Ask a Mexican

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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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano