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The Point of No Return for Immigration Reform: The Proof is in the Pizza

LatinaLista — There is a bigger verdad (truth) in this whole immigration debate and the proof is in the pizza.

By now, we’ve all heard of the special promotion that a Dallas, Texas-based pizza chain called Pizza Patron, was doing.

For a limited time, they are allowing their customers, who are primarily Latinos, to pay for their pizza orders with pesos.

The rationale behind the promotion is that many of the pizza chain’s customers have returned from spending the Christmas holidays visiting relatives in Mexico. And therefore, most probably have leftover pesos from their trips.

Why not use them for payment?

Well the owner of the pizza chain, Antonio Swad, who is not even Latino, didn’t know what he was getting himself into.

It seemed his promotion stirred the hornet’s nest of anti-illegal immigration supporters.

Basing his decision purely from a business standpoint and not giving any thought to politics, Swad was shocked to receive thousands of emails condemning his idea as basically un-American.

He was particularly troubled by the 1-2% of emails that were extremely hateful about the whole thing.

In fact, he was so disturbed by the irrational hate expressed by these people that he has beefed up security at the chain’s restaurants.

Five years ago, if a peso promotion had been announced no one would have given it a second thought. After all, with a customer base that routinely travels back and forth between Mexico (and nobody said these customers were illegal) and the United States, it just makes great marketing sense to accept a currency that most of the customers have in their possession, whether they went to visit family or are returning from a Club Med Mexican vacation.

But now, because of the pervasive rhetoric that has created a panic mentality that makes people think this country is under siege from undocumented Latinos, these paranoid people see a threat everywhere – to the point where they are this country’s own worst enemies.

We can’t help but think had the promotion involved Canadian bills would there have been such a disturbing backlash?

Probably not.

The sad truth is that the immigration debate has reached a point of no return.

To hope that any kind of reason can be reached with people who can only follow the lead of those politicians and cable talk show hosts who prefer to stir up votes and ratings by publicly persecuting a group, of whom the vast majority are defenseless (because they have no legal recourse to protect themselves), means that there is no reasoning with these people.

If ever there was a time when this debate rests solely in the hands of Congress, it is now.

We can only hope that Congressional leaders send out for a lot of pizza in the coming weeks as they work to come up with a fair and realistic solution to this situation.

I know of one pizza chain who probably wouldn’t mind making late-night deliveries to the Capitol.

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