Illegal Alien Costume a Teaching, not a Laughing Matter

I have found the silver lining in a very dark cloud. The illegal alien costume sold online by Target and Walgreens has, in its profound despicability, provided me with an opportunity to teach my children about the value of truth and human dignity.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. My kids and I get to pretend that we are somebody else, wear a crazy costume, shock and surprise people for one day and then safely return to the comfort of our homes, our lives and our personal identities.

What I will tell my children that we don’t get to do is mock the experiences of millions of members of our communities by perpetuating the lies and stereotypes as reflected in the illegal alien costume. While some have observed that the extraterrestrial mask dehumanizes undocumented immigrants, perhaps even more dehumanizing is the creation of a generic costume that suggests that all undocumented immigrants are not only criminals but that they are all the same, indistinguishable. The “funny” part is the combination of an obviously fake green card that cannot disguise the alien status, which is evident in the mask, get it? The “alien” is simultaneously trying to slip one by but not smart enough to outwit the state, and is therefore imprisoned. End of story.

Absent from this generic orange pantsuit story are the complicated personal, social and political experiences of real human beings facing difficult circumstances with extraordinary courage. Absent are the specific experiences of the Guatemalan workers of a kosher meat plant who were arrested in a raid in Postville, Iowa in 2007 and unjustly charged with identity theft, despite the fact that most did not even know what a social security card was. Absent is the story of Flor Crisóstomo, a factory worker turned activist who was arrested in a raid in Chicago in 2006 and sought sanctuary in a Methodist church in 2008, which she just left his week — at risk of deportation — to continue a new phase in the struggle for the rights of all undocumented immigrants. Absent is Rigo Padilla, a model student and community member who came to the U.S. as a young boy, committed the youthful indiscretion of drinking a few beers at a party and then upon driving a few blocks back to his house, was stopped by police, and is now facing deportation to a country that he barely remembers.

Also absent from this story is a state that has been far from benevolent or neutral, importing labor from south of the border while failing to find a just way in which to regularize and legalize this flow; attempting to criminalize undocumented immigrants when they have only committed a civil violation; empowering local police to act as immigration officers, leading to the deportation of thousands of people who are racially profiled, stopped for minor infractions and then deported; and placing detained immigrants with common criminals in privatized prisons, where they often face harsh conditions and egregious human rights violations.

The truth is that I know too many faces, too many names, too many stories of detention, deportation, family separation and pain to “get” the generic illegal alien joke. Perhaps you know some too. It is time to teach our children that there is nothing laughable about the uncertain fate of 12 million people and their families in a context of increasingly restrictive immigration policy, egregious human rights violations, massive fear, annual family separation and financial devastation of hundreds of thousands who are not wearing a mask, but are in fact exposed and vulnerable every day of their lives, cannot escape their circumstances, and cannot rely on the comfort provided by slipping out of a costume.

This year just before Halloween, I will do something different. I will take my boys to the national Mexican Museum here in Chicago to visit the altars created to commemorate the Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition designed to remember a person who is no longer with us, allowing us to reflect on the inevitability of death while contemplating the precious value of life. There, we will remember not only the dead in our families, but the 104 immigrants who have died in detention, the thousands of people who have died trying to cross the border, and the two young immigrant men who were beaten to death for being immigrants, Luis Ramirez of Pennsylvania, and Marcelo Lucero of New Jersey.

I will tell my sons that these people were human, not alien, that their lives were as valuable as any others and that their tragic deaths should never be forgotten, not even on trick-or –treat day. I want them to learn that there are some things that we just don’t laugh about.

Amalia Pallares is Associate Professor of Political Science & Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Read other articles by Amalia.

32 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Beast said on October 21st, 2009 at 9:57am #

    The truth of the matter is, that these people should not have come here illegally in the first place, and now are seeing the consequences of their actions. That is what the uproar is really about, that the immigration law is finally being enforced.

