By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
A few days after the city's April 9 immigration rally, which culminated in half a million people marching downtown, therapist Jane Ledesma was sitting in her car, listening to conservative talk radio for a change.
Ledesma, a Latina activist in her mid-50s, wanted to hear what the other side was saying. On the air was KLIF morning host Darrell Ankarlo.
"He sounded like he was very angry," Ledesma recalls. "He was saying we should build a wall, and people were calling in saying, 'We should have sent the police out to the march to arrest everyone because they were all illegal immigrants.'"
Ledesma knew that last part wasn't true. She had marched, and by ethnicity she was Hispanic, but she wasn't any less American than Ankarlo or any of his foaming-at-the-mouth callers. "I've never even been to Mexico," says Ledesma, who grew up in Chicago and has a master's degree from Michigan State.
Fed up, Ledesma decided to call the show. She got on the air, she says, and told Ankarlo that Americans were sending mixed messages to their neighbors to the south. "On one hand we're saying, 'Come over here and make some money,' and then on the other hand, we're saying, 'You can't be here, you're illegal.'"
Ankarlo enthusiastically agreed, Ledesma says. She then told him that a lot of his callers sounded angry, and that he sounded angry himself over the immigration issue.
"I said, 'You've heard of road rage, I call this immigration rage.' And I told him I would give him and any of his callers an hour of free therapy to help them process their anger.
"He said, 'So I can come down to your office, lay on the sofa and in one hour I'll feel better?' And I said, 'Well, I don't have a sofa, I have a little wooden chair, and my office is in North Oak Cliff.' At that point he realized who he was talking to. He said, 'Oh, you're one of the...' He was going to say, 'You're one of them.' But then he cut me off and moved on to the next caller."
Since that day, Ledesma says she has received only two calls in response to her offer, and both were threatening. For that reason, and because she thinks "immigration rage" is real and no laughing matter, Ledesma declined a request by the local Univision affiliate to appear on the air to talk about it.
"I feel like if someone knew where I lived or what I looked like, I would be in danger because there are people who are so angry and frustrated out there over immigration that I think it's only a matter of time before they act out."
Ankarlo says he remembers Ledesma's call but has a decidedly different take. "The liberals and law-breakers tell me I'm breaking up families by demanding enforcement of tough border restrictions. If you're going to rob a bank, then I imagine you will take a few minutes to consider the consequences of your actions if you get caught.
"The cops, citizens and jury members didn't throw you in jail--you chose your path, and now you have to pay for it. "