By Gustavo Arellano
Dear Mexican: I lived here illegally for the first half of my life, so I’m very offended when I hear anti-immigrant comments. I especially can’t stand “Illegals don’t pay taxes, so they shouldn’t be here.” When my father applied for residency during the amnesty in the 1980’s, part of the requirement was to provide proof you had work for a number of years. My father and others had check stubs from their employers who deducted taxes from their pay. Am I the ignorant one here? Do Mexican illegal immigrants really not pay taxes? I’d like to know so the next time someone makes that comment, I can quickly shut them up…or stay quiet.
Dear Curious Wetback Girl: Only a total moron or Tom Tancredo believes that illegal immigrants don’t pay any taxes. Even the most ardent amnesty opponents acknowledge that they do: for instance, a 2004 report by the conservative Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) found that “the average illegal household pays more than $4,200 a year in federal taxes, for a total of nearly $16 billion.” I think what your anti-immigrant amigos are trying to say is that illegals use mucho more tax dollars than they contribute. But the jury is still out on that; both sides of the argument can easily find stats to support their position. People who call Mexicans “tacos” will cite the CIS’s 2004 study, which stated that illegals (read: Mexicans) cost the American government $10 billion a year. People who think tacos are muy buenos no doubt take solace in Texas state comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s 2006 report, “Undocumented Immigrants in Texas: A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy.” Strayhorn announced that aliens in Texas paid about $2 billion in taxes and fees while using $1.16 billion in government resources. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: stats are like Mexicans. You can make them do whatever you like as long as you provide room, board and sexy magazines.
I come from a small family that I’m not particularly close to, whereas my chica caliente has a huge extended family and is devoted to all of them. Her family intrudes on us whenever we’re together and she doesn’t seem to mind at all. They’re always around! I get dragged to just about every family function under the sun. I don’t like the long drive to see her, only to have her family shoved down my throat. My family stays out of my life, why can’t hers? We never have any alone time. I love her, but a little of her family goes a long way. Is this over-reliance on her family a cultural difference? How do I let her know I like her family, but not every damn time we get together?
Frustrated White Boy
Dear Gabacho: What an ingrate! You’re dating a Mexican gal, the crema of the sexy lady crop. Tu novia’s family obviously accepts you since they could’ve easily shamed her into dumping your gabacho ass. But instead of celebrating your good fortune, you’ve decided to whine. Boo-pinche-hoo. Tell your girlfriend what you told me, then start looking for another lady after she leaves you. When you date a Mexican, you date the family: intimidating brothers and father, hot younger sisters, drunk uncles and cousins, withered abuelos and a mom who never leaves the kitchen. Unlike the majority of gabachos, Mexicans still value close-knit families, still understand their power to strengthen communities and individuals. Besides, an omnipresent familia is the only way that Mexicans can guarantee that their teenage girls won’t get pregnant before Senior Prom.
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