  2. Jay said on October 21st, 2009 at 10:45am #

    It truly disgusted me to see pictures of that costume and people saying how funny it is. It is truly disgusting. Have people lost their minds? It is sad to see how some people have lost their sense of humanity and basic human values. What fun is it to insult millions of hard working people struggling to feed their families, oppressed and living under a shadow.
    Anyone with a normal, healthy human heart and thinking would find it hard to do so.
    These people work hard producing the food we eat…the fruits, vegetables, meat…they plant, grow, harvest, pack the good looking produce we buy, the meat we eat. They mow grass, clean, cook in restaurants, work in construction, manufacturing…etc..It is really idiotic to insult them in this way, people with normal human heart and mind wont be able to do so. In my thinking, anyone with some common sense should be able to see how much contributing to this society by their labor.

  3. Michael O'Neill said on October 21st, 2009 at 11:30am #

    Thanks for writing this. I will send to several schools in my area. It should be very beneficial for the teachers to impart the social responsibility inherent in our common good. We will never forget Marcelo Lucero, Jose Suchenay, Mario Vera and Luis Ramirez, among so many more hate crime victims.

    There is no such thing as a small hate crime. Most petty hate crime, slurs, name-calling, graffiti, etc goes under the name of “just kidding” “I was only making a joke.” just as this halloween costume tries. –mo

  4. Cristian Pena said on October 21st, 2009 at 12:17pm #

    Kudos to you on that article. Your reaction and reaction of others tells me that the US is finally doing something about the scourge of illegal immigrants. When i read “outraged” reactions from the illegal immigrant “rights” advocates , i feel that eventually the US will protect is borders and prioritize its OWN LEGAL citizens.

    You successfully manage to paint the “Enforcers” of immigration law as Troglodytes,oppressors who are perpetuating a hate campaign against the illegal immigrants, while failing to mention even once that nobody forced them to come here illegally and that they are responsible for the situation they find themselves in.

    Racial profiling , hmm , lets see.You and the rest of the crusaders ,fighting against “Social injustice” as you so eloquently mentioned in your piece, I did not see too many cries of injustice when foreigners ,who look even remotely ‘Arab”, “Middle Eastern” in appearance are regularly given “special” attention in American airports ?. Now , is it selective vision or hypocrisy? You decide.

    Do a Google search on “dies , starvation , US, laid off, depressed”. People , American CITIZENS , facing a struggle against something as fundamental, basic as putting a meal on the table.I didn’t see you being outraged over such an injustice, or did I?

    Ok , now about your claim that the US is becoming increasingly paranoid about immigration and strictly enforcing its border , as any sovereign nation would do. One simple question , how many countries do you think would allow the “rights” that Illegal immigrants enjoy in America?

    I am quite certain that you will not allow my comment , as it is “racist” , “bigoted”, “add your own negative adjective here” etc.
    Have a nice day.

  5. Tanya said on October 21st, 2009 at 1:02pm #

    Excellent piece, and a great contribution to the struggle to get people in the US to realize that undocumented workers are human beings with dignity, who deserve human rights.

  6. script this said on October 21st, 2009 at 1:19pm #

    in response to cristian – you should study up on globalization and how the u.s. helps create conditions abroad that are barely, and often times not at all, livable. try to imagine yourself in circumstances like that and knowing that if you are willing to suffer the road there, you might find a better life in the states. debatable whether it’s a better life for sure. what with the racist vitriol spewed by the likes of so many people like you, i can’t imagine it’s that much better. but what do i know, i’ve lived in relative comfort my entire life, so i also probably can’t imagine what life is like in the places my consumer habits coupled with the millions of other american’s consumer habits make barely livable.

    additionally, seriously? you think no one wrote op-eds about the racial profiling that happened to anyone who appeared in anyway to be muslim or of middle eastern descent after 9/11? do some research then get back to us on that. you might try googling “racial profiling 9/11” just for starters.

  7. lichen said on October 21st, 2009 at 1:42pm #

    No human is “illegal” and since the US is the one that created NAFTA and then criminilized the border, they are the ones at fault. For 13,000+ years the people of the americas went back and forth freely–migrants drifting through the seasons between lands that they shared an equal connection with, regardless of “states” right up until the 1990’s. They are not criminals.

