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25 Sep 2013

Ask a Mexican: Wouldn't Locking Up Undocumented Immigrants Cause More Harm Than Good?

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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!

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 youtube.com/askamexicano!

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