Goddamned Illegal ‘mmgrnts

Last week, in Phoenix (home to Sheriff Joe Arapaio), my taxi driver seemed to think that he would gain points with me by bitching about “all the damn illegal Mexicans we have to pay for here.”

“We gotta pay to educate ’em,” he said. “Pay to hospitalize ’em, and pay to put ’em in our jails.

I informed him of my position that any guy who wants to crawl through a river, over a wall, under a fence, and past a half dozen insane rednecks just to come and put a roof on my house is welcome here as far as I am concerned. That kind of work ethic is what built this country, and I don’t know many natural born citizens who have that kind of work ethic. (Not even me).

I then asked him if he thought that if I put his family up against a Mexican “illegal” family, was he sure that his contributions to America were superior to theirs?

I told him with absolute conviction that I’d rather eat with, live next door to, work with, and hang out with any random Mexican (no matter their legal status) than some bigot who thinks he’s superior to someone else because his family happened to roll over here from Scotland in 1875. Add to that the fact that in the intervening 136 years, the sum grand total of his family’s existence in America is him in a stained T-shirt, sitting in a filthy cab, reeking of cigarettes, driving my ass around, whining about immigrants.

Meanwhile, I told him that I would bet my entire bank account that any random “illegal” who is standing outside a Home Depot right now might be doing menial labor out in the hot sun to put food on the table, but his grandkids have a better chance of being doctors, lawyers, and senator than any white guy in his neighborhood. With that kind of work ethic, it will probably be the Mexicans that save this swirling pot of a country — it sure as hell won’t be Cletus Peckerwood in some trailer park out in the desert who does.

He started to back down, saying “well, maybe, but what really bothers me is that they just refuse to assimilate.”

I don’t know what surprised me more – this guy thinking that I was “one of his kind of people,” or that he knew the word “assimilate.”

I explained to him that the whole point of America is that you don’t HAVE to assimilate with anything, if you don’t want to. There are laws you have to obey, but if you want to speak Spanish, eat tacos and menudo, run around in a sombrero with a big mariachi guitar, wearing bullet belts across your chest, with a bottle of tequila in your hand, screaming ARRIBA everywhere you go while riding on a donkey (whether you are Mexican or not) that’s your right. Not to mention, the particular piece of dirt we were driving over at that time was Mexico for a hell of a lot longer than it has been America… so who should be assimilating to what?

He shut up then. Probably figuring he wasn’t getting anywhere.

When we stopped, I handed him my credit card to run. He asked me “how much should I put for a tip?” I said “no pesos for you, senor, I don’t tip bigots or idiots. Buenos dias.”

I’m not Mexican, but I don’t mind being mistaken for one in order to stand up for what I think is right. Frankly, I don’t mind being mistaken for Mexican just because its a compliment.

12 Responses to Goddamned Illegal ‘mmgrnts

  1. Jennifer says:

    I could not have said it better myself.

  2. charles platt says:

    Respect your outlook, Mark, but I find too many assumptions in this piece. The illegals in the area where I live stuck around so long as there was work in the stone quarries, then disappeared back to their homelands when the economic downturn occurred. The statement, “With that kind of work ethic, it will probably be the Mexicans that save this swirling pot of a country” is probably not true of most _illegal_ immigrants, who appear to be in it for the short term. My legal US citizen neighbors, on the other hand, are in it for the long haul. And by assuming that they don’t know words such as “assimilate,” perhaps you are showing some prejudices of your own, Mark.

    The immigration issue does not seem so simple to me.

    • I did assume that someone as ignorant as this particular guy would not know big words like “assimilate.” Your neighbors may vary.

      I dig that others might have differing opinions on immigration. I can recognize that there are intelligent counterpoints to my “let them all in” mentality. But the fact is that the vast majority of anti-immigrant sentiment is based in nothing more than prejudicial fear of brown-people-who-talk-funny.

      • pxd says:

        and fear of competition…

        • As some comedian said (can’t remember who): If a guy who swims across a river, crawls through the dirt, and is all in tattered clothes and standing in front of the Home Depot waiting for work is competition for YOU, then what kind of a LOSER are you? If that guy is your competition, you had problems on day one.

  3. I have issues with the “illegal” part of the immigration. I’m absolutely onboard with allowing non-criminals to legally join our nation. I realize that the process is difficult and costly. That should be changed. I don’t like the fact that my tax dollars are paying for schools and medicine and, in some cases, food and housing for people who are here illegally.

  4. brigadon says:

    My problem, as with the poster above, is with the ‘illegal’ part.

    The problem is that right now an american citizen costs three times as much to hire as an illegal, and winds up taking home LESS pay than someone who works ‘under the table’. That measn that it is not work ethic problems, but simple economic problems with locals that illegal immigrants cause.

    If I make the legal minimum of ten dollars an hour, it costs my employer nearly twenty dollars an hour, not just with my wages, but with his unemployment and accident insurance, various taxes and fees and kickbacks to the government to keep me working for him. After fica, social security, federal, and state taxes, my final ‘net’ is probably six dollars an hour, tops.

    If the employer hires an ‘illegal’ immigrant for only 8 dollars an hour, he pays 8 dollars an hour. No taxes, no fees, no insurance… and that illegal immigrant’s ‘take home’ wages are, indeed, eight dollars an hour.

    It is only simple logic then for those who are less desirable from a fiscal point of view to protest the greedy behavior of the whole ‘under the table’ employment system, as they are, quite frankly, getting screwed by attempting to do things ‘legally’.

    In short, your simple lack of understanding of the fiscal realities of these times and your shortsighted approval of criminal behavior paint you as the worst sort of bigot… one who will happily betray his just and honorable ‘legal’ neighbors in favor of criminals that walk across the border virtually unmolested… most criminal immigrants do not have to swim a river or crawl through fences.

    At best, I would call you criminally ignorant of the true state of illegal immigration in this country. I would suggest that you educate yourself thoroughly about the TRUE state of current illegal immigration, as well as it’s drain on local resources, instead of relying on information that is possibly 50 years out of date.

  5. Daniel Bergman says:

    We need the help, they need the opportunity; but it is expensive for them to go through the process. It would be great if they just did the same as many others who immigrated through Ellis Island- by volunteering for the military. Give them that chance and in return, we could be thankful for their sacrifice as well.

  6. mike says:

    ^The LAST thing we want illegal aliens doing is serving in our military, dumbass.

    Look, I’ll agree that your cab driver was probably human garbage. However, 90% of illegal aliens are also human garbage. I don’t know what you think we can or should do about the cab driver, other than hope he dies without reproducing, but we definitely can and should keep the illegals OUT.

    But if you want to start a campaign to convince that cab driver and the entire population of Detroit to illegally immigrate to Canada, I’m totally on board.

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