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Learning to identify a xenophobe

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POSTED: August 2, 2007 5:02 a.m.
I’ve been getting a ton of mail about my column of last week. My main point: “All the posturing about illegal immigrants is really an attack aimed at everybody whose name ends in ‘ez.’”
Wrote a reader who signed himself, Doug: “The people who support illegal immigration have a loyalty to something else that is stronger than their loyalty to the USA. They are willing (in some cases eager) to destroy the USA to achieve their other agenda.”
Well. There are people, me included, who think it makes sense to provide a path to legality for some illegal immigrants. But I know of no one who “supports” illegal immigration, as in actually demanding an ever increasing number of foreigners to live and work here without authorization.
And as to the rest of the message, are the president of the United States and the 46 senators who supported the bill that went down to defeat last month “eager” or merely “willing” to “destroy the USA?”
One email was particularly emblematic of the mind-set I wrote about: “Just wondering why in your recent column attacking Americans you never used the words ‘illegal law-breaking immigrants?’”
Is “Curtis” aware that by accusing me of attacking “Americans,” he is saying I am some sort of foreigner, not a true American? Does that sound xenophobic to anybody else?
Then there was good ol’ “Ralph,” who emails me just about every week and was not about to miss this one.
Ralph sent me a graphic of a “Mexifornia” driver’s license, with a picture of a mustachioed, sombrero-wearing bandito and comedy bits like “Sex: Mucho” and “Weight: Too Much.”
Funny!
One of my favorite letters came from someone who called himself “Roger.” The guy wrote:
“Mr. HERNANDEZ, you are a Stalinist and a propagandist. How dare you call those who would enforce our laws xenophobic. Just like a Stalinist, you want to shut up all opposition to your socialist rants with out right (sic) lies and name-calling.”
Got to love it when people call you a Stalinist, then accuse you of name-calling. Got to love it when people call you a Stalinist, unaware that my family fled Castro’s Cuba precisely to get away from Stalinism.
But that wasn’t the most interesting part of this other Roger’s email. What caught my attention was his link to a forum at FreeRepublic.com where my column was being, umm, discussed.
One posting had the same bandito featured on Ralph’s Mexifornia license (turns out it’s the actor Alfonso Bedoya in “The Treasure of Sierra Madre”) and said: “Borders? Borders? We don’t need no steenking borders. We don’t need no steekin’ Roger Hernandez neither!”
Just seconds ago, as I write, there arrived in my inbox a nice way to close my column, courtesy of reader “Alonzo:”
“I want to say again that I find your articles very interesting like the one this morning about fear-mongers and immigration,” he wrote. “Keep up the heat on these immigration-bashing zealots.”

Hernandez is a syndicated columnist and writer-in-residence at New Jersey Institute of Technology. His latest book is “Cubans in America” (Kensington). Send e-mail to rogereh@optonline.net
 

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