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Thu12032020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

In 2013, there were approximately 267,000 undocumented LGBT immigrants in the United States, according to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

We were unable to find more-recent data on this community—and were also unable to determine the number of LGBTQ detainees held currently in the 211 detention centers operating in the United States, privately owned or under the aegis of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, there is anecdotal evidence that sizeable numbers undocumented LGBT immigrants are, in fact, being held in abusive conditions throughout our country.

This reality first caught the attention of Ubaldo Boido and his partner, Craig Scott, when they were living comfortably in Los Angeles with their dog, Twink. They moved to Palm Springs in September of last year.

“We got involved with the Los Angeles chapter of Democratic Socialists of America,” Boido said during a recent phone interview. “They have an immigration-justice committee that wanted to go down to Tijuana to visit shelters because of the immigrant caravans at that time. So, I went along, (and while there), we visited an LGBTQ shelter I’d heard about in Tijuana. That’s when we realized that this was something that really hit close to home for us. This was our LGBTQ community coming to this border-crossing point seeking refuge from persecution. We met Jamaican women, people from Honduras and someone from Brazil. We listened to these horror stories about the violence that people go through in other countries just for being queer. It was something that lit a fire in both of us, and we said, ‘How can we help? We’ve got to help.’ So we did that for a year, and then we moved here and decided to continue doing the same work.”

So it was that Desert Support for Asylum Seekers (DSFAS) came to be.

“We wanted to help people understand the process (of seeking asylum) so that they could then figure out ways to support (these undocumented immigrants),” Boido said. “We discovered there was an immigration detention facility in Calexico (the Imperial Regional Detention Center), and we decided we would begin by supporting people there. Now that’s what Desert Support for Asylum Seekers does. It’s about pen pals, visitation coordination and then helping people when they get released with transportation, shelter and food. We’ve enrolled several people at College of the Desert for ESL (English as a second language) classes, and kind of helped them get acclimated to the community here.”

Other, more-established nonprofits like the TODEC Legal Center provide important assistance in our region, while DSFAS has focused attention on other real-world assistance. However, it didn’t take long for Boido and Scott to realize this challenge required more attention and outreach than just the two of them could manage.

“We wanted to create this volunteer group,” Boido said. “Let’s be honest: Most people are interested in helping children in these circumstances. Now, that’s not a bad thing, and I’m not suggesting it is. I’m simply saying that children light a fire under straight people. … But for us, it’s always been about this LGBTQ thing—but we didn’t want to limit (the reach) of DSFAS, because we wanted to see how big of a volunteer group we could create. Since then, the group has really championed people from all walks of life, and we love that. Still, Craig’s and my calling has been about helping LGBTQ migrants.”

Once volunteers began joining in, DSFAS started to fulfill its core missions more demonstrably.

“My partner, Craig, went down to Calexico with a group,” Boido said. “They scheduled a visitation, met several of the detainees there and started a pen-pal visitation coordinator group. Our name started to spread like wildfire (within the detention center), and word of our efforts spread. We started to get lots of pen pals, and we got a lot of people reaching out and asking how they could support us. So right now, we have a list of about 60 to 80 volunteers who are actively writing letters to people in Imperial Regional.”

Still, the most-challenging support scenarios had yet to surface.

“The detention center was dropping people at the downtown Calexico Greyhound station,” Boido said. “Even after the station was closed, (Border Patrol was) leaving them to fend for themselves. So we started this coordinator group to pick up people and get them on a bus, or get them here to Palm Springs where we could get them on a flight.

“One night, we got a call about a guy from Honduras who was gay and had just won the status called ‘withholding of removal.’ But he didn’t have anywhere to go to live. They asked us if we would be willing to house him, and we agreed to let him stay on our couch for a while. It was supposed to be for two weeks, but he stayed for almost seven months. It was both a challenging and an amazing experience. Since then, he’s moved to Los Angeles, gotten his work papers and has started his life. That experience changed our whole perspective. The truth is, when you’re LGBTQ, you come here with nobody, and you’re (often) actually fleeing your family, because they’re usually the ones persecuting you and helping the police come after you.”

