Coyote Card

19 Jul

Immigration in the U.S. is quite a hot topic lately and many people have strong opinions on the subject.  Being married to an immigrant I have gotten into many discussions about the matter and last night one came up.  At our friend Bernardo’s birthday party, my husband, Emmanuel, and I met a nice guy from the same state in Brazil as Emmanuel.  It just so happened that this guy also had lived in Virginia for several years, which is where I was born and most of my extended family still lives.  He is a veterinarian here in the U.S. and he shared with us a story about a wedding he went to in Virginia.

When he was doing his medical internship in Virginia he became really close friends with one of his American colleagues.  A few years later, his friend asked him to be the best man in his wedding party.  The bride-to-be was the daughter of a former mayor in Virginia and the wedding took place at a huge mansion with a well-to-do crowd.  During the reception, our new friend was enjoying himself at the party when two ladies approached him and the bolder of the two said, “We heard your accent.  You’re not from here, are you? Where are you from?” So, he told them that he’s from Brazil and that got him the response of “Oh, well what do you do here?”  When he told them that he was a veterinarian they both got a little wide eyed and said “Really?”

Now, it must be said that this could be seen as normal small talk between new acquaintances, however, the tone of voice and facial expressions used lent themselves to being interpreted as either someone with an “anti-foreigner” mentality or one who had never been around many foreigners to even consider the thought that they could be seen as rude.  Perhaps because he is a tall and handsome man who looks European they felt it more acceptable to be openly curious.

After a brief pause, one of the woman said, “So, you have a Green Card?”

Our friend smiled and said, “No, I have a Coyote Card.”

“A what?”

“A Coyote Card. You get it in Mexico when you pay the guys that escort you across the border in their van. When you get to the U.S. side of the border they give you your card and you have to run as fast you can.  When I made it without getting caught, I decided to come to Virginia because it’s well known that the people don’t like to work hard here. So, I came here and I worked hard and I became successful and I make a lot of money and I send it all back to Brazil to invest in my country.”

The ladies eyes got huge as saucers and their jaws dropped.  He gave a little laugh and said, “If you’ll excuse me ladies. It was nice to meet you.” With that he walked away.

I am still giggling about this story.  I can only imagine what those two women were thinking!

I am not a politician and maker of policy. I just think that every person has a unique story and cannot be simply placed within a simple categorization system.

But a little humor often helps to open peoples eyes to new things.

Cheers,

Jessica

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One Response to “Coyote Card”

  1. Jenny July 20, 2010 at 2:06 am #

    I can only imagine the life that story has gotten across the state retold by the curious ladies.

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