By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Dear Mexican: I know I might sound like a gabacho borracho, but I'm really just a gringo trying to make progress toward getting work legally in Mexico, a side of the immigration debate we rarely hear about. Most gringos who move to Mexico are students at UNAM or retired people who move to gated seaside communities. I am a rarity: I'm a gringo who lives and works in Mexico about six months a year. I want to live in Mexico year-round and work legally. Sure, there's a system set up for this, sort of. Not only does it beg mordida, but it is slow and has many roadblocks.
So far, I have worked under the table in Mexican tourism. I want to work in my chosen profession — movie and TV production — and I want to get the equivalent of a Mexican green card. Do they exist?
Dear Wetback Gabacho: You can take steps to become a legal taxpayer — have you applied for the CURC? Gone through SAT? Got your CIEC? — but why bother? As you pointed out, it's a bureaucratic nightmare, and gabacho illegals have lived the good life in Mexico for decades. You're not likely to get deported given Mexico needs every gabacho dollar possible during these dark times of narcowars, and even becoming a legal resident or a naturalized citizen still qualifies you as a second-class person just above an indio, so you might as well stay illegal. Besides, look on the bright side: less taxes paid to the Mexican government means more money stays in the local economy. You ain't an illegal; like the Mexi illegals up here, you're a patriot against pendejo borders.
Why is it our tías y abuelitas are so superstitious and have so many wild stories? The one about a rattlesnake in the lechuga/cilantro/nopales biting a mujer in a supermercado who decides to rest in her carro while esposo finishes the shopping, then dies, is just the latest to circulate the Central and Southern California coast. Cynthia the Pocha
Dear Pocha: What you describe sounds like a spin on classic urban legend of the woman who found a rat in her Kentucky Fried Chicken, examined in Jan Harold Brunvand's 1981 classic The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends & Their Meanings. He noted that the legend was based on true accounts of food contamination, and theorized its popularity was our collective unconscious projecting fears of "a world of shocking ugliness lying just beneath a surface of tranquility."