Boido and Scott have realized they need to obtain a bigger home where they can house LGBTQ immigrants in need of assistance.

“Since the guy from Honduras, we’ve housed a transgender woman from Russia who moved to New York City, and another person who is still living in the Palm Springs area,” Boido said. “So this migrant home we want to create, that we call The House, is a safe space for our queer family coming from all over the world. We want to focus the energies that we’ve generated through DSFAS and create a little niche for the LGBTQ folks who we love and want to support on their journeys.

“We decided to launch this (GoFundMe) campaign. … We’ve had offers for homes, and we just want to push forward to raise more funds and create this space. Ideally, we’re interested in making it a safe house so that people can come, short-term or long-term, and have a place while they go through their immigration process. We’re just really excited about it.”

As the first year of DSFAS’ work draws to a close, how are the founders coping with the demands of dealing with the U.S. government while trying to help victims of persecution start new and happier lives?

“Being honest,” Boido said, “this is hard work, and it’s emotionally draining. There are days when I ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ It’s not like there’s a huge payoff, and we’re getting a big check. But watching that transgender woman come here and seeing her try on a dress and wear makeup for the first time, and really own her transwoman self, it changes you. It really changes you—and I can’t go back. I can’t un-see how we helped somebody, and how we’ve listened to the stories of where they’ve come from and what they’ve been through.

“The GoFundMe campaign is about getting a bigger house, so that we can house more people,” Boido said. “And, hopefully, from there, we can form into a nonprofit officially. But the urgency is now. What we’ve noticed is that, yes, we can house somebody, but for that one person, there are 40 or 100 more still imprisoned in a horrible, horrible place. They’re treated like criminals, stripped of their belongings, and they have to wear a blue jumpsuit all the time. They eat rotten food. You can’t believe the horror stories that we’ve heard. They are unimaginable. You wouldn’t believe that this is what the ‘land of the free’ is doing to people who are trying to get here.”

For more information on Desert Support for Asylum Seekers, visit www.facebook.com/DSforAsylumSeekers. For more information on the GoFundMe campaign for The House, visit www.gofundme.com/f/247ckfculc.

Published in Local Issues

It’s often said that you can’t prove a negative. However, that’s not accurate: Mathematically, you generally can.

It is accurate, however that you can’t disprove a conspiracy theory to a conspiracy theorist. This is something I have learned, painfully, over the years during many squabbles with them.

For example, there was the guy who wanted me, while I was the editor of the Tucson Weekly, to expose how Sept. 11 was an inside job. The key piece of evidence, he said, was the fact that the World Trade Center 7 building collapsed, despite not being directly hit by a plane. So I sent him some articles, including one from Popular Mechanics, thoroughly explaining why WTC 7 collapsed.

“Well, that stuff is obviously faked,” he said.

Then there are the chemtrails people—folks who insist that the government, or maybe it’s China, who knows, but SOMEBODY is spraying us with stuff from high-flying planes to … uh, control our minds, or change the weather, or sterilize people, or something.

How do they know? You can see the trails these planes leave in the sky, man!

What other evidence do they have? None.

Of course, now the conspiracy theories are coming out around COVID-19. The most recent one comes compliments of an anti-vaxer who is claiming that all of this illness has to do with a bad flu vaccine from several years ago. Really.

So … yeah.

I would try to explain here how that conclusion is, well … unlikely. For starters, a whole lot of people with better credentials say that that’s not what caused COVID-19. But, I won’t bother.

Why? Because if you believe in a conspiracy theory, there’s nothing I can say or do to convince you otherwise.

Today’s links:

• Yesterday’s bonkers Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting—at which supes were deciding to, and I am paraphrasing here, emphasize the “interests” of the business community over the advice of the county health officer—ended with a whole lot of nothing: The board voted 5-0 to decide things at an emergency Friday meeting instead.

• Breaking news: The county has further loosened the rules on pools at apartment complexes and in HOA-managed areas. Get the details here.

• So the president now says he won’t disband his coronavirus task force around the end of the month. Why did he change his mind? According to The New York Times, Trump said: “I thought we could wind it down sooner. But I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday, when I started talking about winding it down. I get calls from very respected people saying, ‘I think it would be better to keep it going. It’s done such a good job.’” So, uh, there ya go.

• Meanwhile, in Arizona—a state that, I will remind you, shares a border with us—the governor’s office is shutting up a team of professors at Arizona State and the University of Arizona that had been doing COVID-19 modeling. Turns out their models said reopening now—which the state is doing—was a bad idea. This move by Gov. Doug Ducey is, in a word, despicable.

Why have meat-processing facilities been such hotbeds for the spread of the coronavirus? The Conversation explains.

• OH, COME ON. REALLY?! This CNBC piece says that the damn virus will lead to millions of new tuberculosis cases, and will “set back global efforts to fight TB by at least five years, and possibly up to eight years.”

Why do some people simply refuse to wear masks? CNN looks at the psychology behind this.

• Another California court has refused to block the state from offering assistance to undocumented residents.

A lot of people think they already had COVID-19, back before we really knew it was a thing. While we are learning that the virus may have been in this country way earlier than previously known … sorry, but you probably didn’t have it.

• If you are one of the people who hasn’t yet received your stimulus money yet, we are sorry to tell you that a lot of dead people have received theirs.

Can llamas lead us to a breakthrough that could help solve the pandemic? Because nothing makes sense anymore, why, yes, they might.

• Famous and mysterious street artist Banksy has done a series paying tribute to health workers in Britain.

If you’re a fan of David Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s Mr. Show, you have something to look forward to now.

• Yeah, this period of quarantine has been awful. But on the bright side, it brought the world the first ever toilet flush to take place during U.S. Supreme Court arguments. So we have that, at least.

• Finally, here’s a look at a birthday party for a 20-year-old otter named Yaku.

That’s enough for today. Wash your hands. Be safe. Buy our Coloring Book, because it’s amazing. If you can spare a few bucks, consider becoming a Supporter of the Independent, so we can keep doing quality local journalism. We’ll be back tomorrow.

Published in Daily Digest

California’s Democratic legislators want to extend health benefits to undocumented young adults, the continuation of an effort that ushered children without legal status into the state’s publicly funded health care system last year.

It is unclear when the program would start or how much the state would spend if the proposal, which could cost up to $85 million a year, is approved by Gov. Jerry Brown. Lawmakers are working out details ahead of their June 15 deadline for passing a new budget.

The plan would provide full-scope coverage for 19-to-26-year-olds who qualify for Medi-Cal, the state’s name for Medicaid. Currently, the federally funded program covers only emergency visits and prenatal care for undocumented residents. Under the proposal, revenue from taxes on tobacco products would absorb expenses for all other coverage.

Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens has been one of the strongest voices for expanded care. In 2015, he pushed for coverage for all adults. That proposal was changed to admit only undocumented children; it took effect last year. This year, he said in a recent video message to supporters, “We are going to make the final push to ensure we capture our young adults.”

Supporters’ ultimate goal is to include all undocumented adults, said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a health care consumer group backing the proposal.

“We believe without coverage, people are sicker, die younger and are one emergency away from financial ruin. It has consequences for their families and their communities—both health and financial consequences,” he said.

The plan would mean that undocumented children currently in the program would not age out at 19, putting low-income undocumented immigrants on par with those allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance under the Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare) until they are 26.

Republican Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa opposes an extension of benefits. One reason is financial: California doesn’t have “a balance sheet we can brag about,” he said, citing the state’s debt load, among other reasons.

Secondly, he disapproves of illegal immigration. Moorlach migrated to the U.S. legally as a child with his family from the Netherlands.

“I’m kind of offended that we feel an obligation to pay for expenses for those who did not come through the front door,” he said. “I certainly have compassion and want to help people in need, but I’m having difficulty, as a legal immigrant, because we are already in such bad fiscal shape.”

Advocates argue that undocumented immigrants help propel California’s economy with their labor and the taxes they pay, and that they cost the state money when they don’t work because of illness or when they end up in the emergency room.

“Health care is a right,” said Ronald Coleman, director of government affairs for the California Immigrant Policy Center, an advocacy organization and supporter of the proposal. “These are folks we are investing in through the California Dream Act and through other programs our state offers, and it makes sense to invest in our future, which our young adults will be.”

Estimates vary for how many people this expansion of Medi-Cal would serve and what the costs would be. Each house of the Legislature has passed its own version of the proposal, with differing figures attached.

The Assembly allocated $54 million a year to cover an unspecified number of additional enrollees, with a July 2017 start date. The Senate proposed $63.1 million in the first year, beginning in 2018, and $85 million annually thereafter, also without specific population numbers.

Coleman’s center, which is working closely with lawmakers on the issue, estimates about 80,000 new people would be eligible, and the cost would be around $54 million a year. That assumes the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program continues, because it provides access to Medi-Cal. If DACA were eliminated, the figures would increase to about 100,000 eligible people and about $84 million in annual costs, Coleman said.

The governor’s proposed budget does not include the proposed expansion or any money for it.

Kevin, a 19-year-old Angeleno who asked that only his first name be used, because he lives in California illegally, wants the proposal to succeed. He has been working for more than a year to distribute information about Medi-Cal children’s coverage to immigrant families.

He meets all but one of the requirements for DACA: He was not in the country before June 15, 2007. He arrived in the U.S. in 2011 at age 14 from Guatemala, on a visa that later expired. He graduated high school, has no criminal record and is now majoring in business administration at California State University, Los Angeles.

“There’s this misunderstanding that young people are healthy,” said Kevin, who suffers from eczema. He worries about the chronic condition flaring up. “When it gets worse, it doesn’t let me do anything with my hands.”

He is enrolled in a county health insurance program for low-income residents, but he can’t afford a dermatologist. He can barely pay for the prescription lotion he uses for the eczema, and sometimes goes without it.

“We are trying to have a better economic standard, and we are like the building blocks of this society,” he said. “Having health insurance will allow us to focus more on school and do our regular day-to-day activities. A healthier society works better for everyone.”

If lawmakers can now agree on details, a consensus proposal will go to the full Legislature for approval. The deadline for that is June 12.

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit journalism venture dedicated to exploring state policies and politics.

Published in Local Issues

Dear Mexican: I’m reading the redneck rhetoric in one of your recent columns, and I feel retarded to continually be surprised by the hate posing as nationalism that so easily flows from mouths of these degenerates. At least we don’t have to worry about that “nice” stereotype like the Canadians.

Isn’t it possible that no one wants to make taxpayers out of all the illegals, because this would entitle them to minimum wage? I agree that if you’re going to enjoy the benefits of this country, you should maintain your culture, but also become a legal American citizen—but can we afford to actually pay full price for the labor foundation that we currently enjoy at such a discount?

Dr. W

Dear Gabacho: Interesting punto! Gabachos don’t want undocumented Mexicans to become American citizens, because they’re Mexicans, and they really feel that once we become the majority, we’ll rip out their hearts, wrap them in bacon and serve them as a breakfast burrito. And they also want us to remain perpetual peons, even if making us legal brings more money to the American economy.

A 2013 paper by the Center for American Progress found that if undocumented immigrants were granted legal status and the possibility of citizenship that year, the United States’ gross domestic product “would grow by an additional $1.4 trillion cumulatively over the 10 years between 2013 and 2022.” Not only that, but analysts Robert Lynch and Patrick Oakford forecast the creation of 203,000 jobs per year in that time frame with amnesty. On the other hand, if said undocumenteds only got legal status in 2013, but weren’t eligible for citizenship for a decade, the GDP would grow by a relatively modest $832 billion.

That’s more of an economic stimulus package than Trump could ever possibly conjure up—but since gabachos hate truth nowadays, the prospect of amnesty long ago went the way of the Paris climate accords.

Dear Mexican: I’ve been to a number of Mexican-sponsored events that include the typical banda, those bands with 40 members and every instrument known to man. My question is: Why do those grupos bring such enormous speakers? For a party taking place in a backyard or a room that fits no more than 50, they’ll bring speakers large enough for a stadium.

And since we’re on the subject of bandas, why do they have so many friggin’ people in them anyway?

