By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
I work at a high school where there are a significant number of students without papers. Two students (one from Mexico, the other from Paraguay) who I had worked with for four years graduated last June, and they are now attending community college. They have both read your books.
My questions are: What do you recommend to undocumented students regarding working here and making money—in this case to help pay for their college? Do you suggest they get false documents? (Social Security card and number, driver's license and/or green card)? Do they get a "new" number or should they use an ITIN if they have one? What is the current going rate for these items—individually or as a package deal? What about quality? Where should they go to buy? Do you have any referrals? Any other suggestions you may have about this issue would be helpful and appreciated. I hope to share your insight with them both, and to other students who are in the same situation.
—El Maestro Gabacho Who Cares for Indocumentados
Dear Gabacho: So you know your students are in this country illegally, that la migra can nab them and their familias at any moment—and you want them to break the law even further by asking where they can get fake documents? ¡No manches, méndigo! I understand why you want to help these students who you and I know are American yet Know Nothings consider no better that rapist illegals, but asking them to further bury themselves legally is like eating three habaneros and trying to cool down your scorched palate by chomping on some serranos. Getting an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) from the IRS is an option, but you and your students are better off pressuring Congress to pass the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented college students who came to this country as youngsters. Advocating for these Dreamers is one of the most righteous causes in the United States right now, because their story represents the greatest chinga tu madre to the Know Nothings' master Mexi narrative: They're immigrant kids who learned English, fully assimilated, graduated from high school, pursued higher education and succeeded, and are now virtually indistinguishable from their citizen peers save for their legal status—and not all of these undocumented kids are Mexicans! Maestro: Guide your former students to dreamactivist.org for more information on how to live as an undocumented college student, and to know which senators and representatives to annoy with polite e-mails asking why won't they co-sponsor the DREAM Act.
I teach in barrio high schools, and I'm curious as to why Mexican adolescent males steep themselves in more cologne than a Pasha's harem. Is it for the same reason that they wax their eyebrows—overcompensating against the stereotypes of Latinos as noxious and hirsute? Or has metrosexuality arrived in the immigrant community?
—Guy Under the Effluence of Rude Odors
Dear GUERO: If I remember my high school days correctly, students no longer shower after gym—hence, slathering on cologne has more to do with masking our naturally fecund sweat glands than a subconscious rejection of ethnic roles. But if you're wasting your one chance to probe the Grand Poobah of Pendejos about Mexican students with a pregunta on why they smell, then no wonder our youth drop out in alarming numbers...
MY MESSAGE TO ALL GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL MEXI SENIORS: So you're brown and proud? Unless you're going to college after high school, you're a clown. No excuses, cabrones—if undocumented college students can not only go on to universities but graduate, anyone can do it if they set their cabezas to it. Make your parents proud and fulfill the hopes of your raza—after all, we don't want the coming Aztlán Liberation Front to be composed of pendejos...