    But many south and central americans would not be interested in coming north if it weren’t for not only NAFTA, but the last one hundred and fifty years off US policy that involved using the CIA to illegally topple sovereign democratic leftist governments that took care of their own people–instead right wing military dicatorships were forced upon the people, who were then left in poverty that they could only dream of escaping from. The US government wants to have it’s cake and eat it to–use slave trade agreements and the CIA to make sure that the people of the America’s don’t have economic justice, but also criminilize the poor masses, dump pesticides on them from planes and torture them in prisons.

  8. Heike said on October 21st, 2009 at 2:34pm #
    Your article is surrealistic. Illegal entry to the U.S. is a federal crime, punishable by fine and imprisonment. Illegal entry is a crime in all other countries, and until recently in Mexico, it could have gotten you several years of imprisonment. You use Orwellian language such as “undocument immigrants.” That tends to make believe that these people have not committed any crime by being here in violation of our laws. How can you be a member of a faculty of a U.S. university and so flagrantly call for flouting of our country’s laws? If you find someone burglarizing your home, do you call them an “uninvited guest”?
    What do you call Mexico, which issues maps to its people showing them the best routes for illegal entry into the U.S.? Don’t you think the hard working and law-abiding people who waited their turn on line deserve any consideration? Oh, let me guess. The narcotrafficantes are all CIA agents in drag.

  9. GARY LESKOWSKY said on October 21st, 2009 at 2:34pm #


  10. rosemarie jackowski said on October 21st, 2009 at 3:12pm #

    Heike…Slavery was legal, that did not make it right.
    Sometimes doing the right thing, means doing the illegal thing. I call it “obedience to a higher authority”.

  11. Heike said on October 21st, 2009 at 4:40pm #

    Sorry, Rosemarie.
    You are dead wrong. With an attitude like that we would disintegrate into anarchy, as everyone simply observes the laws they want to and flouts the rest of them. I don’t think you will find many people in this country who would argue that flouting laws they disagree with is the way to a better society. I suppose some murderers also try to justify their deeds by “obedience to higher authority.” Slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment and that was the end of it. If you want to abolish all laws relating to immigration, good luck to you, but I don’t think you are going to find many people supporting you, whether in this country or any other one.

  12. Sam said on October 22nd, 2009 at 1:02am #

    Well unfortunately it’s not just the “right” which is spewing hate. I hear and read comments from so-called “liberals” and so-called “progressives” spewing hate at undocumented immigrants. In fact, many so-called “liberals” and so-called “progressives” are now using the exact same hateful language that the rabid right wing trash use when referring to UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS.

    No human being is “illegal” or an “alien.” We are all citizens on this planet. Period.

    Also, it is very rare that anyone mentions that our real job problems are due to OUTSOURCING of millions and millions of jobs to Asia and India. In the big scheme of things, undocumented immigrants are not a problem. In fact, they contribute to this nation through the people who hire them and give them work so they can provide for themselves and their family. And it is very rare that the undocumented immigrant “haters” (including many so-called “liberals” and so-called “progressives”) ever mention a word about the people who hire the undocumented immigrant. Nearly all the time the hate is directed only at the undocumented immigrant.

    Real Left and real progressive people have an advantage over the “right.” We actually use the brain in our head and we know that in the history of this planet from time to time the citizens of one area need to move to another area for survival, and in doing so is an intelligent thing to do, instead of sitting in the same place waiting to die. Some day the people here in the States will have to evacuate this nation and then what goes around will come around.

  13. Tell the Truth said on October 22nd, 2009 at 5:14am #

    I certainly understand people wanting to uphold the laws of the U.S. Of course, they want to do that until they are caught breaking the law. Then they want the laws amended.

    Nevertheless, people who come to this country illegally do so at their own peril. Yes, the U.S. has played a LARGE role in many countries south of the border living in 19th century conditions. But some of that still falls back on the people of those countries.

