To Sin Against Hope: How America Has Failed Its Inmigrants: A Personal History
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Alfredo Gutierrez’s father, a US citizen, was deported to Mexico from his Arizona hometown—the mining town where Alfredo grew up. This occurred during a wave of anti-immigrant hysteria stoked by the Great Depression, but as Gutierrez makes clear, in a book that is both a personal chronicle and a thought-provoking history, the war on Mexican immigrants has rarely abated. Barack Obama now presides over an immigration policy every inch the equal of Herbert Hoover’s in its harshness.
His family experiences inspired Gutierrez to pursue the life of a Chicano activist. Kicked out of Arizona State University after leading a takeover of the president’s office, he later became the majority leader of the Arizona State Senate. Later still, he was a successful political consultant. He remains an activist, and in this engrossing memoir and essay, he dissects the racism that has deformed a century of border policy—leading to a record number of deportations during the Obama presidency—and he analyzes the timidity of today’s immigrant advocacy organizations. To Sin Against Hope brings to light the problems that have prevented the US from honoring the contributions and aspirations of its immigrants. It is a call to remember history and act for the future.
like a Mexican! You better straighten out!” My mother suggested henna. Mexican restaurants started serving Spanish food, especially if they wanted to attract white clientele and the folks who aspired to be white. Amazingly, Spanish food, it turned out, was exactly the same as the tacos and enchiladas they served the week before. La Casita in Globe, famous for its menudo, red chile, enchiladas con huevos, and, of course, always serving its homemade tortillas with a generous slathering of butter,
the press. The press complained bitterly, and I blamed our shared lot on Castro. Carter was elected without Arizona’s support, and Castro left Arizona for Argentina as soon as he could. Arizona’s constitution designates the secretary of state as the successor to the governor. Wesley Bolin had served in that position for twenty-eight baby-kissing, glad-handing, uneventful, inoffensive, good ol’boy, big-hatted, cowboy-booted years. Thrust unexpectedly into the governorship, the stress was perhaps
Mexican, what are you going to do about it?” At some point in the campaign, when the predictable question was asked, “As a Mexican … ?” instead of the candid answer that rarely pleased an Anglo audience, this time I hurriedly looked behind me and around me and asked in exaggerated, surprised disbelief, “What Mexican? Where’s the Mexican? There’s a Mexican up here? I don’t see no stinking Mexican!” Most in the crowd were terribly uncomfortable, a few snickered, the Mexicans broke out in guffaws,
was a daily Spanish-language talk radio commentator after the election. There was a constant stream of crossers who would stop by, having found someone’s ID in the desert, or a jacket with a name inside, or a wallet with pictures of a family; a father might plead that we announce that his daughter was last seen crossing near Altar and if anyone had any information about her to please call. Once I was given a purse that held lipstick, a few trinkets, and a picture of a beautiful young woman
Florida. The company was expanding the facility to accommodate even more immigrants, and along the march they joked darkly about ICE building their future cells. Then came the realization that there was too much truth in their playful banter. That realization began a long conversation about how to confront the beast. Gaby recalls that they knew “that eventually they were going to deport us, they were going to take us out in the middle of the night, it came to us that we had to confront America