Monday, September 15, 2008

Ask A Mexican - My Dad the Illegal immigrant

Gustavo Arrellano of ask a Mexican fame wrote a great opinion piece Sunday in the L.A. Times. Nothing ground breaking or important, just a good read. Check it out. I'm sure a lot of people share the same sentiments and experiences that he writes about. 
I'm glad that my father entered this country illegally. If he had come "the right way," our family's success would've been chalked up as just another example of immigrant can-do. But as an illegal, his accomplishments (as well as mine and my siblings') contradict the conventional wisdom regarding undocumented Mexicans that's been prevalent for this decade. My father's repeated breaking of immigration law is further proof that this country can and does rehabilitate all of her huddled masses, whether legal or not. Personally, his stories motivate me. If my father could leave his life back in therancho and risk everything at age 18, I have no excuse to whine about anything. And his stories reward me with the pleasure of watching anti-immigrant loons stumble for words when I ask them to explain how my father and my family could've excelled considering that we come from alien stock.  Dad isn't perfect by any means -- indeed, he's suffered through most of the pathologies that many people attribute to illegal immigrants: Alcoholism. Fecundity. Lack of education. Failure to fully assimilate. It doesn't matter. The life he's crafted for himself is no different from your typical white, middle-class Valley resident who rails about the Mexican invasion.