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Gustavo Arellano Headshot

Let Orange County Bash Immigrants, Please!

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AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS

Dear Congress,

What an insult! Congress will hold public forums on illegal immigration starting next week in cities across the borderlands--and none of the hate parties will happen in Orange County, California. The snub is like denying Bach his harpsichord, the Republican Party their FOX News Channel. No national platform for Orange County keeps the rest of the nation from tuning in to our local pastime--immigrant-bashing.

Talk about gratitude--it's because of Orange County that the GOP can use illegal immigration as a wedge issue/red herring in the first place. We started this whole mess 12 years ago when Huntington Beach resident Barbara Coe helped draft Proposition 187, which sought to deny benefits to illegal immigrants. The measure overwhelmingly passed after a race-baiting campaign that, amongst other dirty tricks, printed and broadcast grainy images of Mexicans crossing the United States-Mexico with the warning, "They keep coming. Proposition 187 inspired others to launch copycat initiatives across the United States, usually with the help of Orange County residents.

Orange County continues to produce anti-immigrant pioneers. Last year, retired CPA and Aliso Viejo resident Jim Gilchrist launched the Minuteman Project, the lawnchair warriors that patrol the United States-Mexico border. And earlier this year, Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Mansoor proposed to turn his city's police officers into migra--immigration officials. Orange County's Republican Congressional delegation also played a crucial role in crafting H.R. 4437, which would make helping illegal immigrants a felony. Ed Royce, who will chair the House hearings in San Diego on immigration and terrorism, was instrumental in ensuring the Sensenbrenner bill didn't include any guest-worker program. Rep. Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar) tried to insert language equal parts Big Brother and Trojan condoms that would ban pregnant women from coming into this country and give birth, while Huntington Beach representative Dana Rohrabacher--a one-time Taliban supporter best known nationally for his friendship with Jack Abramoff--wanted to stop illegal immigrants from benefiting from Social Security even if they had paid taxes (Rohrabacher is also the wacko that suggested prisoners should pick crops instead of migrant labor). And recently elected John Campbell (R-Newport Beach) constantly boasts of drafting an amendment to H.R. 4437 that blocked law enforcement grants to cities such as Los Angeles that forbid police from turning information about illegal immigrants over to federal authorities.

Orange County spawns anti-immigrant All Stars the way the Yankees once developed Hall of Famers--and our citizens aren't worthy of mouthing off about illegal immigration to Congress? What about our voices? Why deny the United States the chance to hear people like the late Harold Ezell, President Reagan's West Coast commissar on immigration who once said illegal immigrants "shouldn't be deported; they should be deep-fried"? Or the neo-Nazis that protested outside a day laborer center in scenic Laguna Beach last summer? Or Newport Beach councilmember Dick Nichols, who told a local newspaper reporter in 2003 that his district shouldn't expand parkland because "too many Mexicans" would use it? Or Tim Bueler, who as a high school student once told an appreciative Orange County audience he wanted to kill Muslims when he grew up--then grew up to become Jim Gilchrist's PR man?

Members of Congress: por favor allow Orange County a spot in the coming illegal immigrant hearings. Our country is in need of entertainment, of bloviators that can remind us the illegal immigration debate is little more than hot air spurred on by the wheels of history and the histrionics of fools. Let Orange County speak, and watch your approval ratings go up as Americans double over in laughter at our Orange County carnival.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at garellano@ocweekly.com!