An immigrant song

By DAVID KISH  |  May 17, 2010

A few months later, that shuttle service and others like it were raided, arrests were made, and people were deported. Sporadic busts may garner headlines and inconvenience some potential illegals, but others will continue to climb fences, traverse tunnels, and die of exposure in the harsh Arizona landscape. Border crossers pay desert guides their paltry life savings, but are often double-crossed. Minutemen militia members, armed and angry, mark their territory with handmade signs depicting ever-vigilant silver-hearted coyotes. Liberal establishments display the common words “Humanitarian Aid Is Never a Crime” in support of the drinking-water stations compassionately set up along immigration routes. The anachronistic words “dago” and “wetback” are uttered with alarming nonchalance. Thousands march for solidarity, while hundreds taunt them — it’s a powder keg.

This dance will continue with or without Arizona’s new law, because, unlike the cultures of Wal-Mart and Wall Street, a cornerstone of Mexican culture is an immense patience. Those of Mexican heritage I know — some legal, some illegal — are almost without exception honest, hard-working, humble, family-oriented people. They just happen to have been born in the barrio of North America, a land we hurt more than help with our drug lust and imbalanced trade agreements. The “values” our politicians glibly use as sound bites are the values by which most Mexicans actually live. Our often shallow, asocial, and materialistic culture can stand to become more tempered by their presence.

David Kish can be reached at

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