I have always been a target for being Mexican. Everyone is a target for being something. Bullying, racism, simple hatred and other differences among us makes us all targets. But there is being a target and being the target.

I have a love-hate relationship with the United States. I have and have had many friends over my lifetime that are U.S. citizens. Many U.S. citizens, even ones I’ve come across in fleeting moments have great hearts and have been nothing but great human beings. Even ones I do not know have done things to make the world a better place.

But even among some of my friends there is an undercurrent of disdain for México and Mexicans. Most do not realize it. From sly remarks about there being indoor plumbing in México to outright hostility towards Mexicans the undercurrent is there. Little comments about rampant corruption to taxes are high because of Mexicans betrays the undercurrent of what it is to be Mexican in the U.S.

Every time I cross the border I feel like a target. Immigration officials look at me not as a fellow human being but as someone that must be scrutinized because I present a Mexican passport. Forget whether I am “legal” or not because it is not about being “legal” but about what could I possibly be doing wrong because I am Mexican.

Even with “legal” papers, immigration officials look at me to see what it is that is missing in my profile that would make me inadmissible. It is not their fault because their job is to ensure the country is safe. But being on the receiving end of the scrutiny it isn’t about being safe but about being Mexican.

Living in the country the undercurrent of underhanded remarks that seem nonthreatening remains a constant reminder of my Mexicanism. Comments like “I didn’t know Mexico has an air force” to more egregious comments like “I didn’t know Mexicans were so smart.” Most people dismiss the comments as nothing to worry about too much because they are assumed to come from under educated people.

But they are constantly there.

That is the reality of my life.

I have become used to that reality and in many ways immune to it.

For years now I have been writing about how the Donald Trump hate is about targeting Mexicans.

Cries about the erosion of values. Cries about English as the language of the land. Cries about cultural diversity across the country.

They are all cries against Mexicans in the U.S.

Readers, friends and others have responded with criticism about making it too personal or ignoring that American voters want something different.

I do not make the mistake in believing that Donald Trump represents a very small minority. The sad fact is that Donald Trump represents 30 to 40 percent of the country no matter how anyone spins it.

The undercurrent that for years has existed has bubbled to the surface. No, not bubbled but exploded to the surface the day a terrorist decided to kill Mexicans in El Paso, Texas.

The killer made no secret of his intent. He set out to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

He killed 22.

In doing that, the killer elevated the target on me from language, some intended and other not so intended, but into an actual danger to my life.

The killer has proven what I have been writing about for a few years now.

Donald Trump’s politics aren’t about all of America’s ills. Donald Trump announced his presidential ambitions by labeling people like me – Mexicans – as “rapists”.

Donald Trump has one target on his mind and his politics are about one thing – getting rid of Mexicans.

The El Paso murders was just the next step on the war on Mexicans.

Where the war on Mexicans goes from here depends entirely on what country does about Donald Trump.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “I Am A Target”

  1. All of us on the border look across and can see the disaster Mexico really is, which doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate their finer contributions like margaritas and mariachis. The smart ones like you get out. Stop obsessing about it and apply for US citizenship.

    Jesus, Martin, if you need a sponsor, use me. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, bro.

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