    In any and all cases, however, a Christian nation should not treat people in anything less than a civilized manner. Of course, I jest because we all know that the U.S. is only a “Christian” nation in name only.

    The biggest problem, though, is that the long-term affects of alienating people in this way. Yes, I understand that U.S. citizens want illegals out … that is, until their food prices double. Then they’ll want them back in on an “as needed basis.”

    But the alienation will still exists. What results from this will be witnessed in about 20 years when old white people are getting their asses kicked by young thugs who were treated so poorly in their youth.

  14. rosemarie jackowski said on October 22nd, 2009 at 6:13am #

    Sam…well said. These ‘lack-of’paper’ laws should be repealed and replaced with laws that show respect for ALL humans. No one should be granted or denied privileges because of the location of his/her mother at the time of his/her birth.

    Heike…A little non-violent anarchy would be a big improvement. You seem to support the tyranny of the majority over a disadvantaged minority.

  15. Heike said on October 22nd, 2009 at 8:41am #

    My global view includes a deep respect for the law
    Sometimes doing the right thing, means doing the illegal thing.

    Did the same person write both of these sentences? I certainly don’t support the tyranny of a minority over the majority, whch was the case with every totalitarian regime. Tell me, when you were running for AG in Vermont, did you tell the 7500 people who supported you that sometimes “doing the right thing is the illegal thing”? Had you been elected, were you going to decide which laws you wanted to enforce and which ones you didn’t? Is that your concept of being a responsible public official? When you joined the military I assume you took the oath to support and defend the Constitution seriously.

  16. Ces't Moi said on October 22nd, 2009 at 10:43am #

    Congratulations on a great article Dr. Pallares. I will share it with my students.

  17. Ces't Moi said on October 22nd, 2009 at 10:45am #


    Oh…sorry that was your point! You act as if there were no undocumented Polish immigrants in this country.

  18. Al said on October 22nd, 2009 at 1:19pm #

    Slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment and that was the end of it.

    You need to pull your head out of your ass, & smell the coffee!

  19. Josy said on October 22nd, 2009 at 7:48pm #

    This is a great! I admire you so much for teaching your children the principles and human rights of people. Those ignorant people that do not know their history and the many reason why immigrants come to work mostly due to the intervention of the United States into Central America and South America. They deserve to be treated equally with respect. Those customes are inmature and disrespectful to the human race as a whole.

  20. Jessica said on October 22nd, 2009 at 9:04pm #

    TO BEAST: People do not come here illegally just because they feel like it, a lot of them come here because where they live there is no way to survive, because they live in such impoverished places that moving here becomes less of an option and more of a necessity. They all come for different reasons, but come on you are not going to dehumanize them or ridicule them because they are trying to survive! Oh no, there is NO EXCUSE to mock any group of people. Having a social does not make you by any way better than anyone, they deserve respect just like you and me simply for being human. Also, they are exploited in the work force! They work hard enough long hours and for mediocre wages, what should be reinforced is fair wages not insulting costumes that are just beyond disrespectful!

    Amalia, I applaud you for your courage to write about something that is obviously very offensive and wrong. I am not sure what any of those stores were thinking when they brought those costumes out, really… after a large portion of their customers are probably undocumented.

  21. thomas said on October 23rd, 2009 at 1:17am #

    I had thought that the costumes had something to do with the movie “District 9,” an indictment of apartheid, but after seeing the costumes which in no way looked like the creatures from the movie, I found them to be in poor taste.

    On the other hand, having an outer space alien being fused with the notion of an illegal alien is still somewhat amusing to me, but then I am a horrible person. After all, I speak English and Korean, not the de -rigueur bilingual choice of Spanish.

    “Absent are the specific experiences of the Guatemalan workers –
    Absent is the story of Flor Crisóstomo
    Absent is Rigo Padilla”

    Well that is amazing, everyone thinks the costumes are insulting those of latin descent.

  22. Obstreperous said on October 24th, 2009 at 7:31am #

    An indredibly dumb costume idea, but I don’t get the offense. It strikes me the costume manufacturer is making fun of the concept of being an “illegal” as much as you are disparaging the notion.
    Just like everyone else I’ve ever known, we let our children decide what they want to be on this holiday. I cannot imagine any child choosing such an outfit…young children wouldn’t even understand it and older children would understand just how lame it is.
    I’m guessing the lack of sales for such a stupid idea will provide the “loss of capital” punishment they deserve.

  23. Cristian Pena said on October 24th, 2009 at 8:02am #

    Hmm, as I expected , the torch bearers of morality and humanity came out of the woodwork , attacking with the same old – Racist , Bigot , Inhuman , whatever else depending on the range of vocabulary.

    I have noticed that “Rebuttal and Countering”is not the way these “Liberals” like to debate or argue. They have the weapons of mass destruction , or should i say mass “defamation” by calling anyone who is opposed to their ideals as “racist” , “redneck” , “bigot” , “nazi”. Very effective in silencing their opposition , I must say. Once you are labeled as any one of the choice words described above , you are expected to surrender and crawl on your Nazi hands and get the hell out of the debate. If nothing , I must say you people have a winning formula.We just cannot compete with that!.

    Ok , now let me offer a general point to point rebuttal , although i expect it to be a futile effort , considering the weapons you people are equipped with.I’ll not address any one of you specifically, though. Just the general gist of what the “liberals” have offered.

    1. They come here for a better life, to escape the impoverished conditions in their own country, to secure a better future for their children etc etc.

    Hmm , so y6u think these Mexicans have it tougher than , say a person from Sierra leone , Libya , Ethiopia , Bangladesh etc?. Not even close. Just because they are neighbours , they find it easier to sneak in. If they are allowed to “escape” disastrous conditions they face in their home country, I say , allow Sudanese, Ugandans , Ethiopians , Eritreans , Bangladeshis and various other African people who are facing REAL impoverishment, starvation , disease and everything else.
    Don’t you think these people deserve a chance to reconstruct their broken lives by becoming US citizens? They should be prioritised over any Mexican, Guatemalan an whoever else.

    I am of mixed ethnic descent , with my Father being an Indian(East) and mother being of Castilian descent(Spanish). I have seen Indians trawling garbage cans in search of “food” thrown out by Hotels and Restaurants for disposal , flies hovering around them. That is called tragedy of human existence. You people should be ashamed of yourselves, I personally despise hypocritical sycophants like you.

    Democracy is a wonderful political idea , it rewards consensus and agreement. However ,if you embrace Democracy , be prepared to deal with things you might not approve of. My point being , if you hold a nation wide referendum on Illegal Immigrants , whether they should be granted amnesty or not, what do you think the outcome will be.?

    It seems to me that you people have taken the responsibility upon yourselves , to be the torch bearers of justice and humanity , disregarding what the majority of people think and want. So you are basically hypocrites who accept democracy only when it suits their agenda.
    No point in typing any more , its like beating your head against a concrete wall, so I’ll stop here.

  24. Dan said on October 26th, 2009 at 12:18am #

    I’m with Cristian on this one. I cannot believe the rhetoric flying around this forum or the ad hominem attacks on people with valid points. Always remember you lose all credibility once you attack the person and not the argument.

    Why is it that my 19 year old little brother is 25 grand in debt because he needed his appendix removed, but if he were here illegally he would have no such liability?

    Why should I carry people on my back and provide them with food, healthcare, housing, and education? Don’t think this happens? Visit any welfare office in Massachusetts or go to Miami-Dade community college in FL and see how many humans residing in the US illegally are getting free college.

    The point is I want to have a family of my own and not have to support some coward’s family who fled his/her country instead of standing his/her ground. If they have anything close to what it takes to be an American they’ll stay in their own country and fight tyranny there. I refuse to carry anyone on my back for the simple reason they were born into a less forgiving socioeconomic environment.

    No one carried me on their backs–they took bullets and died so I could start my life with a fair chance–just as anyone should do in S. America before even ATTEMPTING to come here (when your government exiles you for fighting tyranny I will gladly help you become an American, we made the sacrifice and died for our freedoms and I am sorry I cannot just give something so sacred away for free). I love helping people, but I will NEVER help someone who refuses to help themselves–it’s called personal responsibility.

    I just don’t see how someone can feel so entitled to the fruits of my sweat and blood…or why Average American Joe’s daughter can’t take piano lessons because Joe has to pay for some illegally-residing-in-the-US-human’s daughter to get glasses or braces.

    With that said, you can blame US foreign policy all you want, but in the end South American leaders were the ones who signed those structural adjustment policies (SAPS) into law. So quite frankly, all those humans residing in the US illegally should have held their own governments accountable (ie revolution!) before coming here.

    Just for the record, I do accept some responsibility to the extent that I did not hold my own government accountable when they were looking the other way (or perhaps blatantly allowing) the illegal migration of millions of people into the US. I should have been more activist against my own government, however that does not mean it is right for people to be here illegally–they still need to go home–hope they bring back a copy of the Bill of Rights and Constitution to their home country!

    And not for nothing, there are people being hacked up by MACHETES in Africa so I don’t want to hear all this woe is me crap from South Americans. We are talking about a difference in standard of living by an order of magnitude.

    Also, remember, when you attack the person you lose all credibility, make sure you attack the argument and not the person! Also, remember my little brother owes the hospital 25 grand (appendicitis, it happens), whereas if he didn’t speak English and had no citizenship he would have been treated for free.

  25. b99 said on October 26th, 2009 at 8:35am #

    Dan – Why is it you say that illegals get free appendectomies? How so?

    What illegals are getting a free college education? How do you know who is illegal or not?

    Cowards? They don’t come here because of tyranny. In fact, it’s more likley that ‘legal’ immigrants from Europe came here because of European tyranny. Immigrants come to America to work – and they are permitted to do so because the nation’s business class, the nation’s chambers of commerce, and the nation’s consumers want them here. At the rate of our minimum wage (never mind a living wage) who will cut our lawns, landscape our yards, tile our roofs, pick our vegetables, work the restaurant kitchens? Do you think illegals are here against the will of all?

    Besides, it is no accident that Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, San Diego, San Antonio, Galveston, St, Augustine, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Alamogordo, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and hundreds of other names are SPANISH. They belong to the US because the US either beat them out of their land thru war or otherwise coerced them into giving up land.

    And if you want to go back a bit further – what languages were spoken on this continent 600 years ago? Just native-American languages. 400 to 500 years ago? Just Spanish and Native languages. After that, it was Spanish, English, German, Dutch, French, Swedish – and native languages. So when did the ACTUAL Native-Americans give you and other ‘legals’ the right to this country, the right to exclude as you please? They DIDN’T so the European immigrants took it. That makes it an argument by force, not by morals. Thus, when you see Latinos across the land – and don’t forget they are largely part or all Indian – what you are witnessing is the return of this countriy’s aboriginal population. So if you want to say they should be kept out because you can do so, then you are probably right – but don’t try to make a moral arguement for it.

    And by the way, if you little brother needed this operation in a number of foreign countries of the developed world – it wouild be free or cheap – even though he is an alien.

  26. b99 said on October 26th, 2009 at 8:43am #

    Hey Cristian- The Africans head to European countries by the tens of thousands – because it is closer. If they were adjacent to the US, they’d be coming here in large numbers. In fact, the African population in the US is rapidly growing nonetheless. So exactly what was your point?

    Just about all liberals and leftists on this site recognize the dire straits of people around the world. That’s not hypocricy – where’s the hypocricy? What referendum are you talking about? Do you think that the legality of say, female genital mutiliation, water boarding, and slavery should be decided by referendum?

