Ask a Mexican on the Prison Problem and Mexican Pantry Staples

With the current state and federal prison system spitting out even harder criminals due to overcrowding and gang activity allowed to a certain degree by the "system," while considering the small percentage of inmates who actually make it out and live a positive life, why are some legislators, government officials, American citizens on public record stating that illegal immigration can be fixed by merely charging illegals money for first-time offenses and prison time for repeat offenders? Our prison system, I think, would create more criminally minded individuals . . . and, if not, expose immigrants looking for a better opportunity in life to the savage nature of living found behind bars. I don't know if there will ever be a law passed that would provide such punishment to those crossing the border, but with this ever-so-growing Middle East War using up a very high percentage of the United States resources that could be used for domestic issues and purpose, I feel that if the citizens of the United States ever vote in the "wrong" presidential candidate, our new president will be pressured to pass a law to something of that effect . . . which would only lead to immigrants of all nationalities having an even more negative stigma. We can sit here and discuss facts, and charts and percentages of those who are in prison and if there are more white people in jail compared to Mexicans blah blah blah . . . but what do we have to do in order to avoid such a scenario from occurring, with the fact that the signs of the times are pointing in that direction?
Worried for Wabs

Methinks you had a bit too much of the pruno before typing this letter, but I follow you. You're saying that it's wrong for politicians to enact draconian laws that imprison undocumented folks, and that we should elect a president who wouldn't support such measures. Problem is, American voters went for the "right" presidential choice with Barack Obama these past two elections, and look at the results: More deportations have occurred under his administration (about 400,000 people a year) than there ever were in the era of Dubya (who, for his many, many faults and sins, at least had the right ideas about Mexis, given his sister-in-law is one). Mitt Romney, of course, was a far worse choice, what with him stealing the satiric idea of legendary cartoonista Lalo Alcaraz that illegal immigrants "self-deport" — but Obama is bad, and the escalating protests against him by the Left (witness the seven DREAMers last week who chained themselves to the White House fence) are not only a welcome development, but absolutely vital.

Do Mexicans use cream of mushroom soup or is that a gringo/Campbell's ploy to get white people to eat Mexican food? I grew up with parents from Kansas and we lived in New Mexico in the late 1960s and early '70s. Being from the casserole generation, cream of mushroom soup was a staple of all casseroles, and my mom did not have the love for true green chile. The family chicken enchilada recipe called for cream of mushroom soup and Velveeta cheese. I loved it growing up, but now that I am older and beyond nostalgia, the enchiladas taste like shit, so I am working up and working on a new family recipe. This process of formulating a new recipe has me wondering if cream of mushroom soup is at all used by those of Hispanic descent or just a post-Depression white person's abomination?
One Royal Vomit

Don't forget that a lot of Mexicans came of age in the same era as you, so while cream of mushroom isn't exactly a Mexican pantry staple like, say, Tapatío, it's not unheard-of. Mexican food is chameleonic, and adapts to what's available, ensuring its brilliance. For instance? My mami's magnificent buñuelos, giant fried disks of cinnamon-sugar goodness, are made not with flour tortillas or even masa but . . . rice paper that chinitos use for their spring rolls. Somewhere, Rick Bayless se cago his pants . . . and that's a good thing!

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano