Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

On Oct. 8, the Trump White House released a long list of demands that the president had given to Congress—demands that Trump said would need to be met in order for the fate of young undocumented immigrants, often called DREAMers, to be determined.

“These findings outline reforms that must be included as part of any legislation addressing the status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients,” Trump said. “Without these reforms, illegal immigration and chain migration, which severely and unfairly burden American workers and taxpayers, will continue without end.”

The list of demands disappointed advocates of DREAMers—young men and women who could face deportation if Congress does not act.

Hadley Bajramovic is a Riverside County immigration attorney for both the Consulate of Mexico and the Consulate of Guatemala. She said the proclamation by Trump did not surprise her.

“I don’t know that it was shocking,” Bajramovic said, “but the recommendations (the Trump White House) made are very harsh from our point of view. A lot of the principles and policies that are talked about in that memo are already in place. So, for me, there are parts of it that are just a big eye-roll.

“I noticed a theme of using criminality as a scare tactic—like we aren’t protected from (immigrants). ‘We need to protect the U.S.A. from these people,’ but the protections are already there.”

Bajramovic highlighted some of the positions outlined in the White House directive that she found to be misleading and/or inflammatory.

“The administration is suggesting that the border is still porous, and it is not,” she said. “I work with people who come to the border and declare asylum or ask for protection, and also people who crossed the border illegally. In the past two to three years, I have not had anybody come to my office who recently crossed without inspection. It was very common up until about 2007-2008 that people would either cross through the desert or come in (with the help of) a coyote. Now the people I am seeing were admitted or paroled in by the Border Patrol because they established that they could be eligible for relief. So the notion that the border is still porous is wrong. Building a wall is unnecessary. It’s an unnecessary expense.”

“But what was interesting and eye-opening is that whoever drafted these policies was aware of the protections coming into place under our local laws to help undocumented people or people with immigration issues who have criminal convictions. Most recently, California passed a law that allows attorneys to submit motions to vacate criminal convictions if it can be proven that the defendant was not fully aware of the immigration consequences of accepting a plea deal. This law, California 1473.7, went into effect this past January and says that before a person can do a plea deal, they must understand what they are doing. It’s a due-process protection, and it’s fair. This memo attacks that type of due-process protection and is calling it a part of the ‘sanctuary status.’ It calls for prohibiting states or cities from giving that kind of a remedy. That’s really disturbing.

“Another point that is really important: California provides services and benefits to aliens,” Bajramovic said. “In fact, the California Department of Social Services just opened up federal funding (to access by the public) of $45 million to fund immigration relief for undocumented people. Now this memo says they want to restrict grants to states that do that.”

Megan Beaman Jacinto is a La Quinta-based immigration-rights attorney.

“I’ve seen some phases of reaction and response (among current DACA beneficiaries), beginning with the time leading up to Sept. 5, when Trump declared that DACA would be ended by executive order. There was dread mixed with terror leading up to that date—but after, it was just terror,” she said. “There was a lot of uncertainty immediately about whether that announcement meant that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would just be coming for everyone who then possessed DACA. That was the initial reaction, I think, both in the advocate community as well as the DACA-recipient undocumented community.”

Beaman Jacinto pointed out a less-obvious consequence of the Trump administration’s ongoing anti-immigration stance.

“There’s been an interesting political framing of the DREAMer community as the one, limited group of people who are deserving of immigration protection,” Beaman Jacinto said. “It’s like they were the victims of their parents (actions and decisions). I appreciate, and agree, that the group we call DREAMers should be protected, but it sort of requires that we vilify everyone else. The parents of those kids are not DREAMers, even though they came here to provide a better life for their families. And the kids arriving now are not DREAMers, because they didn’t arrive before the deadline and the passage of the DREAMer legislation. It’s an interesting and arbitrary set of guidelines that have established this one deserving group that’s received protection both from Obama’s DACA executive order and now, most likely, from the (new Trump iteration) of the DREAM Act which we think will become law, hopefully next year. If that passes, it will be really great, and a step in the right direction—but it has required throwing a lot of other people under the bus.”

“If the DREAM Act does pass, or even if it doesn’t, we need to do the right thing for other people who didn’t fall into that so-called DREAMer category—because we’re all dreamers.”

Published in Local Issues

Dear Mexican: I’m a pocha immigration attorney. I have so many questions for you that I’m thinking I should just hire you as a consultant.

Why do Mexicans seem to want me to lie to them and steal their money, and tell them they can become residents—even when it’s hopeless? Why can’t Mexicans answer “yes” or “no” questions with a “yes” or “no”? Why do they have to give me long narratives that make no sense? If Mexicans claim that part of the reason they don’t want to be in Mexico is because of government corruption, why do they ask me to lie for them, and help them lie? Why are polleros the rudest, most aggressive clients a lawyer could ever have? Why don’t mexicanas want a female attorney, while mexicanos seem to think it’s kind of cool? When I go into fast-food restaurants in my power suits and order tacos, why do the mexicanas selling me the food giggle and make fun? Why can’t they just be happy for and proud of one of their own? When I tell a Mexican that I don’t think their case is winnable, why do they change from using “usted” with me to “tu”? When I tell a Mexican bad news, why can’t I just speak normally in Spanish? Why is it that I get so nervous that my pocha accent comes out super-strong?

Pocha Attorney

Dear Wabette: If people want to hire me as a consultant, I charge by the hour, with payments acceptable in tacos, tequila bottles and Chicano Studies books. So let’s empezar your bill starting … ahorita.

Mexicans want you to tell them they can become residents, because they are paying you to make their hopeless situation a legal one—lies or not. Their “long narratives that make no sense” is otherwise known as America’s immigration system. They ask you to lie for them because the alternative is going back to Mexico’s cesspool of corruption—again, it’s your job as an immigration attorney to make the hopeless hopeful by making the impossible happen, ethics be damned.

Polleros are going to be rude because they’re criminals—and outside of Daniel Stern’s character in Born in East L.A., do you know of any gentleman human-smugglers? Mexicanas not wanting you to represent them isn’t a pocha thing, but a female thing, so go write to Jezebel about that one; Mexican men wanting you as an attorney, in turn, is all about an hombre ogling you. As a pocha, you shouldn’t be eating fast food in the first place—and the mexicana-on-pocha hate is another female issue that Jezebel can answer.

When a Mexican switches from addressing you as usted to tu, it’s because you’re no longer someone deserving of their respect, but the shyster scamming them out of cash. Finally, you start talking like a pocha when you tell them the bad news because you don’t like delivering bad news—that’s understandable.

Let’s see … carry over the dos, add three, include a first-timer discount, and your final legal bill with me is a taquero for 30 people, a bottle of ON Tequila, and a first-edition autographed copy of Occupied America. Pleasure doing business!

Why do so many Mexican parents let their kids play in the street unsupervised? I’m sure this practice isn’t limited to Mexicans, but it seems like some neighborhoods are filled with Mexican kids playing in the streets, not paying attention to traffic (no matter how quiet the street might be), and with no parents in sight.

Are these parents lazy, stupid, or encouraging self-reliance?


Dear Gabacho: Every chamaco is going to be a different story, but the main reason Mexicans let their kids play on the street is because there’s nowhere else for them to play. The lack of park spaces in barrios is an unfortunate phenomenon well-known to city planners, and best examined in California State University Los Angeles professor David R. Diaz’s influential Barrio Urbanism: Chicanos, Planning and American Cities. Compounding that is the fact that most landlords in barrios don’t allow kids to play in common areas, leading families to let them loose onto the mean streets.

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 ask him a video question at!

Published in Ask a Mexican