Split Eardrums, but Happy

Dear Gabacho: The more speakers any Mexican band use, the angrier gabachos will get. This isn’t rocket science, pendejo.

Dear Mexican: Why is it that if you call anybody from Latin America who’s not from Mexico a Mexican, they get mad? But everybody from Latin America calls any white person a gringo, no matter if they are Canadian, English, German, French, etc.

It seems to me that Latin Americans want to be called by their country of origin, but don’t give a crap about a white person’s country of origin. Would this be racism or prejudice?

Gringo Greg

Dear Gabacho: Because a “gringo” is technically a white foreigner regardless of country. Besides, spare me: You gabachos call us “illegals” even if our families have lived in Aztlán since your ancestors were dying of the Black Death.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Tell me one thing Mexico is good for.

MAGA Man

Dear Gabacho: Paying more taxes than Donald Trump. Read on …

Dear Mexican: The other weekend, I met a Mexican girl at bar. Hoping to score some points, I pretended that I, too, was Mexican. Between my nondescript ethnicity (Eastern European and Vietnamese … chabacho, perhaps?), my command of Spanish, and some carefully timed quotes from Blood In, Blood Out, I managed to pull it off … con mucho éxito.

It got me thinking: Do Mexicans ever pretend to be other ethnicities? Do light-skinned jaliscienses ever go undercover as gabachos? Do Mexicans sometimes set aside their orgullo to go the Lou Diamond Phillips route? I’m dying to know.

Carlos Chan

Dear Chinito: All the time! When Mexicans hang out with Middle Eastern folks, we like to boast that we have an uncle who looks just like Saddam Hussein; when we’re with Jews, we say that our grandmother observed weird rituals, like lighting candles on Friday and never preparing pork. The lighter-skinned among us continually claim that we had a Frenchman in our family tree who decided to stay in Mexico after the Hapsburg occupation; Xicanxs with full beards will attend Native American powwows and boast they’re a direct descendant of the last honest tlatoani of Tenochtitlán.

That’s the thing about Mexicans: We’re everything … except Salvadoran.

Dear Mexican: I teach a volunteer class to kids in the ’hood, most of them Latinos (many of them Mexican). I like the kids a lot—but how can I justify teaching kids who may be illegals over kids who are legal? Shouldn’t I cater to kids whose parents have been paying taxes for years? Shouldn’t we “take care of our own” first?

Gabacho’s Moral Dilemna

Dear Gabacho: Since you’re volunteering your time, you have every right to be a pendejo in your private life. But refry the following frijoles: Primeramente, the Supreme Court’s 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe found it unconstitutional to deny public education to undocumented kiddies, so if you’re doing this via a school, you’d better keep your bigoted views to yourself, lest you get a lawsuit.

Also, don’t forget that “illegals” pay un chingo of taxes; a report released this year by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found undocumented immigrants pay about $12 billion in state and local taxes despite their lack of legal status. “Undocumented immigrants’ nationwide average effective tax rate is an estimated 8 percent,” the report said. “To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent of taxpayers pay an average nationwide effective tax rate of just 5.4 percent.” That’s probably more than Donald Trump!

Finally, study after study shows that those illegal kids are more driven and smarter than “legal” kids. Besides, these are children we’re talking about; hating on kids trying to get ahead in life is all we need to know about our modern, paranoid 21st-century ’Murica.

With morals like yours, the U.S. deserves our future Chinese overlords sooner rather than later.

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: My beloved mojado has crossed back over the border into his native Mexico. Family emergency.

He seems to think it’s going to be a cinch when he comes back. The desert, pumas, mountains, electric fences, people trying to rob and shoot you, being short on cash … where’s the difficulty, right? I know it seems like only a scared, privileged bolilla would have a problem with this, considering how many people come here that way every day, but I keep reading all this scary stuff about how many people die trying to come here.

If a Mexican gets a passport to enter, can he start the process of becoming legitimate once he’s here? I’ve tried doing research, but my Spanish isn’t that good. What are his best options for getting back, illegally or legally. Car trunk? Swimming the Rio Grande? My main concern is getting him back safely. Just please don’t say marriage—aunque es guapísimo y tiene un corazón de oro—probably one day, just not yet.

