• June 22nd, 2024
  • Saturday, 10:22:03 PM

‘Tell That Damn Mexican To Leave’


 

Photo: Courtesy Author
Angel Gonzales

The above headline not only represents what the Texas State governor just signed into law on July 28, 2021, but its mandate dredges up the same loathing I experienced as a Mexican-American child raised in the all-white backwater communities of Nebraska many decades ago. “Tell that damn Mexican to leave and he better not ever come back here again.”

 

Those were the despicable words that seared through my tender mind and heart that dreadful day as my white friend’s mother angrily shouted at him when she caught us playing together in their yard.

 

I had been feeling very different for sometime, but after that heinous incident, the innocence of an 8-year-old child was forever shattered.

 

Tears of heartache surged through me as I was jolted back to those dark periods of my past after Texas State Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-37, which is so broad that it essentially gives all Texas State Police the authority to stop, impound a person’s vehicle, and presumably detain anyone that appears Latino “upon reasonable suspicion” that they might be un- documented or that they are transporting undocumented migrants who may be carrying the Covid-19 Virus.

 

When police anywhere in the U.S. can stop, confiscate their vehicle and hold a person because they don’t look “American” enough that clearly targets specific groups of people (especially Latinos/Hispanics who currently makeup about 40% of the ethnic Texas population), for racial persecution regardless of their citizenship status.

 

Just as the mother of my former white friend racially condemned me as a child for being Latino, Texas Executive Order No. GA-37, now legally demands racial bigotry against Latinos/Hispanics by its own definition.

 

My worst nightmare has now become a reality, considering that I was born in Texas and most of my family still resides there; but I can no longer visit them out of fear that even I could be stopped, have my vehicle impounded, and possibly be detained, just for driving through Texas as a Latino under the current racist executive order.

 

Born a US citizen in Houston, Texas I grew up in a somewhat “Grapes of Wrath” migratory farm labor family of equal citizenship. Although I lived in desperate poverty as a child, sometimes eating out of trash cans, that didn’t bother me near as much as the racial degradation I experienced in the hinterlands of Nebraska that nearly destroyed my personal identity and self-worth just for being Latino.

 

That is the most grievous harm that unrestrained racial bias does to the most innocent. That same bias has plagued me intermittently most of my life. As a result, I literally had to move from Colorado to New México well over two years ago to escape the Trump era white supremacist racial hostility I was being subjected to in Colorado.

 

Despite coming from very humble beginnings, and after tremendous hardship, I became a secondary education teacher out of the University of Colorado and worked with the domestic peace corps (AmeriCorps). I later became a senior official with the Colorado State Justice Department and worked with troubled children for three decades.

 

Yet, after all those years of solid citizenship and personal attainment, the insidious law now taking place in Texas catapults me back to that angry white lady’s yard and those detestable words that crushed my innocence and still resonate when misguided leaders in the country enact racially bigoted laws.

 

Under Executive Order No. GA-37, Texas Governor Abbott has continued to weaponize and abuse former President Trump’s so-called “Title 42 order” declared in March of 2021, as a tool to manage the national health crisis, but instead was exploited as a blunt instrument to ruthlessly separate children from their parents and brutally deport as many Latinos as possible.

 

The wording of the executive order is also so vicious that it makes the migrants (and all Latinos/ Hispanics) sound like loathsome lepers that are wantonly spreading disease across Texas and should be avoided at all cost. “Whereas, busloads of migrants, an unknown number of whom are infected with COVID-19, are being transported to communities across the State of Texas, exposing Texans to the spread of COVID-19…” That kind of venomous rhetoric only serves to inflame the already existing racial animus toward all Latinos/Hispanics throughout the country.

 

If Texas Governor Abbott was so worried about the virus why did he issue an Executive Order on April 17, 2020, reopening retail businesses effective April 24, 2020. And if Abbott was so concerned about controlling the Covid-19 Virus, why did he issue

 

Executive Order No. GA-34, on March 2, 2021, opening Texas 100%, and also removed all statewide mask mandates?

 

On July 29, 2021, Abbott also issued Executive Order No. 38, barring any state agencies, or private entities that receive state funding from requiring anyone to get a Covid-19 vaccination or to wear any face coverings. Very obviously, Abbott’s (GA-37) order is not based on his desire to control the Covid-19 Virus as much as it is to discriminate against and devastate Latinos/Hispanics throughout Texas and nationwide.

 

US Attorney General, Merrick Garland, has now sued Texas for alleged violations of various federal laws (including immigration laws) as Abbott begins to execute his racist state law.

 

That is the most grievous harm that unrestrained racial bias does to the most innocent. That same bias has plagued me intermittently most of my life.

 

Abbott is also hereby advised that (GA-37) is allegedly in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

 

and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a Latino civil rights organization, state that “The legal rights of undocumented immigrants are largely grounded in the Fourteenth Amendment, which explicitly guarantees equal protection of the law, not only to any US “citizen”, but also any “person” living within “its jurisdiction.”

 

Based on the general legal interpretations of the foregoing organizations, Abbott’s Executive Order also allegedly violates the lawful tenets of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against illegal search and seizures, as well as “stop-and-frisk” without a legal search warrant.

 

Accordingly, due to the alleged significant violations of various federal, constitutional and civil rights laws inherent in the Texas governor’s order, and with no apparent time frame for resolution, I am recommending that a national boycott against the State of Texas (my birth state), be implemented immediately, and that it remain in effect until Texas Executive Order No. GA-37, is scrapped to its original racist garbage bin.

 

 

Angel Gonzales is a former teacher with the domestic Peace Corps and is also a retired senior official with the Colorado State Justice Dept. He is now a documentary filmmaker living in New México.

 

Angel Gonzales

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