The 10 Best Songs About Illegal Immigration

Categories: Español Music

Los Tigres del Norte: champions of mojados
Over the past decade, a slew of art devoted to the cause of amnesty for illegal immigrants has flourished across the United States (check out the work of my former KPFK-FM 90.7 producer, Long Beach chingón Julio Salgado), everything from music to YouTube videos, posters to poems. It follows in the grand tradition of Mexican protest songs about la frontera and migra, a genre that goes back a century and has produced some of the most touching (or, conversely, hilarious) songs in the Mexican canon. Following are the 10 best, going back decades and involving some of the biggest names in music. Enjoy!

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10. "Ilegal en Estyle" by Pilar Díaz

Nowadays going by María del Pilar, this 2010 pop ditty came about at the height of America's most recent anti-immigrant madness. Written by the former frontwoman for cult group Los Abandoned, the song encourages undocumented folks to live "en estyle"--that is, to not feel ashamed of their status and to come out of the shadows. Don't dismiss the cutesiness of the video--Pilar's tune offers a playful subversion of roles, and an unabashed celebration of ser un ilegal.

9. "Superman es Ilegal," by Los Hermanos Ortiz


"It's a bird! It's a plane! Nah...it's a wetback." So starts this hilarious reinterpretation of the all-American Superman, whom people always conveniently forget was sent into this country by his parents without asking for permission...hey, was Superman the original DREAMer? A novelty song, but a trenchant one.

8. "El Corrido de los Mojados," by Los Alegres de Teran


I like conjunto norteño pioneers Los Alegres de Terán better when they're not accompanied by horns, but I will not deny the power of this song, which functions on many levels: as an indictment of American immigration policy, as a celebration of the cunning of Mexicans to cross into the United States at will, as an offering of a novel solution to the plight of mojados: all of them should marry a gringita, then divorce her once the Mexican gets a green card--HA! Extra credit goes to Los Alegres for also working in an insult toward gabacha welfare queens, too!



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46 comments
JoJo
JoJo

I'm a Cholo by The Dickies

TheRefriedMexican
TheRefriedMexican

¡Gus no seas guey! For starters "Los Mandados" is also my personal favorite Chente jam but it's not his best. "Volver Volver" is his best song period end of story and denying that fact you're just being myopic. Next how the Chicano cult classic, Cheech Marin's "Born in East LA" didn't make the cut I will never know. ¡Orale!

Chase Kittman
Chase Kittman

Doesn´t matter what you call them. Is how they are treated!

Raul Romero
Raul Romero

PLEASE DO NOT PERPETUATE THE "ILLEGAL" LABEL,PLEASE USE UNDOCUMENTED

amir.cruz
amir.cruz

You missed "Brujeria - La Migra" pariente

www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0kCRbSyjmo

Henry Ruiz
Henry Ruiz

God bless the so called illegal immigrants especially the Mexica! They have helped to make our nation great despite what the racists and ethnocentrics think and say. There but for the grace of God go I. May the right wing republicans and their minions burn in hell.

Daniel Castor
Daniel Castor

Real corridos! singing about the hardworking man! not like today's garbage where they cater to the drug cartels

Daniel Ortega
Daniel Ortega

El Ilegal by Joan Sebastian, Jaula de Oro by Los Tigres, El Mojado Acaudalado by Los Tigres, Clandestino by Manu Chao

Juan Berber
Juan Berber

jaula de Oro" de los Tigres del Norte, representando la vida de muchas familias mexicanas en este lado de la frontera!

vegandawg23
vegandawg23 topcommenter

Melting Pot by Antiseen

Lilia Ramírez
Lilia Ramírez

Los Tigeres Del norte número uno! Nobody can top them!

Cesar Alcantar
Cesar Alcantar

And if we're talking movies, your top one would be La India María in, "Ni de Aquí ni de Allá" haha

Azul Uribe
Azul Uribe

Dude, you forgot "Mojado" de Ricardo Arjona feat. intocable- that song ALWAYS makes me cry.

Jeanette Castillo-Aguirre
Jeanette Castillo-Aguirre

In my opinion, "El Mojado", by Ricardo Arjona and Intocable should have been on this list. It is a beautifully written song.

Cesar Alcantar
Cesar Alcantar

Arjona and Intocable's "Mojado" is also good from relatively newer artists.

James Anderson Merritt
James Anderson Merritt

No love for "Born in East LA"? It may be a ripoff of Bruce Springsteen and played for laughs, but I think pretty much everyone gets its message about the hamfisted US immigration policy.

Victor Ayala
Victor Ayala

Good call on Chente at the top spot, Mexican. But you forgot Pobre Juan by Mana...song is straight up about coming over illegally!

Maria Romero
Maria Romero

Pero mas que eso buena lista. La de Superman esta chigona

Maria Romero
Maria Romero

Como que se Te va a olvidar "Frijolero" de Molotov?!

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