Arellano vs. Tancredo: Top 5 Highlights From Meeting Of Immigration Minds, From "Tough Crap!" to Assimilation
|Tancredo and Arellano|
That said, a stage at Su Teatro in Denver, Colorado became the platform for the most recent discussion.
In the leather chair to the left, wearing khakis and a black sport coat
and your typical politician haircut was the man known for
his outspoken dislike of our neighbors to the South, Tom Tancredo. In the opposite chair, sporting a black suit with black Chuck Taylors, ¡Ask A Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano.
The meeting of the immigration minds was a long time coming. After years of skirting the get-together while in political office, Tancredo was finally sweet-talked into the meeting by Westword's editor, Patricia Calhoun--"because he now had more time on his hands." It also helped that Arellano was in town for a few days at Metro State for the Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship.
Assimilation, along with acculturation, were major buzzwords of the evening. Gustavo told the story of his parents coming to this country--his dad came in the trunk of Chevy in 1968 and his mom dropped out of school in 9th grade--and his upbringing in a Spanish-speaking household. (Regular Weekly readers, you've heard all this before.) He told of his determination to learn English, and his parents insistence that he go to college. Of his assimilation and acculturation, Arellano claimed, "I'm not the exception, I'm the rule."
"Just knowing English is not a sign of assimilation," Tancredo countered. He went on to claim that Mexicans or Mexican-Americans did not want to assimilate, based on some far-flung belief that the Mexican government has some unwavering control over "allegiance" of its people, whether living in Mexico or the United States. Later in the conversation, Tancredo would say later, in a seemingly contradictory statement: "I've never said Mexicans can't assimilate, because millions have, but millions don't."
When Tancredo started talking about cracking down on employers who hired illegal immigrants, Gustavo paraphrased is opponent thusly: "Smash capitalism!" Good one.