To Juan, It’s a Bad Time to Illegally Immigrate


It is wise of you to consult with me before you uproot yourself and your family to move to California.  As a citizen here I can provide you with an insider’s view while also one that is sympathetic to your desires.  I will endeavor to tell you the truth before you pack your belongings and pay a coyote to stuff you in the trunk of a car, or before you risk life and limb on a cross-desert trek, or before you pay our government for a tourist visa that you have no intention of returning upon at its expiration.

The truth is Juan that now is not a good time to come here.  The truth is that in many ways it is the worst possible time.  You’d be better off sneaking into China and opening a taco stand or going to Russia and operating a snow removal company.  While these options are geographically more of a challenge, your may find them more economically rewarding and your grandchildren will thank you for your effort I am sure.

I know that you will want to know why you should not come to the U.S.  You will undoubtedly want all the facts of the situation, so I will share with you the unvarnished truth.  Foremost among the factors that make your impending trip a lackluster adventure is that working illegal immigrants are being hunted down by our government.  Those who choose not to work have a much easier time of it and I know that is not your intention.

You may already know that most cities here have Mexican grocery stores; some of these offer identification and social security cards for a reasonable charge.  The difficulty is that the government is forcing employers to check these cards for accuracy which is a new policy and places a heavy burden on the corporate world.  There are widespread fears that these companies may actually be forced to employ citizens who are rumored not know how to work.  Many of these citizens are also undereducated having graduated from the local school systems.

It is a sad state of affairs Juan that hundreds of illegal workers are being laid off from their jobs, so you coming here at this time would only add to the pool of people who find themselves unemployable.  This pool has grown substantially with the collapse of the construction trade due to a terrible economy.  If you waste the effort to come here now Juan, you’ll find that there are many more laborers than jobs available.

In brainstorming your path the American Dream Juan, it may be in your head that becoming an American restaurateur is a lucrative avocation.  I am saddened by your continuing rebellion against my advice but I must provide a negative consultation on this as well.  Mexican food is popular here but it had been done and redone.  Mexican restaurants are more numerous than Starbucks here.  Also consider the fact most non-Latino people who frequent Mexican restaurants have become obese and may soon die from diabetes.  I do not think a restaurant is a sound plan.

I encourage you Juan to think about the quality of your life on the coast of Mexico.  You have the ocean, you have your family, and you have your culture.  It’s true that it is cheaper to buy some things here, but they are not things that matter.  These things are not worthy of reinventing a life to obtain them.  On my travels to Mexico I have found without exception that my friends there have fewer things, and they are all the happier for it.

No Juan the U.S. is in a period of decline.  We are in the valley of an economic down slope so it is not possible to see the new horizon ahead and we are depressed by the limited vistas of the valley we are in.  Our impeded view of the future leads us to focus only the exhaustion of our jack hammering legs, tired from walking the steep slope down, and only a weary steep climb awaits us.

No Juan now is not the time for you to bundle your things and travel here.  Now is not the time to leave your simple comfort and ease in Mexico to come and struggle here.  I’m afraid that our politics and our economy and our sad and lonely culture would leave you befuddled as to why anyone would make the effort.  The people here are weary from the rat race and they are confused about how their lead in it was lost so suddenly, or why they thought it mattered so much.

Now Juan a thought has suddenly come to me that perhaps would change the direction of this consultation.  Just maybe, if you have fresh ideas about the problems here, then perhaps you should come after all.  I do not know why it did not occur to me before that perhaps the answers lie outside our borders.  Perhaps someone like you Juan, someone with a fresh perspective, perhaps you can see solutions that our inept and co-opted leadership cannot. 

Juan, our leaders are all equally confused by the problems here and they are content to simply point their fingers towards each other.  We are collectively aghast at the lack of statesmanship among them.  Perhaps you have great new ideas and the ability to express them; if so, this might be the time for you to come after all.  Perhaps it is too much weight to place upon your shoulders but we are in desperate straits here.

Please pardon my sudden reversal but I think not Juan.  You would not be heard above the corporate whispers in the ears of politicians.  You would not be heard above the partisan judges.  You would not be heard above the rhetoric of saluting party members.  No Juan, I think my first advice is best.  Mexico is less than perfect, but Mexico is sure of itself.  Mexico’s identity isn’t based on plastic surgery and easy credit.  Mexico’s people have level expectations of life that lend themselves more easily to living well.

I urge you to stay put Juan, stay in Mexico at least until the dust settles here.

Yours truly,