  27. Cristian Pena said on October 27th, 2009 at 2:54am #

    So you think that FGM and the right of the citizens to decide what they want to do with the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who are in THEIR country , BREAKING THE LAW.?. If you do , I have no more to say. I only debate with people who make rational assumptions.
    Just out of curiosity , what do you make of the way Switzerland practices Democracy?.In case you didn’t know, they have referendums to involve their citizens directly in any decision making process. Do you think they are backward?
    Another point, the African’s who go and inhabit many European countries because THEY ARE ASYLUM SEEKERS, trying to escape tyranny , civil war , ethnic cleansing, religious persecution and several others.European nations like France , Italy , Spain etc only grant asylum if they judge the person(s) to be genuinely unable to live without facing a threat to their lives .
    European countries do NOT encourage Economic Migrants to live illegally within the confines of their borders. Any illegal alien who is not unable to prove that he/she is genuinely in mortal danger and unable to live in his/her native country.End of. They are promptly deported to wherever they came from. Unlike what happens in the US, once they are caught and unable to justify their case , they are thrown into detention and deported eventually. EU does not tolerate economic migrants outside of EU member countries and a few other exceptions. So your point is null and void.
    And in response to B99 , yes , the illegals DO get free appendectomies. How , you ask?. Because an Appendectomy can be construed as “Emergency” and as you must know, they are entitled to any kind of emergency care , without paying a dime. As long as the Doctors affirm the situation as an “Emergency” , they can bloody well get any kind of medical procedure done , with the cost borne by the Taxpayers and/or by the organization itself. So , what do you make of this situation?. Do you think his brother is less deserving than an illegal just because he has the (mis)fortune of being a legal American citizen.

    To be practical , the Anti Illegal and the Pro Illegal viewpoints will never reach a compromise , it is obvious. So I have a suggestion , which might satisfy both sides of the debate. How about having a “Pro Illegal” tax of some sort , say 5-8 percent, which would be imposed upon the pro illegals , so that they bear and take responsibility for the cost of services utilized by the illegals. In other words , since we are against illegals , its only fair that we do not support their presence by indirectly letting the govt use our incomes to provide services to Illegals. Its a fair idea , don’t you agree.
    Simply , you support them , you pay for them. Leave us out of it and we won’t complain.

  28. Cristian Pena said on October 27th, 2009 at 3:01am #

    Just to add a little bit, let my taxes be used to subsidize medical care for Dan’s brother and thousands of other LEGAL Americans who are need of medical care and are getting ripped off…

  29. Jason said on October 28th, 2009 at 4:27pm #

    Beast SAID
    “these people should not have come here illegally in the first place, and now are seeing the consequences of their actions”

    I feel so angry when I read ignorant stuff like this, you think this people had the choice to be legal in the first place? NO! there was no choice, it was either staying and starving at their countries or go to america as illegals, get it??

  30. B99 said on October 28th, 2009 at 7:29pm #

    Point is, Cristian – not all things lend themselves to being decided by referendum. That would sometimes mean tyranny of the majority. Switzerland has plenty of illegal immigrants – did it have a referendum on that?

    The vast majority of Africans heading to Europe are looking for work – for this vast majority, seeking political asylum is not what drove them to the boats. And all around Europe, Africans abound. Only a minority are deported. Just check all the seaports around the Mediterranean.

    You must be one chintzy dude not to want to pay for emergency care. It SHOULD be free or cheap to those with little money, and it should be free or cheap for your brother as well. The reason it is not free or cheap for all is because the insurance industry has teamed up with Big Pharma and the AMA to keep it expensive. So if your brother has to pay lots of money its probably because people like you defend these corporation’s right to rip us off.

    You know why illegals are wanted in America? – Because they are a bargain. Life in America is MORE expensive without them. I think a fair solution would be that the anti-illegals find citizens and pay full price for their fruits and veggies, their lawn and yard care, their new roofs, their nannies, and their hospitality industry services. And they should be required to study just how the country was stolen from Native-America and somehow construed itself to be a legal state without the permission of said natives.

