Protests against mass deportations are vital

Dear Mexican: With the current state and federal prison systems spitting out even harder criminals due to overcrowding and gang activity allowed to a certain degree by the 'system,' and considering the small percentage of inmates who actually make it out and live a positive life, why have some legislators, government officials and American citizens gone on record stating that illegal immigration can be fixed by merely charging illegals money for first-time offenses and prison time for repeat offenses? I think that would create more criminally minded individuals and expose immigrants looking for a better opportunity in life to the savage nature of life 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 the ever-growing war in the Middle East using up a high percentage of the United States' resources that could be used for domestic issues and purposes, I feel that if the citizens of the U.S. ever vote in the 'wrong' presidential candidate, our new president will be pressured to pass a law to something of that effect — which 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, but what do we have to do to avoid such a scenario from occurring, when the signs of the times are pointing in that direction?

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 ever took place in the era of Dubya (who, for his many, many faults and sins, at least had the right ideas about Mexis, given that 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 last week who chained themselves to the White House fence) are not only a welcome development, but absolutely vital.

Dear Mexican: 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 the late 1960s and early '70s. 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. This process has me wondering if cream of mushroom soup is used by those of Hispanic descent, or if it's just a post-Depression white person's abomination?

Cheese Whiz

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 cagó his pants...and that's a good thing!

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Psychotherapist's View: Those U.S. Immigrants Leave BehindHispanics in FocusPosted in Hispanics in Focus by Admin on October 01, 20132

As Latinos many of us are immigrants that have left a whole world behind us. I did, while I'm a psychotherapist, I’m also a former refugee from Nicaragua.  As such, I came like many immigrants to the U.S. and experienced those tough feelings of not only leaving my/our primary homeland but more importantly our familia.

The Separation
Some of us have left cousins, uncles, abuelos, and sadly at some point even been separated from our children.  As immigrants it’s a leaving of our homeland for what we understand to be a better world.  Those transitions though are never easy, and can involve struggling through long term separations. I know some people who have immigrated to the U.S. and not seen their children and/or wives/husbands in years.  Can you imagine how difficult it would be to not see your kids for such a long time?  Yet, to put food on the table for our distant family and make a better life for ourselves, well we choose to make that international journey.

The Separation Effect
These separations definitely affect us and affect our emotions.  The process of immigration is often traumatic.  As an immigrant and mental health professional I personally have seen how families have fallen apart and then fortunately put back together. The difficulties of having a split family, one who resides in the United States and another in our native land – affects not only our mental health but our physical health as well.  It’s tough.  Days go by, without a word from our families.  Further, life gets busy!  In that day to day of making a living – it’s all too easy to lose touch with the homeland.

Talk About It
It’s really important to take into consideration the daily struggles of split families and the effects this has on daily quality of life.  To remain healthy physically and mentally it is important to discuss our daily struggles and seek help If we are feeling desesperados (desperate), solos (alone), or deprimidos (depressed). 

Stay Connected!
Find new ways to stay connected! In this modern day and age emails, texts, cell phones, Skype, all make it easier to keep the bonds going and strong.  Many of our children are being raised by abuelos (grandparents) while their parents are trying to make a better life here in the U.S. or in another country. Although our families remain bonded at home we can easily become isolated here.  

Those left behind also will struggle mental health issues while apart from their loved ones. Immigration plays a major role in mental health and it is important for us to keep in mind how we can best support one another through these struggles. It could be that we or our children have been traumatized during the immigration journey. It is very important to reach out to friends, family, or professionals to discuss the difficulties we have endured and find community wherever you are.  

Know you are not alone.  

-Ana Champagne
Ana Champagne is an Aurora, Colorado based psychotherapist who practices psychotherapy at Insightful Solutions Counseling. For more information on Ana Champagne and her psychotherapy work visit: and