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21 Jan 2015

Ask a Mexican: Why Don't Better-Off Mexicans Immigrate to the United States?

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Dear Mexican: I have a hard time believing that the immigrants we see at Home Depot are the best Mexico has to offer. Why can’t we entice more cream-of-the-crop of Mexicans to come up north? (Mexico has the richest man in the world, so someone has to be doing something right.) Are the laws fucked up, or are these people better off staying? It couldn’t hurt the other immigrants if we had more well-educated immigrants messing up our stereotypes.

We Can’t Do Better?

Dear Gabacho: Keep laughing at those Home Depot wabs, because they’re going to have the last risa.

All immigrant groups feature a few highly educated folks in their teeming masses, Mexicans included: Entire swaths of Texas are now the playgrounds for the middle and upper classes of northern Mexico, mostly because they’re fleeing the narco wars. And thousands of Mexicans get TN-1 visas (the NAFTA version of the smarty art H-1B visa) every year. Besides, it’s the dirty immigrants who have always pushed this country forward, from the Pilgrims to the Irish to the Dreamers of today. If all we allowed into this country from the beginning of the republic were well-educated immigrants, we’d be just like Japan—aging, crumbling and obsessed with tentacle porn.

When I was a kid, my grandmother always told me that Sonora was a beautiful place to live … that is, until people from southern Mexico began moving to Sonora. The guachos, she called them; she considered anyone hailing from south of Obregón a guacho. She had a serious dislike for anybody not from Sonora or Chihuahua. She said they had “piojos y lombrices” and spoke with funny accents (although I’ve realized people in Sonora are the ones who have accents). My grandfather considered Mexico like three different countries: north, central and south.

Can you please help me understand why the hate for guachos? I love the shit out of Jalisco, Puebla, Guerrero and even Chilangolandia. Also, why is it that in the rest of Mexico, a guacho is a slam to a soldier, but in Sonora, it’s anyone from the South?

Sonora y Sus Ojos Negros

Dear Sonora and Her Black Eyes: Regional rivalries are as much a part of the human experience as breathing, so you shouldn’t be surprised at your abuelita’s hate for the rest of us. So is thinking up of new ways to insult your rivals: While Sonora is a beautiful state, too many of its residents have a Jalisco complex about them, in that they think their ancestors never intermixed with Indians. As a result, guacho (a term originally from Quechua, and meaning “bastard”—as in, someone with no mother—in almost all of South America, which is also used to slur poor people in Cuba and soldiers in the rest of Mexico) turned into an epithet in Sonora referring to any other Mexican; the thinking was that all other Mexicans were mestizos, while sonorenses were pure-blooded Spaniards.

Come on, Sonora: If you think your grandparents weren’t getting it on with Yaquis, then you must also think flour tortillas are nothing more than water and paste. (Sorry, readers; I but don’t know too many Sonoran jokes—they’re not easy to make fun of like, say, people from Jalisco).

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!

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