The Denver newspaper recently did a story on Jesus Apodaca, a gifted high school graduate who was having difficulties obtaining scholarships for his college education. The article revealed that he was from Mexico. Congressman Tancredo (R-Colo.), an extreme anti-immigrant ultra-rightist, uncovered his racist attitudes and asked the Immigration Service to deport Apodaca and his family. These events inspired this poem. – Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Tom
I want you to know that
I am
Illegal,
that my parents were
Illegal,
that they came to this country
with a MEXICAN DREAM –
that life would be better
there would be an abundance of
justicia!
They raised ten
Illegal
children who fought and returned
from those unlawful wars
only to be more
Illegal
than when they left.
If that’s not enough,
I want you to know
my siblings have multiplied
and all sobrinos y sobrinas
they are all
illegal.

I want you to know that
I am
Illegal,
that we’re the ones who
renovated your home, raise your children,
clean up after people like you
maid your houses, garden your flowers.
work your fields, your orchards
construction sites & restaurant kitchens
doing the cheeeeeap hard labor
your kind refuse to do.

I want you to know that
I am
Illegal.
We are all
illegal
Americans from
North, Central
& South America
we are all proud of being
illegal Americans.

I want to know
with a name like yours
if there are skeletons in your closet . . .
if they are
illegal
& did you ask for their pink cards
after all, people who live in glass houses
need to be extra careful.

Tom Tancredo

I am
Illegal,
I’m proud of being illegal.
Your Gestapo immigration
can’t mess
with my MEXICAN/CHICANO sueño
for a better life – lleno de justicia
NOT the “just us” American dream
that you look for . . .
a life without people
who are different than you
in color and size and even better than you.

Tom
I want you to know
there are no illegal people,
there are only illegal governments.
I’m sure you will say
writing this poem is
illegal.
It’s against the law
because it’s the fashionable thing to be.
I want you to know

You will never understand
being
illegal
is fun
being a wetback is cool
being a mojado es la moda
because being
illegal
is being different than you
and
is the best thing
I know how to be!

Trinidad Sánchez, Jr. is author of the best seller Why Am I So Brown? and lives in Denver, Colo. He can be reached at
trino@familystar.net

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