Please help me, Mexican. Extraño mi novio gordo y sexi!

Lonely in Lancaster

Dear Gabacha: Yeah, at one time, a Mexican could just pay a penny at the border and cross over—that’s how my grandfather did it in 1918. Or pay a hippie chick from Huntington Beach $50 to stuff him in a trunk of a Chevy (pronounced “Chevy, not “Shevy”) as she crossed into San Ysidro, as my papi did it in 1968.

The days of easy crossings are long gone, and now usually a miserable mess. The easiest way to get your beloved fat boy back? Vote Democrat in 2016—you can look it up!

Dear Mexican: I’m a native Alabamian who has immigrated illegally to Georgia. I was wondering: Why there is such a large Mexican and Guatemalan population in both of these states? I thought there were a lot in Alabama until I crossed the border into Georgia!

Chica Guadalupe del Taxi

Dear Gabacha: The 2010 census showed that Alabama had the second-largest percentage growth of Latinos (read: Mexicans) of any state in the country, with the other Top 5 states also in the South. There are so many Mexicans in Alabama that I know young raza who argue about Alabama vs. Auburn the way Mexicans in Southern California babble about Chivas vs. América!

I can’t answer for the Guatemalans, but the Mexican angle is easy: jobs, and gabachos willing to hire Mexicans even if they’re undocumented. Interestingly enough, all these states are also expected to go for Donald Trump during the presidential election—so is the pendejo going to build a wall around the South, too?

P.S.: The South is also the place where many a farmer has openly stated that Americans will not pick crops, no matter how much they’re paid—you can look it up!

Dear Mexican: In the not-so-distant future when the Mexicans are running the entire show, what will they do with our lame-ass “public assistance” programs—where people get checks for sitting on their asses, having more kids in fatherless homes, expecting food stamps for watching TV, subsidized housing that they treat like shit, etc.?

I See It, I’m Sick of It, and I’m Really Sick of Paying for It

Dear Gabacho: Absolutely. We’re definitely going to target the número one abuser of the welfare system: gabachos living in red states, ’cause illegals aren’t eligible for welfare. You can look it up!

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: I know an 18-year-old who is getting deported from the United States. He has been here since he was 5 years old. His entire family is here and undocumented. He grew up in juvenile halls and committed a felony as soon as he turned 18. Will he be deported for sure, or will the immigration judge give him a break since his entire family is here?

Deportations Are for Dummies

Dear Gabacho: Alas, homeboy is probably going, going adiós.

The Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows undocumented youngsters a two-year stay of deportation (subject to renewal) until Congress gets its amnesty act together, specifically states that candidates aren’t eligible if they’ve “been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and … pose a threat to national security or public safety.”

While I don't know the circumstances of the guy you’re talking about, it doesn’t seem he stands a chance for judicial mercy or to become a cause célèbre for DREAMers across the country. That said, if all the charges were bullshit, and the legal system has royally screwed the kid, get in contact with your local DREAMer movement, as their courage in fighting for the damned has been far more impressive than what Latino politicians have shown. And do it fast: The Obama administration deports Mexicans as quickly as California’s reservoirs are drying up.

My wife (who is Mexican) is a tough nut psychologically to figure out, so I am turning to the expert for some desperately needed insight. Essentially, when we began dating, all was right as rain. She was sweet, kind, considerate and extremely attentive. Now, what I call “brown outs” occur. She will fly off the handle at the drop of a hat, throw things and say awful nasty things—basically, she turns into a she-devil. Furthermore, the jealousy (although seemingly dormant for the moment) is always there. I think it would drive her loca if I ever left my garage and had a beer at the cantina again.

We love each other very much, so I guess you could say our marriage is anything but dull. Is this typical with Mexican women? ¡Ayúdame!

Lobo Blanco

Dear Gabacho: The traditional explanation was that it was all about sangre: The blood of the Moors, Spaniards, Gypsies and Aztecs coursing through a mujer’s veins resulted in a quartet of locura that was simultaneously alluring and dangerous. (Just refer to the Agustín Lara canon, specifically “Granada,” for further detail.) On second thought, that’s just bigoted heteronormative misogyny … so let’s just chalk it up to the fact that Mexican woman are crazy because they’re women, m’kay?

I have no pride in being Mexican American. I’m not that insecure! It’s pathetic that people take pride in something they had no control over! I take pride in my personal accomplishments and my behavior and things that I control, the decisions I make amd the goals I reach. Grow up.

Proud to Be Me

Dear Wab: Congratulations on becoming the first Mexican acolyte of Ayn Rand!

Ask the Mexican at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; be his fan on Facebook; follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano; or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

Published in Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: How do we humanize the illegals in this country? My reasons for asking this question are many, including a very personal one.

I’ve been in this country illegally for 16 years, y ya chole no? For 16 years, I lived my life like anyone else—going to school and working. Eventually, I became a teacher for the public schools. It is too long to explain how I did all this. I knew it would come to an end at some point—as the gringos say, the shit would hit the fan eventually. Well, it has, and now I am a nanny to my best friend’s kid. We were talking one day and decided that if anything were to happen—if I was arrested or in trouble for some reason—she could be judged as a bad mother for leaving her child with a criminal such as myself. You, see I am no criminal. I’ve never done anything wrong. I was brought here when I was 14 years old, so I had no choice. The only wrong I’ve done is run across with the rest of mi gente; the only difference is that I didn’t know why I had to do it. I was only obeying my family.

So how do we share this with the rest of the world so that they see that us mojados are people with feelings, families, friends, schooling, hobbies, ideas and ambitions? We’re only missing a few papers along the way.

Tu Paisa Jarocha

Dear Chica From Veracruz: Easy—by telling your story and that of people like ustedes to the rest of America until you’re azul in the face. By calling your politicians from your local school board members to Barack Obama. And, finally, by telling everyone to no longer refer to undocumented folks as “illegals”—unless it’s a satirist with a point, of course!

You’ve poked fun at the guardians of Cervantes before, so I had to write to you now that I’ve finished reading the Walter Starkie translation of Don Quixote. Since I had very little trouble understanding it, I’m guessing that Starkie modernized the Spanish in addition to translating it.

Have you read Don Quixote in the original Spanish, by chance? If so, would you say that the Renaissance-era Spanish is as difficult for Spanish speakers as Shakespeare is for English speakers? Also, is Cervantes required reading for Mexican high school kids as Shakespeare is for kids in the U.S.? (I imagine it is for kids in Spain.)

Gabacha Que Lee

Dear Gabacha: Cervantes in the original español is a chingadera to read, what with all those damn medial s locuras and forays into Old Castilian when the Man of the Mancha speaks—but it’s far more palatable than reading a bunch of “anons,” you know?

Starkie’s translation is fine, but más mejor is Edith Grossman’s version. And, finalmente, Don Quixote is not required reading for Mexi prepa kids,—but Condorito sure is.

I understand that gabachos complain about all the wabs sneaking across the border and taking jobs from gabachos, and that Mexicans complain about all the Guatamalans sneaking across their border and taking jobs from Mexicans. Who do the Guatamalans complain about, or are they at the bottom?

Living in Brasil but Like Watching America. But Unlike Mexico and America, Looking Forward to Our Copa do Mundo.

Dear Carioca: Death squads.

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Dear Mexican: With the current state and federal prison system (especially here in California) spitting out even harder criminals due to overcrowding; and gang activity allowed to a certain degree by the “system”; why are some legislators, government officials and American citizens stating that illegal immigration can be fixed by sending many undocumented immigrants to prison?

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 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-growing Middle East war using up a very high percentage of United States resources that could be used for domestic issues, 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 that 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 Mexicansm blah blah blah … but what do we need to do to avoid such a scenario from occurring?

Worried for Wabs

Dear Gabacho: 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 who recently 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 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 on a new family recipe. The process of formulating a new recipe has me wondering if cream of mushroom soup is used by those of Hispanic descent at all, or is it just a post-Depression white person’s abomination?

One Royal Vomit

Dear Gabacho: 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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