Racist minutemen and KKK members were nowhere to be seen when Dr. Juan Hernandez visited UVU recently. He is the kind of American I wish we could all aspire to be like — a new and improved American, if you will. He not only defends immigrants but also speaks freely of amnesty for illegal immigrants.
“These are beautiful, hard-working people who put so much money in our pension funds each year,” he argued on the Bill O’Reilly show. How many of us actually see it this way?
Whenever I debate immigration issues — a common occurrence for people in my situation — I try not to bring up the word “amnesty.” That word by itself is very taboo, even poisoned, thanks to extremist minutemen and venom from biased media like Fox News. Instead, I try to point out certain inequities suffered by particular groups, like the young children brought here by their parents — human beings who, according to Sean Hannity, are blood-sucking criminals.
Yes, I listen to Sean Hannity, and before you call me a walking paradox, let me tell you that I respect the guy because he’s good at standing for something, and I am really fond of the quote “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.”
I don’t believe I could ever agree with his point of view on immigration, though, unless by some miracle he took the time to embrace and speak with a group of illegal immigrants. I probably know of some, busy building UVU’s Digital Learning Center.
Don’t misunderstand; just because someone is brown and working construction doesn’t mean we have uncovered some legal infraction. I’m only expanding on what Hernandez said about the type of crisis the U.S. would face were the people who are working the toughest jobs to vanish one day. Do you know how many illegal farmers there are? How many construction workers, waitresses, factory workers, fruit pickers and landscapers? In fact, as I write this in my bedroom, I can hear someone attempting to sing a Spanish mariachi song between hammering nails into my neighbor’s new fence.
I’m not a big fan of “Banda” music, but I will say it’s funny listening to them sing along to the Spanish radio while they work. For the past couple of months, immigration laws have cast immigrants, as well as undocumented UVU students, in a terrible suspense movie — one that the Mexican version of Ebert and Roeper would give two middle fingers up. Now police can act as immigration agents, and drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants are under attack.
Great. Now as an undocumented mother, father or student, you will have to drive illegally to work; be careful not to provoke cars with sirens on them, as those now represent deportation. If you manage to survive that gauntlet, you look forward to a 12-hour shift for which you will receive only meager wages — an insulting stipend that is all you, as an illegal alien, apparently deserve. Don’t worry, though. This will be over soon enough, and you will go home to your smiling children, the ones you know won’t be able to attend college. This heart-warming scene, though, is only possible if immigration agents don’t raid your place of employment. Besides that, you should be fine. Just make sure not to get sick or hurt at work, because chances are good that you don’t have any type of health insurance. You are, after all, an illegal alien.
I understand now what I heard a person say about immigrants feeling like terrorists. Juan Hernandez writes in his book about his conversation with a border patrol agent who described his superiors as sometimes saying, “Open the faucet,” meaning to allow some illegal immigrants to cross the border. Other times, though, came the inevitable instruction, “Close the faucet.” All this while there hasn’t been a Mexico-based terrorist attack on the U.S. since the days of Pancho Villa.
There is an overwhelming degree of political and economical need stirred into this immigration mush. It’s amazing that to immigrants it’s all a simple case of feeding their families or not. America, get over yourself. People need and love you. There are many great people — like my family — who came to the U.S. with fake papers. But now I’m an American citizen. Will someone please come and arrest me? Kick me out of school and you will no doubt find me working in construction, singing Mariachi alongside my brethren.