  31. Vicky said on November 3rd, 2009 at 4:50pm #

    I can’t help but wonder why us Americans are so worried and concerned about the “undocumented immigrants” who are living, working and paying taxes here in the US, who some ignorant uninformed people who think they are the immigration policy authority, say “are taking away our jobs”; yet we are not raising cain about the thousands of the US Corporations like Microsoft, Citifinancial, just to name a few; who REALLY take JOBS that the American people can and will do, like answer the phones, technical assistants, financial aids over the phone, account executives, managers, etc., and SEND them overseas to places like Phillipines, India, China, Indonesia, etc. so these companies can put more money in their pockets by exploiting those third world countries’ work force and raping our economy? WHY do we allow them to do that? Why are we not yelling about that? Let’s face it, if truth be told, how many of those reading this, be honest with yourselves, would be out in the lettuce fields from 5:00am till sun down for $4 or $5 dollars an hour, no benefits, no overtime, 6 or 7 days a week, no sick days, being abused? Or in a chicken plant from 6:00am until 6:00 or 7:00pm working for $7.00 per hour deboning chicken, cutting your hands, working in the cold, in the worst conditions, with no brakes, no overtime pay, no benefits, and if you get injured you get a kick in the behind? Or better yet picking tomatoes in Florida for 71 cents a bushel after working all day in the sun knowing that those tomatoes are going to be sold to companies like McDonalds, Taco Bell, Kentucky, etc? Are immigrants really taking our jobs? Or US Companies depleating other countries’ resources and stealing from our work force?

    Be truthful now!

  32. William Smedley said on November 4th, 2009 at 1:32am #

    Consider, psychologically, how people inflate the differences between themselves (or their groups) and others (and their groups) in order to have a positive identity–this often entails derogation. Consider this phenomenon between classes within the US, and between perceived racial groups within the US (I would point to the English First Movement in California, which is misguided and permits the possibility of elections for languages turning against the proponents of such programs). And consider how an acceptable target, i.e., a distinct “other” whom we may derogate (I won’t say discriminate, because a true “illegal alien”–and I detest this term because of the emotional response it permits, namely dehumanization–is committing a crime) serves as the recipient of a collective, and perhaps suppressed displacement of aggression. What I mean is that Americans who may not be able to identify with impoverished Latin Americans or other groups–particularly poor ethnic groups–find in the “illegal alien” an “other” against whom derogation, in the guise of decrying criminality, appears–for them–to be acceptable. The undocumented immigrant serves as a surrogate target for the manifestation of their negative emotions and opinions. This is not to say that undocumented immigrants could not, themselves be actual targets–they certainly are, but the emotional reaction to the “new” immigration debate is disproportionate, pointing to another larger target, and pointing also to the repressed nature of these attacks.

    One may counter that negative emotions and opinions against what they might claim is the real target–the undocumented immigrant–is acceptable ethically, politically, and legally–and they would be right; however, I would submit that it would not be so for the other groups I mention. Furthermore, the displacement of this aggression and negativity points to the lack of transparency in these sentiments due to their being irrational, and based on racist and classist feelings. Such sentiments, being irrational may be explicit and may be unwitting.

    And a separate consideration: is this immigration debate vital? Or is it simply lip service? Economically, removing all undocumented immigrants would be disastrous to our economy. The same people who look down on this demographic would not immediately migrate to fill the void of jobs were they to leave the country. Furthermore, they certainly would not fill those positions at the same rates–the law prohibits that. It seems to me a meaningless debate. We need them, we won’t get rid of them, but we complain about them–and I use the pronoun “them” cautiously as they are our relatives, mind you–lest we forget that Latino Americans comprise the largest minority. (I would be interested in seeing the reaction to a large influx of white Europeans were the EU to face economic calamity to bring it to the level of many Latin American states. The debate serves political purposes: candidates can mobilize xenophobia to ostensibly strengthen mythological American values; however, the debate loses gas after elections. But perhaps I overlook other implicit functions that collective classism, racism, and xenophobia, disguised as patriotism and economic concern serve: the processes are at once cathartic and distracting.