty of becoming legal? Is that a strange question? I love this guy so much — he's such a close friend to our family. I've never met a harder worker, a more curious soul. This scenario while common, is so unfair it breaks my heart that he has to experience this and has for really years. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.

Good Gabacha Friend

There are many support networks for undocumented folks, whether the younger DREAMer or people who just missed the cutoff point for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama administration memorandum that effectively put millions of people like your friend in a waiting game. And now with Obummer stating there's no chance of any immigration reform until after the November elections, your friend and so many others will continue to wait in frustration—but tell your amigo he should feel no shame, and to keep the faith. Then again, who am I to say anything? The Mexican was born in this country — it was my papi who came in the trunk of a Chevy — so maybe my privilege makes me wear rose-colored mad-doggers. So have him check out, where my former producer, renowned artist Julio Salgado, and others tackle on the problem of what it means to grow up in this country without papers and a government de puros pendejos.

So I went to New York the other day, and we went to this neighborhood that was Dominican. I didn't know what that meant, but it just looked like a normal black neighborhood. Then I notice they were all speaking Mexican. Is a Dominican just a fancy word for a black Mexican? Why are they so good at baseball?

Confused in Utah

This is ¡Ask a Mexican!, not ¡Ask a Tíguere!, so I really can't help you much here. The only facts I can offer are that a 2008 City University of New York study projected Mexicans to eclipse Dominicans as the largest immigrant group in la Gran Manzana in the next decade, meaning there'll be a whole new group of Latinos to hate us soon. Oh, and that our mujeres LOVE bachata, the twang Dominican music form that's the only genre in the world certified by God as an automatic choni dropper.

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano