My father came to this country as an illegal immigrant more than 25 years ago. He got his papers when he married my mother, an American born Latina. He worked hard—he started a taco stand and now owns two restaurants—and made a good life for himself. Now all of a sudden he hates illegal immigrants and complains that they don’t want to assimilate. What’s happened to him?
Some would say that he has assimilated too much. Yet he makes a living catering to the unassimilated taste buds of his ex-paisanos. My take on assimilation is that it’s a crock of guacamole. Every wave of immigrants (legal or illegal) that has washed up on these shores has changed the country in one way or another. If everyone had fully assimilated into the culture they had originally found here, we would all be proudly wearing feathers, herding buffalo and speaking Lakota or Muskogean to this day. And this magazine wouldn’t exist.
—Ask dad if he’d consider changing his taquerias into hamburger joints, D
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